The Basics of Running a Mobile Giving Program

All mobile giving programs consist of a short code and a keyword

What is a short code?

Similar to a telephone number, short codes are special 5- or 6-digit numbers used to route text messages from mobile phones to interactive mobile messaging applications, typically in combination with a keyword. They are designed to be shorter and easier to remember than regular telephone numbers. Short codes also allow for billing and other unique forms of interaction via the mobile phone, such as news alerts, contest voting, ordering ringtones, charity donations and mobile chat services.

What is a keyword?

Used in combination with a short code, a keyword is a word that differentiates a mobile campaign from others on the same short code. The keyword and short code combination allows mobile phone users to make a one-time or monthly recurring donation to any specific MGF sponsored mobile donation campaign. For example, a non-profit organization might choose the keyword WATER. In order to make a donation, mobile phone users would send the word WATER as the body of his or her text message e.g. to the short code 20222.

What is a sub-keyword?

Sub-keywords can be a maximum of 6 alphanumerical characters in length, and may follow the campaign’s main keyword by a space or without a space. There is no limit to the number of sub-keywords that can be used. Sub-Keywords are used in instances where an organization needs to track funds based on the intent of the donor. Sub-Keywords are often used in the following scenarios:

  • To designate funds to various programs/initiatives within an organization.
    Example: Text SUPPORT FAMILY to 20222 to donate $X to our Family services program, or text SUPPORT HOMES to 20222 to donate $X to our Home Building Project.
    SUPPORT in the above example is the main keyword, but HOMES and FAMILY are sub-keywords.
  • To designate funds raised by various geographical locations.
    Example: Calling Texans to text FUN TX to 20222 to donate $X.
    FUN in the above examples is the main keyword, but TX is the sub-keyword, and so could WA, CA, NY, FL, etc., be used as sub-keywords to help you distinguish funds raised by users in different states. This could also be used for organizations that have multiple chapters across the country who all wish to promote a text campaign under the same keyword.
  • To designate funds raised by a number of individual volunteers.
    Example: Help support me in raising funds for Charity Name – simply text GIVEBACK001 to 20222 to donate $X

    GIVEBACK in the above example is the main keyword, but 001 is the sub-keyword.


Donation Amounts

Mobile giving programs not only consist of a campaign keyword and a short code number, they must also correspond with a donation amount, or multiple donation amounts. There are 8 set donation amounts available: $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $40 and $50. Programs may be run at any or all options available.

Monthly Recurring Gift Program

Available at the $5, $10, $25 and $50 price points. Mobile users can subscribe to automatically donate this amount on a monthly basis. These programs include a monthly reminder message and a billing message each month. Users have the ability to opt-out at any time by replying to any of the program messages with the word STOP.

Engagement Options Through Opt-in

Customizable follow-up message:

MGF has approval from participating wireless providers to permit the incorporation of a single follow-up message per donation amount as a part of any mobile giving program. This follow-up message is sent by text message to donors approximately 30 seconds after a one-time donation has been completed. Charities can customize the content of this message, but must ensure that:

  • The length of the message does not exceed 140 characters (including spaces).
  • The disclosure, “MsgDataRatesMayApply,” is included within the message.
  • Monthly alerts subscription service: Ask mobile donors to opt-in to receive up to 4 text message alerts per month. Messages can be customized, but require the approval of MGF prior to being sent. Messages can be scheduled for delivery to subscriber handsets in advance.

Supporting Partners