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How to Promote Text-to-Donate on Social Media

Cup of coffee and hand on table holding a phone with Instagram story on screen.

WRITTEN BY COREY BLAKE

Recently I wrote about How to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Reach, so let’s assume you’ve seen a bit of traction and you’re ready to try some fundraising on social media. You could simply link to a donation form, but the ever-elusive algorithms used by social media platforms tend to work against you if they see you linking to the same thing over and over again. A way to get around this is to diversify your requests for donations, and one way to do this is to promote a text-to-donate keyword.

Including your text-to-donate keyword and shortcode helps brand your campaign and allows donors to easily give from their mobile devices, which is where most people view social media. Plus, in the case of platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where you may not be able to include a link in your post, it may be the easiest method for someone to take action and give to your cause.

Let’s take a look at some examples we’ve seen that really make the most of eye-catching and engaging content to promote giving by text-to-donate.

Text-to-Donate on Facebook

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The Houston Food Bank teamed up with their local ABC affiliate during the Houston power outage and food crisis in February 2021. They posted to Facebook to help raise awareness and ask for donations.

Their text-to-donate keyword is given verbally, is superimposed as a graphic on the video and the text-to-donate keyword is in the caption to the video.

Of course not everyone has access to national celebrities, but it doesn’t have to be someone like Jimmy Kimmel to work. Local celebrities or anyone who is passionate about your cause can reach more deeply into communities because they are a part of that same community. That connection makes it emotionally more impactful. 

Notice how short the video is, and how simple it is. Twenty-seven seconds of someone speaking directly into the camera. We can see them and we can hear them. It doesn’t have to be a sophisticated television production. A series of short videos like this that tell a little bit about the campaign can really increase visibility and awareness, and lead to more donations. Subsequent videos could give updates on how much has been raised, another on progress made from relief efforts and another on how the money is being put to use.

Screenshot of Facebook video of Jimmy Kimmel with text to donate overlay.

Text-to-Donate on Twitter

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Perry’s Place is a cat adoption center and sanctuary in North Hollywood, CA. In addition to their great pictures and videos of cats being cared for at Perry’s Place, they also remind people how they can help their great work continue. This summer, they’re running a raffle to raise funds and give fund prizes to their supporters. 

What works great is their colorful graphic that includes their text-to-donate keyword, alongside their graphic showing the prizes. Then their tweet repeats the text-to-donate keyword as well as links directly to their landing page to find out more and buy raffle tickets. 

They’re also using their own hashtag and some fun emojis, which helps it visually pop on a Twitter feed. 

Three days later, they tweeted again with a different graphic, laid out their goal to raise $5,000 and again repeated the text-to-donate keyword.

Some organizations make the mistake of reposting the exact same content. Social media algorithms notice that and it will weaken your post’s reach. Use this restriction as an opportunity to tell different aspects of your campaign and your story over a series of posts, which is more engaging for your followers.

Screenshot of tweet with two attached images.
Screenshot of tweet with attached image of a cat with a pina colada.

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Text-to-Donate on YouTube

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Camden Catholic High School held a peer to peer fundraising campaign for their school giving day to support their athletics programs. Each team has their own page with their own goal. To raise awareness and get people to their page, each team is doing a video to talk about what playing means to them.

Most of these were shot with an iPhone, but once again, we can see them and hear them, and that’s what matters. An eye-catching graphic promoting the text-to-donate keyword and shortcode appears in the upper third throughout the video. In just forty three seconds, we get to know some of the students and understand why they’re raising money for their field hockey team. The text-to-donate call-to-action appears in the video description as well.

The soccer team had several students shoot selfie videos and then edited them together. A similar graphic appears in the lower third to create brand consistency. 

Students can share these videos to their family and friends through other social media platforms, email or text.

Screenshot of Youtube video of four females speaking to the camera.
Screenshot of Youtube video of a woman speaking to the camera.

Text-to-Donate on Instagram

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The Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program works with historically black colleges and universities to create career opportunities for students. For last year’s Giving Tuesday, they ran a series of short videos explaining their program, how it’s made a difference for students, and how people can help. 

This efficient video packs a lot into a short run time but isn’t overwhelming. It begins with a strong and clear graphic of the text-to-donate call to action. Then it goes into a very conversational segment of two students talking about the program, and then ends with verbally repeating the text-to-donate call-to-action. The caption for the video gives more information, the text-to-donate instructions again and a number of relevant hashtags. 

They followed that with a slideshow of videos showing quick student testimonials.

The consistent use of orange in both videos immediately ties them together and the banners above and below each video give an at-a-glance need and call-to-action. The caption opens with the text-to-donate keyword and shortcode again.

Having the text-to-donate appear so often may seem repetitive but, because it’s appearing in different ways, it’s reinforcing the information rather than being redundant. However someone looks at the post, they’re bound to see the information they need if they want to give.

Screenshot of Instagram post of a video of a woman speaking to the camera with a text to donate call to action.

Text-to-Donate on TikTok

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TikTok is the newest social media platform to take hold in a significant way. So while it’s not yet at the level of Facebook and Twitter, it’s worth starting to experiment here. Or you can take the angle used by United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, and have a supporter help spread the word.

The United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties asked one of their volunteers to post a video showing the damage from the Tennessee tornado outbreak of March 2020. She uses TikTok’s features to add text to the video promoting the text-to-donate keyword and shortcode throughout the entire video, and then verbally reinforces it towards the end of the video when she lets people know how to help. The caption of the video starts with the text-to-donate keyword and also includes #nashvillestrong hashtags. 

The volunteer also posted two other videos to TikTok during her time helping with the cleanup. This kind of repetition combined with an emotional and personal appeal can make all the difference between someone scrolling by, and someone being compelled to give.

Screenshot of TikTok video with text to donate call to action overlay on video.

Whichever social media platforms you use, experiment with the above ideas to see what resonates with your followers. The key is that a single social media post rarely succeeds in isolation. Reinforcing your message through a variety of posts that tie together creates an overall narrative you can build upon. Through that, supporter engagement and donations will follow.  

Corey Blake
Digital Fundraising Strategist
MobileCause

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Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.

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