Text to Give:

How to, FAQs & more

 
 
 
 

"Text any amount to 84321 to give" 

If a donor texts $5 and they've never set up Text-to-Give, they'll be asked to set up a payment method. From that point forward, giving will be as simple as sending a text.

You can see this setup process in the video above. It's easy for donors to set up text to give and although we're showing all the steps in the list below... give it a try yourself. You'll see that it feels a lot more quicker than it reads.

  1. Send an amount (example: $5 or $1.00) to the short code 84321. This is a shared shortcode used by other churches in your area. 
  2. If the number isn't set up for text-to-give, a setup link will be sent back. Tap the setup link be guided to the next step.
  3. Select your church. A list of churches in the area will be suggested. If your phone number is recognized by Planning Center Giving, the appropriate church will be listed as a "Suggested" organization. 
  4. Enter your email address and, if prompted, your name.
  5. Enter the payment method you'd like to use for text-to-give. If you're already a donor and you've added a payment method before (say, a bank account for ACH or a credit card) then you can optionally log in to access your saved payment methods. 
  6. Complete your initial setup donation. The initial donation, in most cases, will go to the default fund (usually the "General" fund). However, donations can be directed to more specific funds using keywords (more on that below). 

Cost

There is no extra cost beyond Standard Message and Data Rates for using Text-to-Give and there is no extra cost when someone initiates a donation via sms. There is still a processing fee for the donation which is based on the payment method the donor selected for Text-to-Give. For example, if someone uses their Visa card for Text-to-Give, the processing fee for that donation would be the same as if they donated using the standard donation form.

Special keywords used by the system

Keywords triggers are communicated to donors in the course of text message giving. Here's an example:

"STOP" - This will immediately deactivate Text-to-Give for the sender. If they'd like, they can enroll again later.

"REFUND" - Donors can issue this command within 30 minutes of donating to initiate an automatic refund. This isn't a cancellation, it's an actual refund (it's treated as an actual refund).

"MISTAKE" - Because ACH donations take so long (and can't be refunded until they "settle" in the bank system) the normal "refund" keyword doesn't work when donors use a bank account as their text-to-give payment method. Instead, they can use the MISTAKE keyword (as shown above). This keyword will cancel the donation before it enters the banking system. When a donation is cancelled this way, it's like it never happened.

"HELP" - This will prompt a response message back to the sender.

Limitations

There are few limitations with text-to-give donations:

  1. Recurring donations can't be established or managed by Text-to-Give. This can be done in the donor interface, but can't be accomplished over SMS. 
  2. A phone number can only be attached to one church at a time. Text-to-Give is meant to be a way for regular donors to give spontaneously to their regular/home church. It probably shouldn't be used for things like campaigns or fundraisers aimed at one-time givers.
  3. Payment methods can't be added or managed via text messages alone. Obviously you don't want to be sending bank account numbers or card numbers over unencrypted SMS messages.

Mobile carrier troubleshooting

Unfortunately, there are some limitations with Text-to-Give that prevent it from working with a few mobile carriers. Larger carriers (like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon etc.) typically don't have these issues, where other carriers (like PCS Metro, U.S Cellular, C Spire, and Freedom Pop) might. It's not that common, but here's what to look for:

  1. The carrier is preventing SMS messages from "short codes". Giving uses the 84321 short code. If the donor tries to set up Text-to-Give and gets a "Service access denied." message back, there's a good chance their carrier is just outright blocking the message. Sometimes it's just a limitation of the carrier and sometimes the carrier can allow short-code messaging upon request. Either way, it's something only the mobile carrier can fix.
  2. The carrier is preventing SMS messages over 140 characters. If the donor tries to set up Text-to-Give and the message back is chopped short, then the donor's mobile carrier is truncating the message. This is a real deal-breaker for using Text-to-Give because most of the messages (and the URL's in the messages) will always be more than 140 characters. If the mobile carrier chops them into multiple messages or only delivers the first 140 characters to the donor's phone, that's a limitation that can't be worked around.