remium SMS services or PSMS has been around now for at least a decade. We used to use it a lot for Ad Campaigns where people were able to optin to some kind of paid subscription via their mobile phone. Adopted mostly by the ringtone industry for the purchasing of ringtones for the ‘then’ latest polyphonic mobile phones, it’s been a long and winding road for this to become mainstream and of good use for Fundraising or collecting Donations.

And the journey still continues.

Premium SMS donations pilot launches in Australia

As of October 2015, a pilot program was setup by the Telco Together Foundation allowing up to 15 charities to accept donations via PSMS. We’ve been getting requests for well over a year now as to our thoughts on donating via SMS as it has been used in the UK for a few years with some success.

So I thought it would be a good time to look at what your options are when it comes to accepting donations via SMS.

The hurdles with premium based SMS donations

There are many hurdles with accepting donations via SMS or TXT message. The cost is one. But getting past that, here are a few things to think about when considering SMS donations.

  • There is a cap on the amount you can donate via SMS
  • Not all carriers or plans are supported
  • It takes time for your money to be transferred
  • Un-paid bills can result in failed donations
  • There is limited follow-up opportunities

But is it too convenient

Amongst all the hurdles that you can come up against when considering an SMS based campaign, the main concern for me with premium based services is that it just feels like a very impersonal experience.

I agree that part of the essence of being able to donate via TXT message is being able to do so quickly and effortlessley but in doing so using the premium SMS method I feel we lose out on so much just for the sake of a micro donation.

It can work well for emergency appeals where volume matters but for most charities, donating is more about the connection and relationship between the donor and the charity over just a one off donation so it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your long term goal when asking people to donate via SMS.

Using a 2 step process

Our approach to donating is always one that focuses on the experience for the donor regardless of technology. Not just an experience that is quick and easy but most importantly one that is able to foster the connection between a person and the charity or cause that they believe in.

Using a 2 step process allows you to enable someone to make a quick and simple donation whilst still allowing the donor to feel connected to the campaign/charity.

How does it work?

A 2 step donation process is one where a person TXTs a code to a number that they might perhaps see on a bus shelter or outdoor ad and then are immediately returned a personal message from the charity which contains a link for them to click on directing them to a customised donation page setup specifically for that campaign and for a mobile device.

The benefits of 2 step SMS donations

  • There is NO cap on the donation amount
  • The money is received instantly
  • There is no limitation on phone plan or carrier
  • You are able to support both one-off and regular donations

The most important benefit of all

Of course the most important benefit when using this method is the Follow up. Because the donor is using their mobile browser to make the donation they can therefore gain immediate access to all the benefits of online donating such as a personalised thank you message, access to their tax receipt, the ability to leave a friendly message, update their details or gain access to content as a reward for their kind donation.

Funraisin has SMS Donation capability built right into it. If you are interested in accepting SMS based donations please feel free to contact us.

Mind if we send you an email?

Each fortnight we send an email to people from companies like UNICEF, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, RSPCA,  Surf Life Saving Australia and more. Just put your email address in below if you’d like to join them.

About Scott Dilley

Scott Dilley is is Co Founder and Platform Director of Funraisin. Scott has worked with many of Australia’s largest nonprofits, advising and implementing their online fundraising requirements. If you'd like to get in touch with Scott, drop him a line on +61 2 8006 1009 or email scott@funraisin.co

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