Using Text to Donate – Giving Made Easy

| April 29, 2011

I’m often asked if using “Text to Donate”, sending a cell phone text message that authorizes a charitable donation, is a good, safe way to donate. The short answer is – absolutely. After the stunning success of the Red Cross fundraising effort for aid to Haiti in 2010 – over $32 million collected in one month, $10.00 at a time – hundreds of nonprofits have jumped on the text donation wagon. For donors, texting a gift is a simple and gratifying way to contribute money to a favorite cause.

That being said, there are a few caveats. First, don’t let a small gift or two replace a more comprehensive giving strategy. There is great fear in the nonprofit world that donors will use text messaging to donate $5 or $10 dollars, and that those small donations will take the place of larger gifts, or a monthly giving strategy.

Author's cell phone donation screen

You have to confirm the transaction with a second text

Secondly, as with any charitable gift, donors should adhere to common sense guidelines. Especially after any major disaster, fraudulent charities pop up. And let’s face it, some charities might be worthy of more consideration than others. Do you want to give to a charity that “raises awareness” or a charity with boots on the ground and the proven capacity to make things happen? If in doubt, deal with well-known charities and always donate to the charities directly, not to a 3rd party that takes operational fees out before passing on the remainder of your money.


Lastly, text message giving can bring in large dollar amounts to a very select group of nonprofits, but not every organization can benefit in the same way. So take time to support the local nonprofits that are working in your community. They might not have the pizazz of the international agencies responding to a tsunami, but they are the ones helping kids get off the street in your neighborhood.

Remember too that your donation will show up on your cell phone bill as an additional charge (data and text charges too depending on your plan). Keep that record for tax purposes.

Usually I focus on local nonprofits, but here is a list of some of the major national and international nonprofits that have current mobile text donation programs. Inclusion on this list does not imply a recommendation; use your own judgment. Also, these mobile texting programs come and go, so this list will have expired programs at some point. Don’t worry, if the program has ended, you can’t inadvertently donate money. So skip a mocha and send a few dollars to a great charity!

Agencies providing tsunami relief in Japan

  • ADRA Relief: text SUPPORT to 85944
  • American Red Cross Relief: text REDCROSS to 90999
  • Convoy of Hope: text TSUNAMI or SUNAMI to  50555
  • GlobalGiving: text JAPAN to 50555
  • International Medical Corps: text MED to 80888
  • Mercy Corps: text MERCY to 25383
  • Salvation Army: text JAPAN to 80888
  • Save the Children Federation, Inc.: text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222
  • United Way Worldwide: text JAPAN to 864833
  • World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals: text WAVE to 50555
  • World Vision, Inc.: text 4JAPAN or 4TSUNAMI to 20222

Note: The Red Cross gives you the option of donating specifically to the tsunami effort during the text verification process.

A list of additional charitable organizations with Text 2 Donate programs

  • AARP Foundation: text HUNGER to 50555
  • Adaptive Adventures: text ADAPTIVE to 50555
  • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: text AFA to 50555
  • American Cancer Society: text CVC to 90999
  • American Diabetes Association: text ACT to 27111
  • Amnesty International of the U.S.A.: text RIGHTS to 90999
  • Armed Forces Foundation: text AFF042611 to 50555
  • Autism Society of America: text AUTISM to 50555
  • Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence: text BRADY to 50555
  • ChildFund International: text THRIVE to 90999
  • Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation: text CBTF to 50555
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals: text miracle to 90999
  • Convoy of Hope, Inc.: text TSUNAMI to 50555
  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America: text CCFA to 90999
  • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: text HOME to 50555
  • Defenders of Wildlife: text WOLF to 90999
  • Disabled American Veterans: text THANKS to 90999
  • Feeding America: text 1IN8 to 90999
  • Give Kids The World: text VILLAGE to 50555
  • Keep a Child Alive: text ALIVE to 90999
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation: text WISH to 90999
  • Melanoma Research Foundation: text MRF to 85944
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving: text KISS to 90999
  • National Audubon Society: text GULF to 27722
  • National Geographic Society: text LIONS to 50555
  • National Park Foundation: text PARKS to 90999
  • Operation Blessing: text HEART to 50555
  • PBS: text PBS to 90999
  • Project Hope: text HEALTH to 90999
  • Starlight Children’s Foundation: text QDOBA to 90999
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: text HOPE to 90999
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: text KOMEN to 90999
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation: text CURE to 27722
  • text POOPIN to 27722
  • Wounded Warrior Project: text WWP to 90999

And finally, we won’t see this here but in Britain one can text a donation to buy the soldiers a pint. Now that’s one I can get behind!

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Category: Charitable Giving

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