SMS Marketing

Text to Donate for Food Banks: Two Real-Life Examples

text to donate

Text to donate is a fundraising method in which people can make charitable donations using text messaging. In order to use text to donate, an organization usually hires a texting service for nonprofits. Then, the usual process for text to donate is:

  • The organization sets up a short code, a text keyword, and a mobile giving webpage.
  • Users send an SMS message with a text keyword to the short code related to the campaign they want to participate in. 
  • An automated text message asks them how much they would like to give.
  • Users reply with the amount of money they want to donate. 
  • Another automated text gives them a link in which they can finalize the donation process.

This is the basics on how text to donate works for all types of nonprofits. But what happens with food banks? How can these organizations use nonprofit text messaging? In this article, we’ll explore two real-life experiences of food banks using text to donate. How did they use them? What were the results? Keep on reading to learn more about it!

How NBC4 & Telemundo and Sam’s Club Used Text to Donate

NBC4 and Telemundo 52’s Help For The Hungry Campaign

This campaign ran from November 21 through December 31, 2022 by TV networks NBC4 and Telemundo 52. Their purpose was to support local food banks and help them provide millions of meals to Southern California families in need. Viewers who wanted to collaborate would use the text keyword H4H to the short code number 41444 to send their donations. This strategy also encompassed in-person donations at many local Ralphs and Food 4 Less markets.

Since 2018, the Help For The Hungry campaign has garnered over $2.2 million in contributions, and distributed almost nine million meals throughout Southern California. The collaboration of two bilingual, extremely popular channels like NBC4 and Telemundo 52 not only made it possible to obtain those amazing numbers. It also helped them to obtain attractive stories live from in-person contributors, an overall increase in their popularity, and extensive live coverage in morning shows, mid-day newscasts and streaming channels from other media.

Sam’s Club “Text ‘Hunger’ to 35350” Campaign 

Text to donate for food banks is not something too recent. In 2015, a message started to circulate on social media saying that Sam’s Club was making donations to food banks if users texted the keyword ‘HUNGER’ to 35350. Each of those donations would provide twelve meals to a local food pantry once a donor’s location was confirmed. But something strange happened, which gave potential donors to this campaign pause. 

Sam’s Club Facebook and Twitter pages didn’t publish any material confirming the campaign by the time it became popular (March 2015). Social media users inquiring about the campaign were directed to a website in which they were prompted to enter barcodes from General Mills products. That would generate donations under a program called “Outnumber Hunger”.

The website’s content confirmed that Sam’s Club was involved in the campaign; which would continue until January 31st 2016 or until a $225,000 donation cap was reached. However, there was no mention of text-triggered donations. A Facebook link at the top of that webpage led to an Outnumber Hunger campaign page; which hadn’t been updated for several months. All these factors made several Facebook members question the legitimacy of the 35350 donation message.

Despite this sloppiness and confusion, by 12 March 2015 Sam’s Club reached the $225,000 donation cap. Using text message automation, texts to 35350 no longer triggered food bank contributions after the donation cap was reached. The company repeated the idea under the name ‘Sam’s Club Meals from Members Program’; which ran from February 28, 2017 and ended on March 31, 2017 ET. They switched the keyword ‘HUNGER’ for ‘MEALS’.

The Trumpia Advantage for Food Banks

Strategies like the ones we showed in this article don’t belong only to a few mega brands. You can develop equally effective and complex text to donate campaigns using Trumpia. Our automated text message workflows allow you to set many different triggers to stop your campaign after an amount of money’s been reached. And that is just one example of the multiple parameters you can set with simple, intuitive drag-and-drop functionality.

Trumpia also offers unlimited text keywords which can go beyond the basic need of being sent to a specific short code number. Using keywords in our automated texting software allows you to capture data like name, region, interest. You can set which data you’re interested in, and our software will automatically capture and store it in your contact database.

If you’re ready to use Trumpia, you can start your free 14-day trial and experience the power of our platform firsthand. We’re very positive that you’ll master our SMS marketing software in no time. If you have any questions or need further explanation on how to use Trumpia, call or text 1-888-707-3030.