SMS giving for smartphones

A 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 12345).

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, they can even make weekly and monthly recurring donations - all from their smartphone! And what's more - no SMS integration is required for you to be able 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 containing a clickable link to ChurchSuite Donate...

Clicking the link opens ChurchSuite Donate with their donation details pre-populated into the form.

The giver now reviews the details of their donation (amount, fund, frequency, method), selects whether to Gift Aid their donation (UK customers only), whether to optionally increase their donation to cover the online donation transaction fees, and enters their email address.

If they've not previously given through Donate on their device they'll be prompted to enter a security code that is sent to their specified email address. They'll enter some basic contact details (i.e. if they are a new giver, or if an existing giver with missing details) before finally entering their card details or bank account details (depending on the payment gateways you've enabled for Donate and the supported payment methods available for your country/region).

Finally, a 'success' page confirms everything has been completed - it's a really simple and secure process and easy for your prospective givers to participate! The giver even receives a 'donation confirmation' email, through which they can further manage their giving.

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.

Want to use your own Textlocal short code and keyword?

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 containing 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