5 Costly (and Stupid) Myths About Text-to-Give Campaigns

Learn the truth about the common myths on text-to-give campaign costs. There are a lot of myths surrounding the cost of using text-to-give as a fundraising option.

Text-to-give fundraising has a false reputation for being too expensive for smaller nonprofits to use. Too slow to get real results. Or even too limiting to allow donors to be generous.

Don’t worry, though. We’re here to bust all of those myths.

We don’t want you to let the perceived costs of launching a text-to-give campaign prevent your nonprofit from exploring text-to-give as a viable fundraising option.

What are we waiting for? Let’s dive into the top 5 myths about the cost of text-to-give.

Below are the 5 myths we are about to bust:

  1. Your nonprofit needs to buy a $3,000 shortcode.
  2. Your nonprofit won’t see funds for 60+ days.
  3. Charitable donations are capped at $10.
  4. Your nonprofit has to share your shortcode with other organizations.
  5. Your nonprofit needs to work with a third party, and that’s going to cost you extra.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get myth-busting!

The first myth about text-to-give costs is that nonprofits have to pay $3,000 to buy a shortcode.

Myth #1: Your Nonprofit Needs to Buy a $3,000 Shortcode

Wait just a second. What exactly is a shortcode?

A shortcode is a 4 or 5 digit phone number, such as 9099. Short codes cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 per quarter.

Traditional service providers require nonprofits (and other organizations) to use a shortcode. Since the cost is prohibitively expensive, they often have organizations share the same number and use a trigger word, such as “HAITI” to distinguish which organization and campaign the donation should go to.

Of course, if you want your own short code, you will have to pay the $3,000 costs.

The truth about this text-to-give myth is that nonprofits don't even need a shortcode to start accepting text donations. Reality: Shortcodes aren’t even necessary anymore.

Next generation text-to-give platform providers eliminate the need for shortcodes. In lieu of buying a shortcode, your nonprofit can purchase a phone number that’s unique to your organization. It costs significantly less than $3,000.

On average, subscriptions that include the cost of the phone number start around $50 per month. Not only that, but there are also no hidden fees that you have to cough up at the end of your fundraiser.

The money you raise is the money you keep.

The second myth about text-to-give costs is that organizations won't receive funds for a least 60 days.

Myth #2: Your Nonprofit Won’t See Funds for 60+ Days

Not every cost factor has to do with money. As you know, some costs involve time and effort.

Traditional carriers and service providers, unfortunately, have taken up precious time by withholding funds for up to 90 days. Instead of taking donations (and credit card information) directly, those mobile providers tack the donations onto the donors’ cell phone bills. Therefore, they must wait until the end of a given pay period to be able to process the donations.

This process can take anywhere from 30-90 days.

In the case of immediate and emergent needs, these sorts of delays could potentially delay necessary supplies from getting where they need to be.

Reality: You can see your donations almost immediately.

Say goodbye to 90-day delays!

With next generation text-to-give providers, your nonprofit can see and use donations within only a couple of business days. Comparatively, this is an instantaneous transaction.

That means that your projects can be fully funded faster, the people you’re trying to help have their needs met more rapidly, and the goals you’re trying to reach can be attained in a matter of days, not months.

The Third text-to-give myth is that donations are capped at $10.

#3: Charitable Donations Are Capped at $10.

With new text-to-give technology, donors are able to give any amount they choose. For the longest time, texting donations were capped at either $5 or $10. To this day, it’s a commonly held belief that this is still the case.

Some traditional providers may still put these types of restrictions on donating, but for the most part, donation caps have been done away with.

There have also been caps in the past on how many times a donor can donate within a given period.

If a donor wanted to give $10 more than once in a month, he or she would be capped at giving 3 times. $30 was the absolute max a donor could give, and there were no recurring donations.

Reality: Donors can be as generous as they’d like.

Next-generation service providers allow donors to give as much (or as little) as they’d like. There are no restrictions, and there are certainly no $5 or $10 maximums.

If a donor wants to text a recurring donation of $200 every month, he or she can feel free to do so.

The fourth myth about text-to-give campaigns is that you have to share your shortcode with other nonprofits.

Myth #4: Your Nonprofit Has to Share Your Shortcode With Other Organizations

And your donors can only use one “trigger word.” As we discussed in Myth #1, some service providers would force organizations to share shortcodes.

There are often hundreds of organizations that have to share the same shortcode.

Reality: Your organization gets its very own phone number, and trigger words aren’t necessary.

As you now know, your organization doesn’t have to purchase a shortcode at all, much less share an identifying number with any other nonprofits.

Your organization can have total freedom from shortcodes and restrictive trigger words. With next generation service providers, your donors can text any sequence of words to your nonprofit’s phone number.

As long as the text begins with a number, the technology should be able to interpret that that number is the amount the donor wishes to give. No more trigger words or limits of $5-$10!

For example, a donor could text “10 Tithe” to an organization’s phone number, but “Tithe 10” wouldn’t quite work. Either way, there’s still no trigger word necessary. In fact, they could just type “10” and leave it at that!

The fifth myth about text-to-give campaigns is that you have to work with a third party.

Myth #5: Your Nonprofit Needs to Work With a Third Party, And That’s Going to Cost Extra

Third party service providers get a bad rap. For whatever reason, “working with a third party” evokes negative images in people’s minds. Perhaps it’s because there genuinely are service providers out there that try to swindle nonprofits.

Reality: Your nonprofit probably already works with plenty of third parties for lots of functions that require software.

Just as you wouldn’t try to build your own telephone pole to make phone calls to donors, you shouldn’t try to design your own text-to-give software.

Granted, it will cost your nonprofit some money to get started with any text-to-give software platform. That being said, there are platform providers that offer their services at extremely reasonable rates.

Because the software is already created when you purchase a platform, you also wouldn’t have to waste any time waiting for a private programmer to manually craft your text-to-give technology.

All around, investing in a decent software platform not only saves your organization time, money, and headaches, it also allows you to move forward and raise donations as soon as possible.


There you have it; 5 myths about text-to-give costs busted. Hopefully, this article has cleared up some of the misconceptions you might have heard. As you can see, with the right text-to-give provider you’ll won’t have to deal with any of these challenges.

For more mobile fundraising and text giving resources, check out these additional resources:

  • Ultimate Guide to Mobile Giving: Text-to-donate is just a fraction of what mobile giving can do. Learn about the other ways organizations can accept donations on mobile devices.
  • Text-to-Give 101: Now that we’ve busted these common myths, you might to brush up on the basics. This guide covers everything your organization needs to know about text-to-give software.
  • Double the Donation’s List of Text-to-Give Tools: With so many text-to-give platforms on the market, it can be difficult figuring out which tool will best fit your organization. This list from Double the Donation recommends some of the top software providers in the market.

Click here to try @Pay's text to give tool

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