There are always a lot of questions about what the giving process is like when dealing with technology. The biggest question of all is, “how does it work?” It’s a simple question, but one that we, here at Txt2Give, probably take for granted. After all, we spend 40 plus hours a week thinking about text giving, what it does, what it can do, and what it doesn’t do. That’s roughly 160 hours a month and 1,920 hours a year. That’s a lot of time devoted to the world of giving by text message. So, let’s take a few minutes to dive deep into the world of text giving.
What is Text Giving?
As the name suggests, Text Giving is a payment method meant to be an alternative to traditional forms of payment such as cash and checks – that utilizes text messages to send payment. Text Giving generally always utilizes credit cards to process payments but does not require the use of a credit card terminal that you’re used to seeing in retail environments.
How does Text Giving Work?
There are actually a couple of different variations of Text Giving available, depending on the platform that you choose. All of the different Text Giving services will require that you send, you guessed it, a text message. Before 2020, that text message would’ve been sent to either a full 10-digit phone number or a 5 or 6 digit shortcode. Because of their shortened length, shortcodes were a very popular and very common alternative to the full 10 digit numbers.
Around the Spring of 2020, a couple of the major phone carriers shut down the use of shared shortcodes that most Text Giving services were using. As a result, most Text Giving services currently only offer 10-digit numbers for their accounts to use. Shortcodes are still available, but their cost has proven to be too prohibitive for most Text Giving solutions to utilize.
As I mentioned, depending on the service you use, there are a few different ways to make your donation via text message. Some services will allow you to simply send the dollar amount in the body of the text message to the recipient’s “giving number”. There are also Text Giving services that utilize keywords to initiate the donation/giving process.
Charging a phone bill
Whether the particular Text Giving service uses keywords or not, the most important aspect of any service is – how are the funds collected? While there are a few services that allow donations to be “charged” to the donor’s phone bill, it is generally not the most desirable method and therefore, is not widely utilized. While charging a phone bill might seem like the most convenient method on the donor side of things – it’s not so beneficial for the organization that might use it. A few drawbacks include but are not limited to; long set-up times, minimum yearly revenue requirements, expensive set-up costs, in most cases the donations are limited to $50 or less, and if the donor doesn’t pay their cell phone bill on time – the donation will be lost.
Using a payment gateway
The most widely used method of collecting funds through a Text Giving platform utilizes a payment gateway/merchant account – a credit card processor. This method requires that the donor, at some point during the donation process, enter their credit card information. The payment processor will be responsible for the collection of the funds, processing, and making the deposit into the account holder’s bank account.
Connecting to a bank account
It’s not uncommon to be asked – can I just connect the platform straight to my bank account? The answer to that is – no. Because the payment processor not only handles the flow of funds, but it also encrypts the donor’s sensitive payment information and creates some separation from the account holder’s sensitive information – which provides protection to both parties.
Who is Text Giving For?
Another question that we get asked fairly often here at Txt2Give is, “Can I use your system?” The answer to that is… if you’re a church, nonprofit organization, school, or political campaign – YES! If you’re an individual…not really. I mean, you can try. Historically, text giving doesn’t really work for individuals that are raising funds and there are likely better platforms for that specific need.
Why text giving doesn't work for individuals
The reason that Text Giving generally doesn’t really work for individuals is due to a couple of different factors. The first is that you don’t really have an audience in the same way that a church or nonprofit organization does. Another, and pretty important, reason is that individuals that are raising funds don’t generally have the assumed credibility that a church, nonprofit, or school has – so people will tend to be more reluctant to provide their credit card details directly to an individual. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for an individual to see success using a Text Giving service, but it is certainly much more difficult.
So far, we’ve covered the What, the How, and the Who…now let’s wrap things up by looking at the Why.
Why bother with Text Giving?
The reason a Text Giving service can be beneficial is simplified to one word – Convenience. These days, people want instant access and gratification. Antiquated methods of payment such as checkbooks are so easy to forget at home – if you even still have one. Cash isn’t really the “go-to” payment method for most people these days. And, unless you’re in a retail setting, credit card readers aren’t generally just laying around. We live in a digital age and the convenience of using your phone to transact is at an all-time high. Elon Musk said in an interview not too long ago – “We’re already cyborgs. Your phone and your computer are extensions of you…”. And you know what, he’s right.
Just think about it, the next time you leave your home for work, or to even run to the store, leave your phone at home. Anyone have a mini heart attack simply at the thought of that? They really have become a part of who we are, for better or worse. Text Giving works – because everyone always has their phone with them, and we’ve become conditioned to transacting on our mobile devices.
Besides the convenience that Text Giving offers to donors, it’s also a big help to the organization in terms of record keeping. Take our platform, Txt2Give, for instance – our account set-up is super simple and makes accounting a breeze! You’re able to generate reports – who has given, how much did they give, when did they give, with just a few mouse clicks. You know how much you have coming in at any given moment. Convenient!
Some of you that are reading this already knew a bit about Text Giving. Hopefully, now you know a little bit more. For those of you who know absolutely nothing about Text Giving, did you learn some new tips today? Click on the round blue button below to jump on a chat and let us know if you agree with what was covered. Until next time, keep the giving coming to your organization in a fast, easy, and simple way! Meet your donors where they expect to be met.