According to a recent report from Blackbaud, Generation Zers and Millennials are the UK’s most generous givers — choosing an easy-to-identify, easy-to-spell keyword for them to text-to-donate will help ensure they don’t drop out and their donations don’t fail.

Generation Zers and Millennials donated a whopping £2.7 billion to charitable causes this year. Blackbaud’s report also says that 20% of these people had recently donated via text message. With a fifth of the UK’s most generous donors giving via text, your organisation can’t afford to miss out on this market.

Unfortunately, here at Donr, we’ve spotted a few issues with the current text-to-give options out there. The keywords that charities are asking their supporters to text, in order to support their causes, are particularly concerning to us.

We’ve seen some charity campaigns that use a random combination of letters and numbers as their keywords. This presents a number of issues:

· Supporters’ phones could autocorrect these letters to a more common word; the donation could fail if the supporter does not correct this;

· Promoting the keyword orally — for instance on the radio — becomes more problematic as the letters must be spelled out phonetically and could be misheard;

· The numbers on the end of the letters could be misremembered; “was it ‘1 8’ or ‘8 1?’”

Trivial though these might seem: take a straw poll in your office by asking a few people to type out a few random letters into their phone. We did this at Donr using the invented keyword ‘DNR18’ and found that, first of all, we had to use the NATO phonetic alphabet to ensure that we were all typing the same thing (particularly to distinguish between ’N’ and ‘M’).

We then found that the letters ‘D’ ’N’ ‘R’ were autocorrecting to ‘Done’ or ‘Don’t.’

Had this been an actual charity text-to-give keyword, the charity would have been in real danger of missing out on our donations simply because the keyword was difficult to hear and type into our phones without error.

Finally, and we see this is as the biggest issue with random strings of letters and numbers being used as keywords: they waste the hard work done by charities to get their brand tone just right. It’s virtually impossible to inject tone into an arbitrary string of characters.

Fortunately, there is an alternative: using our newly developed technology, charities can nominate real words to use as their text-to-give keyword rather than an arbitrary string of letters and numbers. So, for instance, a supporter might text “WATER 5” to a charity looking to provide clean water to a deprived community to contribute £5 to their cause.

Great, right? Words not random letters: harder to mishear, easier to spell and no need to try and remember that D is for Delta and N is for November. Now you just need to think of a word that passes a few simple tests and you’ll find your perfect text-to-give keyword. First, think of a word that connects to your charity and then ask yourself:

· Is it a word that you can reasonably expect 99.9% of your supporters to know how to spell?

· Does it have any pesky homonyms? (Words that sound the same but are spelled differently; we don’t recommend ‘bear’ or ‘bare’ for this reason)

· Could it be easily misheard? (You’d be surprised how many times ‘eighty’ is misheard as ‘eighteen’ or vice versa)

Once you have your chosen keyword, put it into our system and check that it’s available — we need each campaign run via Donr to have a different keyword so that we know who to pay donations out to.

Blackbaud’s report said that the majority of Gen Zers and Millennials (that group of people we met earlier — a fifth of whom were donating via text) anticipate an increase in their charitable giving next year. We want to help you be ready to encourage them to donate in a way that suits them. Head to our website to find out more and to sign up.

Happy fundraising,
The Donr team