A few years ago, we heard about and met a company that had introduced giving by text overseas and were bringing it to the United States. At first, I was skeptical. We've been doing this long enough to know that not every new thing is an improvement. Adoption is more important in the long run than innovation. We decided to watch, listen and learn. We became convinced in late 2015 and began building our own, integrated, version of text-to-give in mid and late 2016. Last week we rolled it out. Here is how we became convinced.
First, people used it. Several of our clients began using stand alone text to give products. They have been faithful friends of ours for years, so we asked them to give us the stats that they were seeing as they rolled it out. I remember the conversation with the IT lead from one large church in particular, he told me that text to give had become their #1 source of income. That was the day I knew.
Second, it's really easier. People are always prone to take the path of least resistance. That's why our small group system works so well. All that's involved in text to give is a person opening their messaging app, putting in the church's 10 digit, local phone number and typing either a number to give or simply the word "Give". The first time, they'll get a link they can click to add just their name, email and card or bank account numbers. They can add a password to view their full account. After that, they just text a number and it goes to the default fund (General fund) and they get a receipt by both text and email. For other funds, they just type the amount and fund name.
Third, texting is the thing. A few years ago we began hearing from clients that more and more of their younger people had moved away from or never started using email because they were used to texting. For many people, email inboxes are black holes of unmanged clutter. With Volunteer Management in 2015, we began adding text as an alternative for our responsive access features.
Fourth, potential uses. As we were working on text to give, we began seeing the possibilities of using the same feature for things like event or class registrations. Imagine people texting the word "New Member" or "VBS" to either register immediately for a class or to get a link to the form they need to register. This is coming very soon.
Years ago, we added texting as a communication method to our software. That system is a fantastic way to send messges, responses needed or reminders to people or teams using texting, email or both. Adding your own phone number gives people an easy way to respond immediately to written, presented, or verbal directions like:
Text "Give" to (817) 677-9850. You'll be able to see what it looks like. If you want a bogus credit card # to enter or more info, text support: (817) 405-9750.