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Txt2Give Lets You Donate to Non-Profits via Twilio SMS


chadboydEngineer and entrepreneur, Chad Boyd (pictured right) wanted to create an easy and secure way to donate money to his church. When it came time for donations on Sunday, he never had his checkbook and didn’t want to write his name, address, and credit card number on a slip of paper for all to see. So, Chad built a solution himself.

Txt2Give, which allows sports fans, churchgoers, and non-profit supporters to donate to organizations via text at anytime using Twilio SMS. We talked with Chad about getting Txt2Give off the ground and what integrations he has planned next.

When did Txt2Give get get started?

I started working on Txt2Give back in March of 2012.  I was sitting in church thinking how inconvenient it was to write a check for the offering, and how insecure it was to write your credit or debit card info down on a paper form and drop it into the bucket.  I began thinking of how I could modernize the way churches received their donations.  It had to be really convenient though, too.  Something you could do anywhere, anytime.  Something for people like me who remember to do things at the most inconvenient time and place.  That’s when it hit me that people always had their mobile phones with them.  They are like an extension of us all, and most everyone is very comfortable with text messaging.  So Txt2Give was born.  I knew it probably wasn’t a new idea, but I was going to set out to do it better than anyone else.  Along the way, I decided not to limit the service to churches, but to really any organization that wanted to accept donations via text message.

How have you built your platform to reach different user bases from churches to non profits to sports fans?

I built Txt2Give in a way that will allow any organization that wants to receive monetary gifts by text message to do so.  I’ve done this mostly by not using any type-specific language or jargon in the communications between donors and the organizations.  In the future, I’m planning on allowing the organization to tailor their communications specifically to their organization.  I already do some of this by branding the donor registration form with the organization’s logo and name.  In the future, organizations will be able to do things like add their own verbiage to text messages and email receipts, or maybe feature something specific to their organization.

texttogiveHow are you using Twilio?

Twilio is the backbone of Txt2Give.  We use it for sending and receiving all of the messages during the donation process.  We also send out text message reminders to donors that have pledged a donation but haven’t yet registered their payment information.  After two days, our system will send out a message to remind them to register their payment information.  We use Twilio for all of this.

How do SMS and Voice capabilities affect the response time between prompt for donation and the pledge of donation?

With our service, the donor is the one that initiates the donation process, so the response time between donation initiation and pledge is fairly short.  The simplest donation path results in four messages: two from the donor and two replies from our system.  It goes like this:

  • Donor: Give 100
  • Txt2Give: Give $100 to XYZ Organization?  Enter yes or no.
  • Donor: yes
  • Txt2Give:  Please click the link to complete your donation.

That last message is only sent to first-time donors.  If a donor is already registered with Txt2Give, they simply get a confirmation message.

On average this process takes about 20 seconds or so.  Twilio plays no small role in this.  Their infrastructure ensures that the messages are processed quickly.  Most of the time spent during this process is attributed to the mobile carrier routing the messages to their destinations.

5. What’s next for Txt2Give?

We are constantly striving to make mobile donations better, both for donors and organizations.  We are currently using Stripe for all of our credit card processing.  We love Stripe, but some organizations, especially non-profits, would like to use their existing merchant accounts with us.  We are in the process of making that a reality.  We are also constantly on the lookout for other donation payment methods we can use at Txt2Give.

Txt2Give also currently integrates with Fellowship One, a very popular Church Management SaaS platform.  When someone uses Txt2Give to give to a church with a Fellowship One account, their donation is automatically attributed to them in that church’s Fellowship One account.  This ensures the church staff isn’t wasting time manually entering that donation into their system.  When the church sends out the giving records at the end of the year, the donations processed through Txt2Give are already included in there.  We will be looking to create more integrations with other church management software solutions in the near future.

To learn more about Txt2Give, visit their website here.

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