Are you a non-profit organization looking to incorporate the mobile giving channel into your fundraising campaign? To find out if your organization is qualified to conduct a mobile giving campaign, please review the MGF Standards of Participation. If eligible, click the Apply Now button above to get started!
MGF Standards for Participation
In order for a non-profit organization (“NPO”) to become eligible as an MGF grantee and solicit contributions through the mobile channel, the NPO must have a rating of m4 or higher. If the NPO has a rating of below m4, it may still participate in the mobile channel, however, the charity must be sponsored by a qualified non-profit organization. We have created a set of reliable, straight forward standards that give all participants in the mobile ecosystem some assurances with respect to who is using the mobile channel. The following scale is used:
NPO adheres to all 11 standards: m5 NPO adheres to 9 or more standards: m4 NPO adheres to 6 or more standards: m3 NPO adheres to 4 or more standards: m2 NPO adheres to less than 4 standards: m1
- The organization shall be exempt from income tax under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code a. Includes filing a 990 annually and reporting gross revenues of at least $500,000. b. If an organization is exempt from filing a 990 they must submit financial statements prepared by an independent auditor or CPA with gross revenues of at least $500,000. c. BBB accredited charities are exempt from the revenue requirement.
- The organization shall be registered as a soliciting charity in all states in which the solicitation will occur. In the event of multi-state solicitations, the NPO must be a registered as a soliciting charity in all states requiring registration, unless sponsored by a qualified 501(c)3 organization who is registered in all states requiring registration.
- The organization shall be in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws including remaining current with all required filings (includes US Patriot Act Compliance).
- The organization shall be in good standing in its state of incorporation and have been operational for at least 1 year.
- The organization shall make only truthful representations to the public with respect to its fundraising, finances, operation and solicitations.
- The organization shall have a well-defined mission statement and operate programs that work to efficiently achieve that mission.
- The organization shall spend its funds in a prudent and transparent manner; with a fundraising efficiency no greater than 35%.
- The organization shall accurately report its expenses and make such information, financial statements and annual reports openly available to the public.
- The organization shall have an elected and volunteer Board of Directors of at least 5 members that has at least 3 meetings each year.
- The organization shall measure its effectiveness through assessment tools every two years.
All organizations interested in becoming a qualified MGF grantee and running a mobile giving program must first apply through MGF by completing the MGF Non Profit Organization Application found on our website here. The first step of the application is a simple questionnaire. Should MGF deem your organization eligible to participate in mobile giving programs, the second portion of the application will be provided to you via a link by e-mail along with all other necessary supporting documentation for your application. Applicants are required to provide payment for a one-time application fee of $350 at the time that the application is completed.
It typically takes MGF no longer than 5 business days to review and approve a new application. Once an application has been approved, the charitable program agreement is countersigned, and a copy of which is provided with notice of approval.
In parallel to completing the application package, applicants should also give consideration to how and with whom they wish to run their mobile giving program.
There are a number of program-extensive options available to NPO applicants that are offered outside of what MGF enables (i.e. carrier billed donations). With this in mind, MGF has approved a number of Application Service Providers (ASPs) ASPs are account managers, mobile marketers, consultants, and application developers with expertise in these respective fields. ASPs are connected to the MGF platform and are approved to provide account management services directly for charities running mobile giving programs. Please see the approved ASPs here.
When a qualified non-profit organization (NPO) has selected an approved ASP, two contractual agreements will be made; one between the NPO and the ASP, and the other between the NPO and MGF.
Pricing for mobile giving campaigns is then determined by you and your Application Service Provider (ASP) based on the package of services needed. Pricing may include a mobile giving campaign charge invoiced from MGF to the ASP. ASPs may be selected based on their alignment with your charity’s vision, goals and budget. Each approved ASP has gone through a detailed application process and will comply with MGF standards. However, working with an ASP is optional. Charities are not obligated to obtain services from an ASP. In all cases: your costs at a minimum will be based on the number of campaigns (i.e. keywords and donation amounts) you have in market per calendar month.
Regardless of service cost: Wireless carriers pass 100% of the charitable funds they collect to MGF. MGF also remits 100% of these funds to the respective recipient charities within 30 days of receiving funds from the wireless carriers.
Campaign activations take place every Friday. Requests for campaign activations or changes should be submitted no later than 5:00PM Pacific on the Wednesday prior to the targeted Friday activation. All campaigns are tested prior to launch in market to ensure functionality across participating wireless providers. No campaign activation request may be submitted unless the proposed grantee charity has successfully completed the application process.
Types of Programs Available
All mobile giving programs consist of a short code and a keyword. Click here for a primer on the basics of how a mobile giving program works.
It is crucial that organizations running mobile giving programs establish a clear goal prior to activating a program. Click here for some marketing tips to help make sure your mobile giving program is a success!
Grant and Remittance Process
MGF undergoes a rigorous reconciliation process each month to accurately account for all funds donated to the MGF where the donor has expressed an intent to donate to an MGF pre-approved nonprofit, and to ensure these funds reach the recommended charity as long as the charity remains compliant with the IRS. This process, at a high level, involves the following actions:
- MGF receives reports from the Wireless Service Provider (WSP) to be reconciled with the MGF platform records.
- MGF uses its reconciled platform records to account for all successfully pledged donations within a given month as the invoice back-up.
- MGF consolidates all donations to it received from each WSP after reconciling with platform report to ensure that all funds have been received. It can take anywhere between 60-120 days after a month end for MGF to receive all funds from each participating WSP.
- MGF holds all funds in its Donor-advised Fund Trust account until reconciliation is complete and grants are issued.
- MGF issues grants as a DAF to the public donor recommended pre-qualified charity by ACH or in check form, and by post mail.
- Prior to issuing grants, MGF issues each charity a reconciliation report via email with a summary of the total funds received by WSP and by campaign (keyword/short code) to show full transparency between mobile giving campaigns and the public donor’s recommendations to the MGF. This email also serves as notice that a grant has been made
Tax Receipt Process
- All donations through text message are made to the Mobile Giving Foundation with the public donor’s recommendation to support a pre-qualified charity running and promoting the mobile program clearly noted.
- All receipts for text message donations are provided by MGF to text donors that visit our web site to collect their tax receipt here: https://www.mobilegiving.org/tax-receipt/
- Text donors are anonymous until they are able to validate that they are the user of the phone, which is validated through a handset verification process upon visiting the receipt page and inputting the mobile number from which donations were pledged.
Frequently Asked Questions
- My organization is a non-profit, but is not classified as a public 501(C) (3). Is my organization eligible to receive a grant and run a mobile giving program?
- How long does it take to apply, get approved, and launch a program?
- What information does my organization receive on mobile users that donate to MGF through text message?
- How can my organization use the information received on mobile users that donate through text message?
- What guidelines apply to the use of mobile giving programs?
- What types of mobile giving campaigns are prohibited?
- What information do I need to include when marketing a mobile giving call-to-action?
1. My organization is a non-profit, but is not classified as a public 501(C) (3). Is my organization eligible to receive a grant and run a mobile giving program?
No. Only qualified public 501(C) (3) organizations are eligible to receive grants from the MGF and run mobile giving programs. As a public 501(C) (3) organization, MGF may only gift funds received through text message donations to other public 501(C) (3) organizations.
2. How long does it take to apply, get approved, and launch a program?
3. What information does my organization receive on mobile users that donate to MGF through text message?
All donation transactions reported through the MGF platform include the mobile number from which the donation was initiated and completed. Also included with each donation transaction is the relative status of each, the time stamp for each, and the campaign keyword and short code for each.
4. How can my organization use the information received on mobile users that donate through text message?
This information can be used for internal reporting purposes only. This information is confidential and must not be used for any reason other than its intended purpose, which is to report on the transaction-based interaction between mobile users and a mobile giving program.
5. What guidelines apply to the use of mobile giving programs?
6. What types of mobile giving campaigns are prohibited?
Contests, sweepstakes, draws, or any other type of campaign where the donation through text message is used as a form of entry. Campaigns that offer a prize, or anything with fixed monetary value, to the donor, negate the tax deductibility of donations. Furthermore, MGF is not approved by participating wireless providers to support contest-like campaigns where the donation through text message is used as a means of entry.
7. What information do I need to include when marketing a mobile giving call-to-action?
Please refer to the Marketing Terms & Conditions for all mobile giving campaigns, which can be found here: https://www.mobilegiving.org/terms-and-conditions