How to use SMS for charitable donations

Generate more donations by taking a personal and scalable approach to donor communications with SMS.

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Enable quick and easy interactions

It takes seconds to donate via a mobile device. For example: “Text Funrun to 70685 to donate £5.” The £5 (plus standard rate) cost of the call then goes to your cause within 24 hours.


Inspire commitment

Mobile messaging helps you forge ongoing relationships with donors. Once donors use text-to-donate once, data suggests they often use it again. What’s more, donations help you build up a number database for outreach.

Fundraise at scale

SMS helps you connect with donors like no other channel. Everyone owns a smartphone and SMS open rates can be as high as 98%. More impressively, 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.

Engage your supporters

Get marketing consent through text giving by including an opt-out keyword whenever you create a new keyword, you can capture your donors’ consent for further communications. For example: “Text “gym” to 70685 to donate £7.50 and to opt in for further updates on our work. Texts cost £7.50 plus a standard message rate. Or, text “GYMNOINFO” to 70685 to donate £7.50 while opting out of further updates.”

Donation options

You can promote several donation points alongside each other. For example:

“Text Funrun to 70685 to donate £5.”
“Text Funrun to 70685 to donate £10.”
“Text Funrun to 70685 to donate £15.”

Promote your number

Promote your text-to-donate number on as many channels as possible: social media, paid media, in blogs, and PR releases.

A foot in the door

Securing a donation is worth far more than the amount given in that instance. More than half of the Haiti donors surveyed have made text message contributions to other disaster relief efforts since their Haiti donation.

A request to donate via SMS will often succeed where a direct debit request fails –25% of American donors use their mobile phones to give to charities

Over $43 million was raised in days by the Red Cross’s Haiti earthquake relief text-to-give campaign.

Giving by American individuals totalled an estimated $292.09 billion in 2018.

OpenMarket works with leading charities across the world. We achieved opt-in results of nearly 60% for Gift Aid (a UK tax break) when we included a simple Gift Aid opt-in option with our ‘thank you’ SMS.

In just one year, OpenMarket’s systems processed over £30,000,000 for UK charities.

Seize the moment

Take advantage of the moment someone is moved or inspired. By including a shortcode number and a keyword on a social media story, people can donate within seconds.

Don’t forget to say thank you

Send a post-event thank you text and inviting them to support the charity in other ways. Make re-registering easy by including a personal code and event number.

Keep talking

Follow up a ‘thank you’ with an update to let supporters know what their donation has achieved. Send a photograph or a link to a video and make it easy for them to keep supporting your work.

Use insights

Analyse campaign performance when data rules allow it. You might find segments of the population to tailor your promotional efforts towards. In the US, text donors are most likely to be between 49 and 59 years old, female, married, and college graduates.


How we can help


A library of ready-to-launch campaigns

A low-code drag-and-drop campaign builder

Automatic mobile channel orchestration

Flexible APIs


We decided to try OpenMarket’s SMS solution to achieve the immediate response we just weren’t getting with email anymore. The return on investment has been huge.

Lisa Elkins-Jarrett, Lead Product Manager Cancer Research UK

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