An Easier Way to Text-to-Pay

Recently, Obopay Inc., an online mobile payment company, and Benevity Social Ventures Inc., a company focusing on the social practices and giving habits of corporate America, partnered to create a new text-to-donate platform for non-profits.  This new easy-to-setup, easy-to-manage platform takes away many of the problems that have been associated with text-to-give in the past.


The new platform:

  • Is FREE for all registered organizations with active 501(c)3 status
  • Takes less than 24 hours to setup
  • Pays organizations within 30 days
  • E-mails tax receipts to donors immediately

Prior to this texting platform, setting up a text-to-give campaign took months and the providers that were available focused mainly on larger high profile clients (the Obama campaign and the Haitian relief effort are just two examples). Payment often took 60-90 days and there were a multitude of fees and charges associated with the products.

In an earlier post, I discussed the merits and benefits of micro-donation campaigns and ways they can best be implemented. Unfortunately, I did not have many suggestions on available products at that time. Many local non-profits and arts organizations simply did not have the budgets or profile to take on such campaigns.

This new text-to-give platform (which currently has no specific name) allows for easy setup and processing of text-to-give donations. A non-profit organization goes to the Obopay website, registers for a key word and the Benevity Corporation, in partnership with the American Endowment Foundation (AEF), creates the account and sets up the service on behalf of the non-profit. No extra work, no forms, no hassle.

When using this service:

  • Tax receipts are provided directly to the donor from Benevity via e-mail
  • Donations are received by the non-profit every 30 days
  • A 7% processing fee is collected from the donation by Benevity and AEF to process the transactions
  • The non-profit only receives 93% of the total donated amount
  • 100% of the donation is tax deductable (Benevity & AEF are also non-profits)

Picture 3Overall, this simplistic process combines Obopay’s easy text-to-pay platform with Benevity’s non-profit database and backend billing system, allowing for an easy-to-setup, easy-to-manage platform. A patron texts the organization's keyword to a short code (usually 5 numbers long) and immediately receives an SMS text in response. Potential donors are then prompted to enter a phone number and pin code to donate or they can use the mobile donation website which, on average, takes less than 90 seconds to complete.

Future expansion of this service will include corporate matching and a customizable database with a recommendation function. Benevity already has all registered US non-profits in their searchable database. Soon, the non-profits themselves will be able to be personalize their profiles, and a recommendation function for donors will be added.

Donors prefer push button solutions, mobile applications and ease of use. This new text-to-give solution by Benevity and Obopay opens the doors for arts organizations and other non-profits to provide cutting edge solutions to this problem.

Arts organizations across the country should be looking at this as a huge opportunity to expand micro-donation campaigns and reach new audiences. Patrons are most likely to give directly after or during an experience involving a non-profit. This quick and easy solution for instant giving provides a way for people to support organizations they care about while the experience is still fresh in their minds. Both companies recommend event based marketing for text-to-give donation campaigns.

Arts organizations should advertise how to donate via SMS text during intermissions, around galleries or surrounding specific events. It is a quick way for people to show their support and generally has little effect on their other giving habits. More importantly, the platform can provide a  new revenue stream that opens up giving to a wider range of people and secures multiple gifts from long time donors.