Text-to-Give

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Text-to-Give lets your donors give using a simple text message. There's no app to download and setup is easy. Donations given via Text-to-Give are just like any other donation in the system, and there is no extra cost for the donation. It's just a faster way to give.

A Text-to-Give account is established by having three verified and active elements tied together.

Video Overview

In this video, you can see how easy it is to use Text-to-Give.

You can download this video or share a link with your donors.

Donor Setup and Management

You can add the simple instructions for donating using text to your church bulletin or website. This is all you need to say:

Text any amount to 84321 to give. Standard message and data rates may apply.

All churches using Text-to-Give share the 84321 short code.

Setup

When a donor initiates their first Text-to-Give donation, the system will use the donor's geographical location and the donor's phone number to suggest churches nearby (within 20 miles).

After choosing a church:

  1. They'll be asked to set up a payment method for Text-to-Give. Existing donors can log in to their profile to select a previously used payment method.
  2. After setup, all they have to do is send and amount to 84321 to give.

Giving to Different Funds

When a fund is enabled for Text-to-Give, a donor can indicate a specific fund by appending the fund name after the donation amount. For example:
"$5 building".

Donors can also split donations between funds in a single text. For example: "$5 missions $6 building" or "$5 to missions and $6 to building."

If the intended fund doesn't exist, was recently closed or renamed, or if the donor mistyped the fund name, they will receive a message with a link that will show the donor which funds can receive donations.

Account Management

Payment methods and the donor's phone number can be managed by the donor themselves, using the online donor portal.

Here, a donor can also fully disconnect their phone if they're moving churches or they get a new phone number.

Text-to-Give Administration

You can enable or disable text-to-give, make funds available for text giving, and track text donations from the Admin side of Giving.

Enabling or Disabling Text-to-Give

Enable or disable Text-to-Give from the Settings tab on the Manage page.

At least one campus is required to enable Text-to-Give. Even if your church has a single geographical location, add that location as a campus in Accounts.

Directing Donations to Different Funds

By default, incoming text message donations will go to your default fund. However, you can also enable Text-to-Give for other funds.

Text-to-Give must be enabled for the whole Giving account in Settings before it can be enabled for specific funds.

To enable a fund for Text-to-Gve, edit the fund from the Funds tab in the Manage page.

If some of your fund names are long, consider adding a shorter keyword for your Text-to-Give donors. For example, a fund called Domestic Missions could be changed to the shorter keyword missions.

Tracking Text-to-Give donations

Donations initiated by text message will get an SMS stamp, so that you can filter and report on these types of donations.

Special Keywords

Relevant keyword triggers are communicated to donors when they give or take particular actions.

The following keywords are available:

REFUND - Donors can issue this command within 30 minutes of donating to initiate an automatic refund. This isn't a cancellation, it's an actual refund (it's treated as an actual refund).

MISTAKE - Because ACH donations take so long (and can't be refunded until they settle in the bank system) the normal REFUND keyword doesn't work when donors use a bank account as their text-to-give payment method. Instead, they can use the MISTAKE keyword. This keyword will cancel the donation before it enters the banking system. When a donation is cancelled this way, it's like it never happened.

STOP/START - The STOP command immediately deactivates text-to-give for the sender. The START command will re-enable text-to-give for the sender.

The STOP command immediately disconnects the sender's phone number from the text-to-give system and the system will no longer be able to communicate with that phone until a "start" command is received. This opt-out functionality is required by the telecom companies.

HELP - This will prompt a response message back to the sender. If the sender is a Text-to-Give donor (meaning that their number is active in the system) then they'll get a link to a help page specific to your organization.

Help Page Example

When a donor sends the "Help" keyword, they'll be sent back a link. Tapping the link will bring them to a help page that's specific to your church. It will show them examples and which funds are available.

Limitations and Troubleshooting

Text-to-Give works well in most situations, but there are some limitations and possible issues that can arise with certain carriers.

Limitations for Text-to-Give

  1. Recurring donations can't be established or managed by Text-to-Give. This can be done in the donor interface, but can't be accomplished over SMS. 
  2. A phone number can only be attached to one church at a time. Text-to-Give is meant to be a way for regular donors to give spontaneously to their home church. It probably shouldn't be used for things like campaigns or fundraisers aimed at one-time givers.
  3. Payment methods can't be added or managed via text messages alone. Obviously, you don't want to send bank account numbers or card numbers over unencrypted SMS messages.

Troubleshooting

Larger carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon etc.) typically work fine with Text-to-Give. However, we've seen some issues on smaller carriers (PCS Metro, U.S Cellular, C Spire, Freedom Pop, etc).

Carrier Preventing SMS Messages from Short Codes

Giving uses the 84321 short code. If the donor tries to set up Text-to-Give and gets a "Service access denied" message back, there's a good chance their carrier is just outright blocking the message.

Sometimes, the donor can ask their phone carrier to allow short-code messaging. Without the ability to receive messages from 84321 though, this donor can't use Text-to-Give.

Carrier Preventing SMS Messages Over 140 Characters

If the donor tries to set up Text-to-Give and the message back is chopped short, then the donor's mobile carrier is truncating the message. This is a real deal-breaker for using Text-to-Give because most of the messages (and the URLs in the messages) will always be more than 140 characters.

There is no way to workaround this technical limitation and the donor shouldn't use Text-to-Give.

Since both issues stem from the mobile provider's lack of support for basic SMS functionality, there's nothing we can do on our end. If prepaid mobile providers are popular among your congregation, consider disabling Text-to-Give and encourage mobile, web-based giving instead.

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