Mobile Text Fundraising: Top 5 Reasons it May Not Be For You


Why fundraising via texting is so alluring. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Red Cross raised $41m of these dollars flowed through mobile phones via “premium text messages.” The Red Cross received 4.1 million messages valued at ten dollars each, 95% of which were from first-time donors. With results like that its hard not to be enticed by the texting funding frenzy. But it may not be the right fit for your organization and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Its not free and you may need software or back end support (also not free) to really make it work, and there are front end costs to buy the short codes which are also in limited supply.

2. The wireless industry has set up approved third party vendors to vet non-profits. These third party players have stringent requirements like a $500,000 minimum of revenues, effectively locking out small non-profits.

3. Non-profits have to pay set up fees with wireless partners like mGive and the Mobile Giving Foundation, which can range from $3,000-$10,000 in some cases.

4. The non-profit ends up paying roughly 5-10% of the amount raised back to the third party or ASPs for the short code, reporting and messaging costs associated with campaigns.

5. Donations are capped at $10

The up side is, if you’re a large non profit organization with the resources to plan for and organize a text-to-donate campaign, it can – really – pay off. But you need to do your homework and put the needed work into the planning/preparation and follow-through. Successful texting campaigns gain new donors and increased audience participation, but they take a lot of resources to do right and are not for every organization.


One thought on “Mobile Text Fundraising: Top 5 Reasons it May Not Be For You

  1. I’m wondering about the history behind these programs. Was it something that was requested by large non profits, developed by the wireless carriers or a combination of both?

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