This greeting was the first text message sent in 1992. Since this inaugural text was sent more than 20 years ago, there are now more than 18.7 billion texts sent every day.
Text messaging is no respecter of persons, either. From 18 to 55 and older, the vast majority of people living in the United States send text messages via wireless carriers every single day. From what we can see in the data, the number of texts sent is only going to increase.
Grasping the significance of text messaging is essential for your church. By leveraging this form of communication, you can make it easier for your church to give if you offer a text-to-give option.
To help you get started, we’re going to share the following in this post:
- What is text-to-give?
- Who should use text-to-give?
- 8 reasons why your church needs text-to-give
- How text-to-give works
Let’s get started!
What is text-to-give?
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s talk about what we mean when we refer to text giving.
Here’s what you need to know:
Text giving is the ability to make a church donation with a text message.
If someone knows how to send a text message, they can securely give any amount to your church in seconds.
Know what else?
With Tithe.ly, you can add flair to your text giving experience by allowing donors to use emojis to give. For example, after someone sets up their account, they can text the below emojis to set up emoji giving:
Sending emojis to donate may not be what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he talked about cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7), but this seems like an appropriate application.
How Does Text-to-Give Work?
Text-to-give platforms allow people to give money to a church or nonprofit organization by sending outbound texts via any phone carrier. Typically, donors punch in a simple number, enter a campaign keyword, and then have an opportunity to either click on a link or text the amount they wish to donate in a text message. It's simple, fast, and convenient for both donors and recipients–and has incredible fundraising potential for organizations that rely on donations (such as churches and other charitable organizations).
A text-to-give campaign may be focused on regular giving (such as tithing), or giving a larger annual gift. It may also provide multiple donation options (such as by credit card, debit card, bank transfer, or even cryptocurrency) to make giving a charitable donation even easier for the donor.
Text-to-Give vs. Text-to-Donate
Text-to-give is a simpler way of saying "text-to-donate."
"Give" is a simple fundraising keyword that creates space for people who want to give $10 or $15–not hundreds of dollars. While "donate" may carry a number of connotations with it (such as donating thousands of dollars), "give" makes the intent clearer, especially to younger generations. When paired with mobile giving, text-to-give becomes an awesome fundraising strategy for reaching all ages. It's also an excellent strategy for churches to meet their fundraising goals, increase donor conversion, and collect new donor names.
Is A Text-to-Give Service Effective?
As a fundraising channel, text-to-give is extremely effective. The average gift given over a mobile phone is $107, and text messages have an average response rate time of only 90 seconds. Of course, donation amounts will vary, but the simple donation process provided by mobile fundraising is an awesome way to engage all kinds of well-intentioned donors who want to engage with your church.
Text-to-give is an awesome way to increase donor engagement, build your donor base, and receive both micro - donations and larger donations. Effective charities use a text-to-give platform (such as Tithe.ly) to engage charitable donors, and even collect the email addresses of your donors with an online donation form.
Is Donating by Text Safe?
Be aware that some of your donor base may be skeptical about fake fundraising campaigns sent by text messages. They may also be concerned about the safety of sending a donation via text message.
While fake fundraising campaigns are certainly out there, you can help assure your donor base that charitable fundraising via text message is perfectly safe, given that you use a platform that meets proper compliance standards for security and encryption. Tithe.ly, for example, meets PCI DSS Level 1 compliance standards, a set of rules stated by credit card companies and audited by an independent third party. It is the highest possible rating one can get in the electronic payment processing industry.
Using a comprehensive platform for your text-to-give services is the safest way to increase fundraising revenue. A platform that offers multiple options for giving–as well as a way to organize finances–may be a more legitimate source for fundraising, with higher standards for security.
There are certainly charity scammers out there, and you may have seen more than one dubious fundraising advertising claim out there. But be assured that the donation process is secure for both parties, and that a fundraising campaign via mobile is safe and effective.
Who should use text-to-give?
The way people give is a personal preference.
In your church, you may offer a variety of ways someone can give, including:
- ACH (Bank)
- Church App
- Recurring Giving
For your church, it’s a good idea to provide multiple ways people can donate. By providing text-to-give for your church, you’re encouraging people who prefer text giving the ability to do so.
If you don’t provide this option now, you’ll need to consider it in the future.
Based on fundraising statistics, every year, more and more people are expressing a preference to donate online or with their mobile device.
Not only is this case, but as I pointed out earlier, many people prefer texting and text-to-give is also an easy way you can take up one-time offerings; even huge amounts of cash can be given via mobile phone.
8 reasons why your church needs text-to-give
We’ve already hinted at a few reasons why your church needs to offer mobile fundraising via text messaging. But let’s dig into why your church should provide a text-to-give option.
#1. Mobile phone usage continues to grow
Per a study by the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans own a mobile phone—95 percent.
Know what else?
It’s highly likely that people—including yourself—always have their phone with them. On the other hand, carrying cash or a checkbook isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.
Since people are more likely to have their phone with them, it makes sense to provide a mobile option.
#2. People are accustomed to using their phone for financial transactions
Well-known non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross, prominently display text giving pleas during natural disasters. As a result, many people are familiar with the concept of text giving and are more likely to trust it as a secure way to give.
Honestly, any legitimate charity or well-run charity will offer a text-to-give option. Only an inefficient charity will stick to only receiving checks or cash, and the most efficient charity will offer a range of options for giving, as described above.
#3. Text giving is easy to use
Here’s how easy it is to use text giving.
Let’s say John gets paid every other Friday and wants to tithe right away to keep from spending his money. Text giving is an easy answer for him.
Susan might travel often for work and therefore isn’t always at service to put her tithe in the offering plate. Text giving is something she can use from wherever work takes her.
In fact, text giving is an option you can include on your church’s website and in live-streaming sessions so viewers can quickly give as they watch the message.
Also, with text giving there’s no need for givers to download an app or even visit the church website. They can quickly text the gift amount to your church’s dedicated number using a designated fundraising keyword (such as "GIVE"), enter their card information, and receive an email receipt within a few minutes.
First-time visitors might not be ready to download an app, but if they want to give they can do so via a text-to-give option.
Pastor Antonio Vincent of Dream Chaser Church shared, “Once we walked people through it, giving via text message is now like second nature to them. People are even starting to use text-to-give outside of Sunday services.”
#4. Accounting is a snap
When you receive cash and check donations (or even credit card information written down in an offering envelope), that means your accounting team has to count, prepare the deposit, charge the credit/debit cards, and record the donations. When you enable people to donate via text message, that reduces the workload for your accounting staff.
Donors receive an email receipt right away, their card is charged immediately, and the funds are deposited into the church’s checking account within a few business days.
A good text giving provider—ahem, Tithe.ly—also offers an online portal for your accounting staff to view transactions and even upload the data into the church accounting software.
“Text giving has made counting at the end of service much faster since people are giving electronically,” remarked Paula Torres of Oasis Family Life Church. She added, "It helps individuals control their giving (updating expired cards, etc.), cuts down on back-office work, and provides donors with the ability to check their own giving statements.”
#5. Security is tight as a drum
What happens to an offering envelope that includes someone’s name, address, phone number, and credit card number (along with the expiration date and security number)?
Hopefully, it’s kept in a secure location within the church office until the donation is processed and then it’s shredded.
When people give, they’re expecting you to handle their financial information carefully and in a secure manner. With strict security protocols in-place, text giving provides greater security for donor information.
According to Barna Research Group, “Nearly one out of every 10 of all Millennials say they text to donate at least once a month, which doubles among practicing Christian Millennials to two out of 10.”
Millennials and those coming up after them don’t know a world without the Internet or mobile phones. They rarely, if ever, write checks and tend to pull out their debit card before any cash. They're more likely to check out social media posts than read direct mail letters, and they're more likely to provide an email address than a billing address.
By offering a text giving option, you’re meeting them where they’re at when it comes to how they prefer to give.
#7. Cultivates generosity
When you meet people where they’re at by using a tool they carry with them 24/7, you make it easier for them to consider giving throughout the week. A text-to-give campaign is easy to advertise across multiple marketing channels, including social media posts and blog posts. Your churchgoers who are invested in your online presence will be more likely to see text-to-give as an option, and to respond by quickly pulling out their phones, punching in your campaign keyword, and making a charitable gift.
For example, Joe might see your church’s Facebook post about an upcoming outreach to lower-income families and decide he wants to help. He can quickly text a gift amount to your church’s designated number to make a donation.
By providing text-to-give, you’re capturing people's attention and providing wise donors with a convenient way to give in the moment. It makes being a generous giver part of everyday life instead of something they only consider on Sunday morning
#8. Leads to consistent giving
Text giving is very convenient for your congregation.
They can give when they’re in service on Sunday morning, but they also have the flexibility to give at any time from anywhere. The most generous donors will give on a recurring basis; well-intentioned donors who may give less will still give spontaneously.
In fact, Tithe.ly’s research indicates that 67% of giving happens Monday-Saturday.
Consider this: You may dread the summer months of lower attendance since that also means a reduction in giving. However, after reviewing the giving data from over 2,000 churches, we’ve found that churches that offer a variety of giving options experience steady (and sometimes even increased) giving during the summer months.
Text to give enables people to give even while out of town. Plus, if they’ve set up recurring giving, those tithes continue to occur whether they’re watching a service from a hotel or are in their usual seat at church.
How to Set Up Text-To-Give as a Fundraising Platform
Not only is text to give a simple concept to grasp, but it’s also easy to get your church using it right away.
Here’s how it works.
- Find a text giving provider
- Get a text giving number
- Promote text giving
For the text giving provider you choose, be on the lookout for someone who offers you the features you need and provides a secure giving platform.
After you sign up for text to give, you’ll receive a 10-digit text giving number (it looks like a regular telephone number). Here’s one example:
The first time someone gives via text, they’ll be asked to one-time to share their giving information. After this step is complete, they’ll be able to give at any time by texting.
Here’s a short video that breaks this down a bit more:
Finally, all you need to do is let people know they can give via text. Don’t worry about being flashy—just be informative.
For promoting text giving in your church, there are multiple ways you can spread the word, including:
- Church announcements
- Video (like the one above)
- Church bulletins
- Direct mail
- Social media
- And more …
For additional ideas, check out 9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving in Your Church.
Over to you
Text giving is one way to give you should provide your church.
In the words of Pastor James Crocker, “We need to create avenues for people to do what God calls them to do in the realm of generosity.”
Text giving is one such avenue.
Of course, reaching people via mail will always be somewhat effective. But a direct mail campaign won't reach all your eligible donors, and you may end up confusing donors and direct mail recipients by asking for money with a letter. In the 21st century, it's far more efficient to skip the direct mail vendors and direct mail letters (and the cost of direct mail materials), and create a text-to-give campaign instead. Plus, they may already be accustomed to giving to their favorite nonprofits via text message.
Using to text-to-give to increase fundraising revenue may seem too good to be true. But it's not! Charitable fundraising doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sending a few outbound texts and watching money roll in (and fundraising debt disappear). Here are a few commonly asked questions and answers regarding text-to-give fundraising.
How Do You Donate Money by Text?
Donating money by text isn't complicated. Typically, donors send an outbound text with a keyword, and then receive a link that they click on to respond. Or, they may be able to enter in a donation amount directly (such as "100"), if their credit card information or giving information is already stored.
How Do I Set Up a Text Donation Number?
You can set up a text donation number very easily with Tithe.ly. Tithe.ly offers all the resources you need to create an awesome text-to-give campaign. Click here to learn more.
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Jesse Wisnewski is a writer and marketer. He lives outside of Nashville, TN with his wife and five kids.
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