All posts by Caitriona McCarry

A step by step guide to setting up an SMS Giving campaign.

Are you thinking about adding SMS Giving to your fundraising campaign? SMS Giving helps you increase your fundraising income quickly and easily. Supporters simply text your keyword to a short phone number to donate.

  1. Complete our online sign-up form
    It’s quick and easy and our dedicated support team will help get you set up
  2. Choose your keyword and keyword type
    First choose whether you want to run a one-off or monthly giving campaign. Once you’ve done this you can choose your keyword. This should be something short, relevant and memorable as you want it to easy and quick for supporters to type and send when they see the advert. Campaign specific keywords work well, as supporters are more likely to donate when they feel they are contributing to something specific.
  3. Choose your donation amount
    This is the default amount a supporter will donate when they text your keyword. £10 is a popular donation amount, but you can receive donations of up to £30.
  4. Customise your response message
    Edit your response message to thank supporters for their donation. There’s lots you can do in here, such as including links to your website and social media or upgrading supporters to regular givers. It’s important to customise this to ensure a consistent tone and brand in line with all of your other touchpoints.
  5. Activate consent collection
    If you want to contact supporters in the future, or if you’re not sure but want to make sure you have this as an option, you need to collect consent. You can choose from our two consent methods, both of which collect consent preferences at the point of donation. Collecting consent allows you to contact supporters in the future to request donations, convert them to regular givers or send information.
  6. Collect Gift Aid declarations
    By turning on our Gift Aid feature, requests are automatically sent out to donors. You can choose to collect these via SMS response of webform response.
  7. Promote your keyword
    Advertising your keyword well is key to raising as much money as possible. Limit the amount of text to make your call to action clear, for example “Text CHARITY to 70660 to donate £10”.
    SMS Giving keywords are easy to add to many forms of promotion, such as;
    – TV adverts
    – Social media bios and posts
    – Virtual events and livestreams
    – Email communications
    – Print ads
    – Radio announcements

Our compliance guide will help you make sure all of your marketing messaging is complaint.

Download and keep our CHECKLIST to help you get started.


6 reasons you should be using SMS Giving

SMS Giving has been a trusted and effective fundraising tool for charities and supporters for years, and with the increased use of mobile phones for everyday tasks this doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. So why do charities love SMS Giving?

  1. It’s quick and easy to set up and use.
    You can set up new keywords from directly within your account, and customising your campaigns can be done in just minutes. Your entire fundraising campaign can be fully set up and ready to receive donations within hours. On top of this you can view all donations in real time.
  2. You can fully customise your campaign.
    You have control to ensure a consistent tone and branding in line with your other supporter touchpoints. Choose your keyword, edit the thank you message, set up follow up messages and choose whether to collect Gift Aid declarations and consent.
  3. Keywords help build brand and campaign awareness.
    You can choose the donation keyword you want to use to fundraise. Maybe you want to have your charity name because of the brand value and trust associated with it, or a keyword related to a specific campaign you’re running as when supporters feel they are donating towards a specific goal this can increase donations.
  4. You can collect Gift Aid declarations.
    Gift Aid is a valuable addition for charities. By switching on our Gift Aid feature supporters will automatically be asked to add Gift Aid. Declarations collect all of the information required by HMRC and are stored in the platform and you are notified when they are ready to be downloaded and collected.
  5. You can collect consent at the point of donation.
    Building a relationship with supporters is crucial to building their lifetime value. By collecting consent at the point of the donation you can contact supporters in the future to provide information, increase their emotional investment with your charity, appeal for donations and upgrade them to regular giving.
  6. It’s easy for supporters to donate.
    When supporters need to visit a website, or remember to do it later, or carry cash there is a risk of losing donations because that they either can’t do it at the time or forget to donate laterWith SMS Giving supporters can simply text the keyword to a short 5-digit number on the spot. No forms or fuss. 

Get started today by signing up HERE


The world is going mobile, and charities should too.

When did you last pick up your mobile phone?

Most of the UK now own a smartphone (84%!), putting the internet in their pocket. On average people spend 2 hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day. People can browse the internet, shop, view social media and download apps that allow them to do endless tasks; from ordering a taxi to booking a gym class or storing tickets.

These tasks can be done simply which is why for so many people smartphones are now the primary device they use to interact with organisations. People are using their smartphones to do things in real time; they see a restaurant’s post on Instagram, view TripAdvisor reviews online, browse the menu on their website, make a booking and then send the location to friends on WhatsApp – all within minutes. People no longer need a desktop to get online, they can access it anywhere almost instantly.

This is why the mobile experience is so important. Search engines now factor mobile optimisation in when serving information to users. Websites and online services need to meet certain standards; websites that don’t will not be ranked as well. It is important to ensure a smooth and intuitive experience for users by considering things such as how information is presented, having a clear navigation and structure, the positioning and resizing of elements across devices and loading times. The better you can make the experience for users the higher the change of ranking well on search engines and keeping and converting users.

Charities are not exempt from this move to mobile in the way supporters interact with them. This presents new opportunities for engaging with supporters – you can reach more supporters in more locations, target your advertising and track what works best and how supporters use your digital offerings. When considering the digital donation experience of your users’ it’s crucial to know that they expect a simple, easy to use experience that they can perform within one platform – they don’t want the effort of switching between apps, creating accounts or navigating between channels. Often users are multi-tasking; according to Accenture, 87% of people use a mobile device while watching TV.  Your donation and engagement tactics need to be easy and quick to read and perform to minimise the likelihood of drop off from distractions. 

instaGiv’s fundraising and engagement solutions are designed for mobile. Be in your supporters’ pocket with a quick and easy solution to donate and communicate. 

Get started today by signing up HERE.

Top tips for optimising your regular giving SMS campaign

You wouldn’t use just one form of fundraising for single giving, so why rely on Direct Debit for monthly donations?

Regular giving donors are a crucial source of income for charities. SMS can lower the barriers that are associated with monthly donation sign up and Direct Debits. It’s quicker, easier, transparent and can help you acquire a new segment of regular givers.  

You can read our latest blog on why SMS regular giving is so appealing to both charities and supporters here.

Here are just a few things to consider when setting up your campaign:

  • Choosing the right keyword
    If you are likely to use the same campaign to acquire regular givers over the long term then a keyword connected to your charity name or cause will stay more relevant.
    Alternatively, if you are planning to run separate appeal acquisition campaigns then you can use keywords related to these.

  • Choosing a donation amount
    The average donation amount for regular giving is £5 – £10. With instaGiv you can offer either of these, as well as £15, £20, £25 and £30. Broaden your reach by offering your supporters the option to choose an amount that they feel comfortable donating by asking them to simply add the amount they want to donate to the end of the keyword. 

  • Customise your response and monthly messages
    Supporters will receive a reminder SMS 24 hours before their donation is taken and a confirmation when it has been taken, increasing your opportunities for touchpoints with supporters. Both of these messages can be customised so that you can build your relationship with them and maintain a consistent brand experience for supporters.

  • Use outbound SMS to recruit 
    Do you already have a base of warm opted in supporters? It’s easy to send them an SMS that they can easily reply to and sign up to monthly donations in seconds.

Interested in learning more about SMS regular giving? Send us a message here and we will be in touch.

Can SMS Giving help you increase your number of regular givers? We think so.

Many charities using instaGiv’s Regular Giving solution are still seeing tens of thousands of pounds of donations each year from campaigns that they set up years ago.

Regular giving offers a multitude of benefits to charities

  • It increases revenue by raising the lifetime value of donors. The amount a supporter donates over a year’s monthly donations is often significantly more than a one off donation. Even though a monthly donation may be a lower value, over the years this adds up to far more. 
  • It improves cash flow. For a lot of charities donations can congregate around certain times of year which can present operational challenges. This can be due to seasonal impacts, as well as large annual events which generate a significant amount of donations within a small period. 
  • It allows for better planning with more predictable income. Once a charity knows the average retention rates and donation amounts of regular givers, it can predict monthly income fairly accurately. This assists with longer term planning and budgeting of operational and marketing activities, as well as the work and services that a charity is providing. 
  • It produces higher ROI. Acquiring donors requires marketing and budget resources. If you are spending this on acquiring donors with a higher lifetime value you will see a better return over time. Many charities using instaGiv’s Regular Giving solution are still seeing tens of thousands of pounds of donations each year from campaigns that they set up years ago.  

For these reasons, as well as many others, regular giving is an essential revenue generator for many charities. Now more than ever it is crucial for charities to have consistent, predictable income. However, research has shown that Direct Debit sign ups decreased by 26.6% between May and September of 2020. There is however some good news, cancellation rates are getting lower. What does this mean? If you can get supporters signed up to regular giving, there is a higher chance of keeping them.

So why is regular giving by SMS so appealing to supporters? 

  • 84% of adults now use a smartphone and spend on average more than two hours online on their devices each day. Additionally, 80% of all donations in 2020 were made digitally. With people now using their mobile phones for many day to day tasks it’s likely that they are also using them to donate. It has been stated that one of the easiest ways to ensure a donation is to reduce the number of steps in the journey. Online forms that take a long time to fill out, require people to switch between screens or which don’t appear correctly on mobiles can lead to high drop off rates. Sending a text message to sign up to a monthly donation offers a simple one step solution for supporters to donate to your cause. 
  • Research has shown that Millennials and Gen-Z are far more likely than other generations to give via SMS (a whopping 92%). If you’re trying to acquire long term supporters from these demographics then SMS giving is a familiar, trusted donation tool. 
  • There are lower barriers to entry with text to donate. Some people may be reluctant to sign up to, or not feel ready to commit to, a Direct Debit. The sign up process for SMS giving is also quicker and does not require as much personal or bank information to be shared. 
  • SMS giving gives supporters more control over their donations, making it a transparent and ethical monthly giving solution. If for some reason a supporter is unable to make their donation one month they can simply skip a donation rather than cancelling their Direct Debit, meaning you don’t lose donors. 

With average retention rates of 89% and skip rates of less than 4% per year, SMS is a great monthly giving option for charities to increase the lifetime value of donors. 

How can instaGiv help?

instaGiv allows charities to collect monthly donations via SMS. All you need to do is set up a regular giving keyword and choose your donation price point. As with our single giving keywords, the text messages are customisable, and all compliance requirements are built in. 

For supporters, donating is easy. They simply need to text the keyword to your shortcode once and their donation will be taken like clockwork each month. No forms or fuss and no card details to enter. 

To set up your regular giving keyword today simply sign up or login

To speak to us, email 

Top tips for promoting your SMS donation keyword

So you’re ready to kick of your 2021 SMS fundraising plans. You’ve chosen your keyword, edited your response message, switched on consent and added Gift Aid. Now all you need to do is advertise it and wait for donations to start rolling in. But what are the best ways to promote your SMS donation keyword?

One of the best things about text-to-donate keywords is that they are easy to add to many types of promotional campaigns. People are likely to have their phone on them in most situations so texting to donate can be done there and then in seconds, making it easier for many people than visiting a website and completing a form.

Your keyword can easily be added to your social media account bios, added to the descriptions of images you post or even posted as an image itself. This is great because people are likely already on their phones so sending a donation message is little effort for them.

If you’re running any sort of virtual event, SMS keywords are easy to promote throughout it. Add it to sign up and reminder emails, have your host mention how to donate, add a rolling banner to the screen or add the information to any area where you can add text.

Whilst people are out and about less at the moment, billboards are a good way to promote your keyword. Why not add it to bus stops so people can text as they wait?

Add your SMS keyword and shortcode to your leaflets. This is a good opportunity for you to provide more information about a particular campaign and include a campaign specific keyword for people to donate to make a difference.

If you’re posting an advert in a newspaper don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach numerous potential supporters and add donation information to it.

Another opportunity to promote to a significant number of potential supporters. TV adverts allow you to include more information and create an emotional connection. With people likely to have their phones closer than their laptop, this is an easy way for them to donate immediately and in just seconds as soon as they see the advert.

If a supporter is signed up to receive updates from you they are likely to already be invested in your cause. With many people reading emails on their mobiles now, switching to text messages and donating will be quick and easy for them.

Key things to consider

  • Include all of the information
    Make sure you include the keyword, shortcode and amount they will be donating as well as any compliance information
  • Have a strong call to action
  • Make it clear and visible
    Think about the font, text size and colours
  • Make it memorable 
    Check out our top keyword tips here

Not using SMS Giving yet?

7 Tips to get the most out of your SMS giving campaign

SMS giving is the simple way for supporters to donate to your cause by texting the keyword of your choice to a shortcode. That’s it, there’s no forms or fuss. It’s not just supporters it’s easy for, it takes just minutes to set up your campaign and start raising money. But how can you make sure you are setting your campaign up for success?

  1. Make your keyword memorable, relevant and short. You want to make sure it’s something that is easy for supporters to remember, quick to type when they see the advert, and won’t get autocorrected to a different word.
  2. Offer different donation amounts to broaden your supporter pool and let them donate what is possible for them. The instaGiv platform let’s you set donation amounts of up to £30.
  3. Promote your keyword and shortcode clearly. Limit the amount of text to make your call to action clear, for example “Text CHARITY to 70660 to donate £10”. If you’re making an appeal on the radio state that you’re about to give them the word and phone number so people don’t miss it.
  4. Customise your response message to build your relationship with supporters. There’s lots you can do within this message to increase engagement, such as thanking them, directing them to your website or social media pages, or requesting they upgrade to a monthly donation.
  5. Collect Gift Aid declarations easily with instaGiv. You can choose to collect declarations via webform or SMS response, and all responses are verified before being marked as ready to download.
  6. Collect consent at the point of donation so that you can reach out to supporters at a later date. Whilst you might not be considering an outbound campaign currently, it’s a good idea to start building this up just in case you do in the future. Outbound emergency appeals and regular giving upgrade campaigns have been very successful for a lot of charities.
  7. Don’t forget to say thank you. You can do this as part of the response message, or by sending a separate outbound SMS notifying supporters of how their money helps. This helps supporters feel engaged and like they are making a difference, and increases the likelihood that they will donate again or spread your message.

To speak to a member of our team about getting started email

How can you optimise your Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign?

#GivingTuesday is one of the biggest days of the year for the charity sector worldwide, and this year it’s taking place on Tuesday 1st December. Giving Tuesday presents an opportunity for charities to increase donations, engage with supporters, raise awareness of their services and focus attention on campaigns.

This year has been tough on fundraising, with people in harder financial situations. However, it has also been a year that has increased the need for many charities’ services, and a year that has seen people coming together to care for each other and support important causes.

So how can you make sure you are making the most of the day?

  • Get your message out there – Promote your campaign via various channels such as social media, TV adverts, billboards, your website, newspaper and radio. SMS giving keywords are easy to advertise, and supporters can donate anytime anywhere.
  • Use your influencers – Do you have a celebrity spokesperson? Now is a great time to get them to promote your charity and the important work you do.
  • Corporate partnerships – Engage with your corporate partners to run fundraising campaigns around Giving Tuesday. There’s lots of ways they can get involved, from gamification to competitions. They can also help you spread your message to their employees and customers.
  • Launch your Christmas campaign – Launch your Christmas campaign on Giving Tuesday to gain attention and momentum early on.
  • Make it tangible – Connecting your campaign to something tangible can make it feel more real to supporters as they can envision the impact they are having. Let supporters know what different donation amounts could fund or set a target for them to help you reach. 
  • Show how you’re helping – Promote case studies that show supporters the work you have done in the past. This helps supporters feel emotionally invested and engages them with your work long term.
  • Thank your supporters – Make sure you thank supporters for their money, time or any other support they have provided to maintain engagement with them. Outbound SMS is a great way to cut through email competition and increase the chance of your message being read.

Get started today or to speak to our team email

Outbound SMS – How can your Charity use it?

Four ways your charity can use outbound SMS with InstaGiv

SMS has become one of the most commonly used methods of communication today. Why? Well because almost everyone either has access to, or owns a mobile phone, which is most likely within arms length of them at all times. Mobile phones are becoming the ultimate tool for everything. They started off being used for phone calls and short texts, now we can access the internet, do banking from them, video call, make payments, watch movies and much more.

Four ways you can use outbound SMS to enhance your mobile fundraising and engagement; Standard message, address verification, response request and donation request.  Lets look in a nutshell at each and ways they can be used.

Donation Request: Compose an SMS asking your recipients to reply with one of your single giving or regular giving keywords. With single, this will secure a one off donation and with regular this will secure a new subscription.

Standard Outbound: An SMS that you do not require a reply to. This is used for information or marketing purposes, you may decide to have URL within the message to direct traffic to a website of your choice, gift aid web form, landing page or much more.

Address Verification: This does what it says on the tin, captures the addresses of your supporters. All information given is matched to a full UK address which is fully recorded and stored on your InstaGiv account.

Response Request: Typically used for anything that you need a response for. This allows you to send a recipient list an outbound text, giving them the ability to reply to you. This is often used for; call backs, email capture, support for petitions, event sign ups, registrations and much more.

You can register for your keyword here.