Text to Give for Churches: The Only Tithe Guide You Need

April 9, 2023
7 minutes
A human hand holds a smartphone up. The screen has a text saying, "DONATE" and a cross at the top. Behind the hand are other symbols of faith.

In a world where we grocery shop, watch movies, and pay the bills online, it’s no surprise that churches are moving from passing the collection plate to tapping the “donate” button. And with text-to-give for churches, it’s even easier to gather those gifts. Wherever you worship, members and visitors alike can easily and securely donate using their mobile phones. For all the info you need to make your place of worship mobile-first, we’ve got your go-to guide on text giving for churches. Together, we can change the world, one text at a time.

How text giving for churches works (and other places of worship)

So, you're sitting in church and the offering plate is being passed around, but you forgot your checkbook. Or maybe you’re visiting a Buddhist temple on a trip to Japan, and you’d love to throw in a few hundred yen, but you spent them all on takiyaki. (Been there!)  With text giving for churches, it’s no cash, no problem! Anyone can donate right from their phone, and it's as easy as sending a text message.

If you’re a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple looking to make giving easier on everyone, here's how it works: You find a text-giving provider (and hopefully, that’s Funraise's super awesome CRM, because we make it easy aaaand write great guides on text-giving for churches). Then, they help you create a unique phone number and custom codes, and you go forth and promote your new giving program. Soon, you've entered the digital age, and you're raking in the mobile tithes and offerings.

On the donor end, text-to-give is intuitive as can be, and they don't have to worry about physical currency. The giver receives a unique phone number to text and a keyword to use for their donation. Assuming they've connected their mobile device to their payment information, they simply text the keyword and the amount they want to give to the provided phone number. The transaction goes through, they receive a confirmation and get charged, and they’ve made the world a little bit brighter without ever leaving their seat!

How to set up text to give for a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship

So, how can your place of worship set up its very own text-giving program? While it depends on your provider, here’s a basic rundown of how to set up text-to-give for a church.

  1. Choose a text-to-give platform
  2. Set up your account
  3. Create some codes
  4. Promote mobile giving
  5. Monitor and manage your donations
  6. Say thank you

1. Choose a text-to-give platform

It’s a big, wide text-to-give provider world out there, so consider your options and do your research. There are many giving platforms available (and don't get us started on text to give vs text to donate!), so you’ll want to choose one that fits your place of worship’s individual needs. Look for a solution that’s friendly, easy to use, affordable, and secure. Something trustworthy, something with a wink and smile, something … Funraise!

2. Set up your account

Getting all set up with your text-to-give provider of choice is easy-peasy. Simply share some basic information, and your provider will help you get your new text-giving program off the ground in no time flat. They’ll also provide you with a unique phone number to use for all future text-to-give donations.

3. Create some codes

Next, you'll need to create some codes that donors can use to make donations via text message. Typically, these codes are a word or phrase that donors can text to that unique phone number to donate. You might choose something classic like "GIVE," or you might turn up the creative juices and choose “HALLELUJAH” for your church or “L’CHAIM” for your synagogue. BTW, Funraise will suggest some memorable codes or let you go wild and create your own.

4. Promote mobile giving

If a nonprofit creates a text-giving program but there’s no one there to use it, does it even exist? Well, yes, it does, but the point is that you need to get the word out about your new text-to-give abilities. Write about it in your newsletters, feature it in programs, shout it out on social, and share it on your website. A quick reminder about mobile giving before services or events doesn’t hurt either.

5. Monitor and manage your donations

As those mobile donations start coming in, you need to stay on top of them. Most comprehensive giving solutions will provide tools to track donations and view donor information. You can also set up automatic donation receipts should the mood strike. (We’re assuming “setting up automated receipts” is one of your regular moods.)

6. Say thank you

Finally, it’s time to show your congregation some love and appreciation for their texting skillz! Don't forget to thank everyone who gives via text for supporting your faith community. And, of course, give them a resounding “Amen!” during services to encourage others to get on board.

Get your own church text-to-give service.

7 benefits of text-to-give for churches, synagogues, and other places of worship

You know how text giving works, now it’s time to determine if it’s #worthit. (Spoiler: it is.) Here are some of the many ways text to give for churches will revolutionize your online giving and fundraising:

  • More donations
  • Ease and convenience
  • Improved engagement
  • Real-time donation tracking
  • Super security
  • Less administrative work
  • Flexibility

1. More donations

With text-to-give, it’s farewell to all those folks who don’t carry cash or forgot a check and hello to instant, plentiful donations with just a few taps. If you need more convincing, note that the typical open rate for SMS is 98% (Twilio), so you’re bound to reach most of your congregation. Additionally, text giving makes it easy to donate on a regular basis, building up a reliable source of funds and increasing overall giving.

2. Ease and convenience

With online giving, you streamline the donation experience, and text giving is even quicker, simpler, and more convenient than online giving forms. Rather than passing a collection basket, church members can give with just a few taps on their phones. That means they can give to your place of worship anywhere, any time, as long as they have a mobile device—whether they're sitting in your pews or on the other side of the world.

3. Improved engagement

Giving via text isn't just about donating money; it's about building a stronger community. Today, 97% of Americans have a mobile phone of some kind (Pew Research), allowing you to use the (not-quite-almighty) power of technology to communicate and engage with members in totally new ways, from event reminders to service invitations. This is particularly important for engaging the younger generation of worshippers.

4. Real-time donation tracking

The best text-to-give platforms for nonprofits let you track donations in real-time, making it easy to track the success of fundraising campaigns. It's like having a real-time scoreboard for your financial goals, giving you the information you need to adjust your strategy and achieve success.

5. Super security

With a solid text-giving platform, you can provide a secure giving experience that keeps your congregants’ private information safe and sound. Accepting donations in a secure way builds trust and confidence, especially for first-time donors or folks who are less comfortable with online giving.

6. Reduced administrative work

Regardless of what your schedule looks like, your staff and volunteers have enough on their plates. Text giving automates the donation process, saving them valuable time and effort. As a result, they can focus on the more important tasks at hand, like cultivating dāna or spreading the gospel.

7. Flexibility

Texting donations allows donors to choose a giving method that works for them. They can do a one-time donation or recurring giving, and they can give a little or a lot. Plus, for synagogues, you can encourage members to give ahead of the High Holy Days, when members can’t exchange money.

See the benefits of texting for churches with Funraise.

10 text-to-give church tips & tricks

So, you’re ready to embrace text giving. Mazel tov! Before you launch your latest venture, check out these text-to-give church tips and tricks to get your program off to a holy start.

  • Check those values
  • Share clear instructions
  • Promote text giving
  • Vary your codes and keywords
  • Don’t just ask for donations
  • Show some appreciation
  • Share it in services
  • Look into partnerships
  • Change course as needed
  • Let folks opt-out

1. Check those values

You’re a faith-based organization, and that means you want a text-to-give platform that fits with your values. A lot of churches just go with the shiniest giving solution, but you'll do yourself a favor if you do your research to find a platform that gets you.  

2. Share clear instructions

Your followers should be focusing on their spiritual journey, not the how-to’s of making a text donation on their mobile device. So, make sure your instructions for text giving are clear and easy for people to use. Use simple language that everyone can understand, and provide examples to help guide donors through the process.

3. Promote text giving

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: If you want a successful texting donation program, you need to shout it to the heavens. Spread the word about this new way to give everywhere, from bulletin boards to emails, along with instructions on how to donate and your custom keyword.

4. Vary your codes and keywords

Have a little fun and make your text-giving program memorable by customizing your text-giving codes for your place of worship. Your church could try "TITHES" while a Shinto temple could use "OMAMORI."

5. Don’t just ask for donations

Getting donations via text is swell, but reaching out to your members with nothing but fundraising solicitations is a huge problem. Instead, connect with your congregation through personalized greetings, event invites, and other updates. And, of course, keep everyone informed about how those donations are helping the church.

6. Show some appreciation

We do good for the sake of doing good, but a little appreciation never hurt anyone. Make sure to communicate your gratitude to each giver, thanking them for their generosity through personalized thank-you notes or acknowledgments during church services.

7. Share it in services

Incorporate a short announcement or reminder about text giving into your church service or ceremony. For example, you could remind members during the offertory portion of the church service or during Friday prayers at your mosque.

8. Look into partnerships

There’s power in numbers, so consider partnering with local businesses to offer incentives for donors who give via text. For example, your corner coffee shop could offer a discount to anyone who shows their donation confirmation text. People can also suggest local businesses they know and love.

9. Change course as needed

Like all fundraising streams, text giving isn’t a one-and-done deal. Continuously evaluate and adjust your church's text-giving program based on member feedback and donation data.

10. Let folks opt-out

We all love being able to easily unsubscribe from emails, so do your members a favor and make it easy for them to say "thanks, but no thanks." If your members don’t want texts, don’t send them texts.

Find a T2G solution for your church, synagogue, mosque, or other faith-based organization.

5 church text giving examples and templates

By now, you’re almost ready to turn your parishioners into text-itioners. But first, check out these heavenly church text giving examples and templates—we’ve had tons of fun coming up with these ideas for how your congregation can contribute through their phones.

1. Text-to-Tithe (our favorite example of text to give for churches)

This seems like an obvious one! If your church traditionally passes around a basket to collect cash, maybe it’s time to look at whether that’s still working for you. Do you have a problem with people yoinking money as the basket makes its rounds? Do you have folks that always forget to bring a check or cash? Do you have declining service attendance or parishioners that are attending virtually? Text-to-Tithe may be for you.

How you can DIY

You can still pass around your basket, but add in slips of paper that direct people to text-to-donate. Then, during the service, you can take a few-minutes break to allow folks to tithe online. Encourage more tech-savvy parishioners to assist those who want to give online but need a little hand-holding.

Your paper slips can say something like, “Text CHURCH to 123-456-7890 to tithe through our website.”

The response text would say, “Your Church thanks you for your gift! Click the link to donate on our website. [Add your link here.]”

Why it works

Even if they don’t give at the moment, anyone who takes a slip of paper will be able to tithe at their convenience. It doesn’t require your congregation to think ahead and have cash or a check on them. And if you’ve ever sat through a 90-minute mass, you already know how welcome a 5-minute break can be. Plus, that person-to-person assistance breaks the ice between pews!

2. Mobile mutual aid (Person-to-person text to give church example)

No one said that donations to your house of worship need to go to that house of worship. When you’re close with a dynamic group of people with their own lives, families, and goals, there’s always going to be some folks that have problems. And that’s what friends are for, right?

So, maybe each week your imam distributes funds to members dealing with medical bills, expensive car repairs, funeral expenses, crushing student debt, childcare costs, or other burdensome needs.

Parishioners can contribute by selecting a common fund allocation so their donation is used ease their fellow humans’ burdens.

How you can DIY

Funraise offers several ways you can do this, and pretty easily, too! The first is by setting up a special donation form to be used specifically for this common fund. The text to give code would be something like MUTUAL AID, and the response text would lead directly to this special form.

Another easy option is to add an allocation option to your standard donation form. During the donation process, supporters would choose to have their gift allocated to the common fund.

If the code is MUTUAL, try a response text like this:

“Compassion is essential, & so is your gift. Donations to our Mutual Aid Common Fund help unburden our friends at Your Mosque. [Add your link here.] Thank you.”

Why it works

There’s just something about one-to-one giving that drives people to donate. That’s one reason peer-to-peer fundraising works, it’s why relationship-building is so crucial at nonprofits, and it’s why nonprofit storytellers often want to show the impact on one individual. Give your donors a way to feel like they’re making a difference in the lives of someone they sit next to every week, and you’ll see lots of compassion in the form of donations.

3. Mathless Zakat al-mal

One of the Five Pillars of Islam is the religious duty for all Muslims who have the means to help the needy. One way by which Muslims do this is by a mandatory charitable contribution called zakat. This contribution is calculated based on the value of one’s wealth and possessions and is typically around 2.5% of a Muslim’s total savings which exceeds a minimum value, the nisab, which is set to the value of 3 oz. of gold or 21 oz. of silver.

Seems pretty easy... but Funraise makes it even easier to configure your donation form so that it makes the calculations for your donors. And getting them to the proper page is the easiest part, thanks to text-to-give for mosques.

How you can DIY

Your intrepid author won’t pretend to understand it, but Funraise’s vv smart CTO, Jason Swenski, has laid out how you can set up your Funraise donation form to account for and help calculate your donors’ zakat. Everyone say, “Thaaaank youuuuu, Jason!”

But… We definitely can suggest how to use text-to-give to get donors to the fancy donation form! Set your code to something like ZAKAT and make the response text, “Ramadan Mubarak! Calculate and contribute zakat al-mal in just a few clicks on Your Mosque's website. [Add your link here.]”

Why it works

Zakat isn’t difficult to calculate, but you’ve got to have all the relevant information at your fingertips. This setup makes it easy on Muslim contributors, meaning they’re more likely to give and to feel good about it!

4. Pay for potluck

No matter what religion you belong to, there’s likely a holiday or day of remembrance that requires your parishioners to not cook (Shabbat), or to fast (Ramadan), or to eat or not eat something specific (Lent).

Often, at those times, your faith-based organization comes through with just the right food at just the right time. Fish on Fridays, an already-cooked meal on Saturday, or literally all the foods to break your fast.

But unless you can spin up some loaves and fishes out of nothing, big meals that feed a crowd cost a bundle. Enter text-to-ticket, where a parishioner purchases a potluck pass over their phone.

How you can DIY

However you communicate with your congregation, give them a heads up that your common meal is coming up and they can purchase tickets (even if they’re free) online. Set up a code like SHABBAT that leads directly to a ticketing form. Families can sign up everyone from grandparents to babies at once.

If you want to make it a potluck, you can set up a custom question to ask what type of dish each parishioner is bringing and see all of the answers in Funraise’s single-solution software CRM.

If your code is SHABBAT, you might want to set up a response text like this, “Sign up for our weekly Shabbat meal at the link, and don’t forget remind us of any dietary restrictions, please and thanks! [Add your link here.]”

Why it works

Well, besides being someone’s pass to delicious food (our favorite), online ticketing forms allow you to accurately plan for how many people are coming to eat, and specifically how many of those people are gluten free vegans who can’t eat spicy foods.

5. Donations for drives

Socks, jackets, toys. What do all of these have in common? They’re common “drive” items. During cold winter days, it’s not uncommon to hear about a local house of worship putting on a coat drive to collect warm outerwear for those who need a helping hand. But in our busy life rush, sometimes it feels difficult to go buy a toy or drop off a package of socks at the temple.

The solution is obvious! Your congregation can donate the cost of the drive item with a few clicks on their phone.

How you can DIY

Add a line to your drive announcement or social posts directing people to support in any way they can, including donating cash to cover the cost of new goods.

Maybe your code is DRIVE or WINTER COAT. Your response text would be something like, “Spread the warmth with a winter coat. Drop off a gently-used jacket at our 34th St. location or donate the cost of one coat [Add your link here.]”

Why it works

Everyone knows what it’s like to need a coat or see someone shivering—it’s heartwrenching! But this life we live is filled with tasks and needs and activities and barely any time to get it all done. Donating via text makes doing good easy.

Choose your adventurous use case for text-to-give!

Text to give for small churches: do you need to do anything differently?

If you’re a cozy church, small synagogue, mini mosque, or tiny temple, text to give is still a great way to collect donations easily and efficiently. While larger places of worship may have more resources to implement text-to-give, you don't need to be a large institution to take advantage of modern giving options. In fact, text-to-give for small churches has a lot of added benefits. First, it’s perfect if you have a smaller budget, since it’s an inexpensive way to collect donations. Second,  it allows you to reach every member of your congregation with a mobile phone, forging new connections with younger churchgoers. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to customize your asks with unique codes, set amounts, recurring gifts, and more. So, dream big, small churches!

Text to give for non-churchgoers: what to know

If you don’t belong to a formal place of worship, if you have faith but don’t belong to a faith, if you’re spiritual but not religious, or if you just want everyone to get along, man, that’s super groovy, too—and you can also leverage all the text giving tips and fundraising ideas for churches in this article! Remember, faith is about doing good, so we’re singing the praises of text-to-give for everyone.

Why use Funraise for your text to tithe needs

With the impact and ease of text giving, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of text-to-tithe options out there. But Funraise's CRM is special, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t put in a good word before you go on your merry way. With Funraise’s text-to-give feature, customization, ease, and efficiency are the names of the game…s. It’s super easy and fast to get started.

Then, once you’re all set up, the real fun begins. You can configure custom text-to-give codes that are relevant and memorable. Plus, specify custom amount codes, or let your congregants give what they want by adding an amount to the end of the code to prefill a donation form. You can also personalize and automate replies, so that folks receive a link to your donation page. Best of all, with Funraise, you have a convergent CRM solution. You’ll benefit from all the data you collect via text donations, with intuitive reports, useful dashboards, gorgeous templates, and more. God bless, Masha’Allah, and let’s text to success!

T2G digital giving tools are the next big thing. Try it today!

Final points on church text-to-give

  • Church text-to-give is an easy and convenient way for places of worship to collect donations via mobile phone.
  • To set up text-to-give, you’ll need to choose a text-to-give platform, set up an account, create codes, promote digital giving, and monitor donations.
  • There are many benefits of text-to-give, including increased donations, improved engagement, real-time donation tracking, and less administrative work.
  • Funraise’s text-to-give features can help your house of worship set up a text-giving program that awes and inspires.
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