SMS giving for smartphones

The problem with a lot of text message donation systems is that they only support one-off, micro donations, like £1, £2, £5, £10 etc (or in your own local currency). A further issue is that many mobile service providers and tariffs don't support the use of 'short codes' (i.e. send your donation to 60123).

With ChurchSuite Donate via SMS we've gone back to the drawing board and completely reimagined giving for the smartphone age. Not only can givers make one-off donations of any size, now they can even make weekly and monthly recurring donations - all from their smartphone! And what's more - no SMS integration is required to receive donations via SMS!

There's no SMS cost involved in using the Donate via SMS functionality - ChurchSuite covers the cost of the 'SMS auto-response' back to the giver. The giver pays the cost of sending the original SMS to give via Donate, although most mobile tariffs include free SMS messaging. While there's no cost involved in using the 'Donate via SMS' service, online donation transaction processing fees do apply to the card or direct debit payment method used to pay the donation - see our support article on Accepting online donations using Donate for full details of those transaction fees, which are deducted from each donation so that you receive the 'net of transaction fee' amount.

How does this work?

For a giver to make a recurring or one-off donation from their smartphone, all they need to do is to send a simple text message - explained below - and in return they'll receive an SMS auto-response from ChurchSuite with a link to ChurchSuite Donate with their donation details pre-populated into the Donate form. The giver simply reviews the details of their donation, enters their email address and some basic contact details, select whether to Gift Aid their donation (UK only) and supply their card details or direct debit bank account details (depending on the payment gateways you've enabled for Donate and the supported payment methods available for your country/region).

You can view your Donate via SMS details in the Givers section of the Giving module. You can Edit your keyword if you wish.

The giver sends an SMS to 07380 307 800 containing your organisation's keyword, followed by the word give, followed by the amount they wish to give one off and adding an m or w at the end if they want their donation to recur monthly or weekly.

Here's some examples of supported SMS donation messages (where 'KINGSHOPE' is an example keyword)...

  • KINGSHOPE give £500 will pre-fill the Donate form for a one-off £500 donation.
  • KINGSHOPE give £100m will pre-fill the Donate form for a £100/month recurring donation.
  • Other supported recurring monthly formats are KINGSHOPE give £100/m, KINGSHOPE give £100mo, KINGSHOPE give £100/mo, KINGSHOPE give £100month, KINGSHOPE give £100/month, KINGSHOPE give £100monthly.
  • KINGSHOPE give £10w will pre-fill the Donate form for a £10/week donation.
  • Other supported recurring weekly formats are KINGSHOPE give £10/w, KINGSHOPE give £10week, KINGSHOPE give £10/week, KINGSHOPE give £10weekly, KINGSHOPE give £10/weekly.
  • KINGSHOPE give £250 £125m will pre-fill the Donate form for a one-off £250 donation and a £125/month recurring donation.
  • The currency symbol is always optional. Upper, lower and mixed case characters are recognised. There must be a space between the keyword and the word 'give' and between 'give' and the amount.
  • KINGSHOPE give will also work, opening the Donate form with no donation amounts pre-populated.

The user experience...

The giver sends an SMS containing one of the above supported giving messages.

...In this example the message means give £50/month to Kings Hope Church. The giver then receives a text containing a link to your ChurchSuite Donate page, which they can follow with the simple tap of a finger.

The link opens your Donate page in their device's browser with all the donation information pre-filled into the form (one-off amount, recurring monthly amount and even their email address if their record is found in the Address Book) and awaiting their final confirmation. If there are several funds on your Donate page, the giver can select which fund they would like to donate to, and finally their donation payment details - the giver even receives a donation confirmation email.

Want to use your own Textlocal short code and keyword,

instead of our 'free-to-use' one?

For Textlocal customers only, as an alternative to using ChurchSuite's 'free-to-use' SMS Giving number, it is possible to use the free Keyword that comes included with your Textlocal account (or to purchase your own custom keyword). This can then be used in conjunction with Textlocal's 60777 short code (or you can purchase you own short code).

This means that a giver could text ABC12 give to60777 and receive the same SMS Giving auto-response (contain the Donate link) as outlined above. Do be aware that each auto-response will use your own Textlocal account credits. Also, many mobile service providers and tariffs do not support the use of short codes, so you may find some givers are unable to send an SMS to a short code, only to an actual mobile number.

In order to use this feature within Textlocal, in addition to completing the Textlocal integration, you'll also need to complete a further Textlocal account configuration step, as follows...

Login to your Textlocal account. From the Dashboard select the Settings option for your Textlocal 'keyword inbox' (accessed via 1. Receive > 2. View Inboxes > 3. Settings). In our example below, the Textlocal keyword is 96CL3 - your Textlocal account will show you your organisation's keyword.

Enter secure.churchsuite.co.uk/textlocal.php?account=accountID into the Forward incoming messages to a URL box (shown below), and tick to Use SSL (https). Your accountID is your ChurchSuite account subdomain - for example, if your ChurchSuite account login is kingshope.churchsuite.co.uk then your subdomain is kingshope - so the URL entry would be secure.churchsuite.co.uk/textlocal.php?account=kingshope.

Save your Textlocal account settings before logging out of your Textlocal account - you're ready to go!

Still need help? Contact ChurchSuite Contact ChurchSuite