By James V. D’Ambrosio

(This is the second in a series focusing on mobile giving)

Building on last column, here are some details regarding the mobile giving process. Four entities are involved: 

1.) Mobile Application Service Provider (ASP): has facilities to enable text message donations, handles the approval process with the Mobile Giving Foundation, establishes campaigns with carriers, and provides promotional  support for campaigns. 

2.) Mobile Giving Foundation: a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization certifying nonprofit agencies seeking to implement a mobile-giving campaign. Also facilitates transferring funds from carriers to nonprofits.

3) Text Aggregators: such as mBlox or Verisign, have connections to mobile carriers that test and approve campaigns before roll out. They operate in the background to ensure compliance with mobile marketing guidelines. 

4) Wireless Carriers: such as AT & T and Verizon Wireless, process donation requests from the Mobile Application Service Provider and, when confirmed, place the donation on the user’s phone bill.


Mobile-giving campaign costs are determined by the nonprofit and the application service provider (ASP) based on the specific package of services desired (costs may include a campaign charge invoiced from the Mobile Giving Foundation to the ASP). ASP’s may be selected based on how closely they align with a charity’s mission, vision and goals. When a qualified nonprofit selects an approved ASP, two contracts are generated — one between the nonprofit and the ASP, and a second between the nonprofit and the Mobile Giving Foundation.

Upon approval, the Mobile Giving Foundation develops the fund-raising initiative in collaboration with mobile marketing firms and the nonprofit. The messaging platform is then used by wireless carriers’ short message service (SMS) centers (SMS is a communications protocol allowing the exchange of short text messages between mobile telephone devices). The wireless carriers forward 100 percent of the charitable funds collected to the Mobile Giving Foundation which, in turn, sends 100 percent of donations to the nonprofit within 30 days. The Foundation charges back costs for short-code, reporting, and messaging charges directly to the nonprofit agency or their supporting service providers on a post-donation basis.

On the donor end, cell phone users text a keyword to a specific short code; keywords are determined by the fund-raising organization and usually align with the agency’s cause or purpose. Contributions are set at $5 or $10 and users are usually limited as to the number of donations they can make to the same campaign by SMS in one month. After donating, users receive a confirmation text message and the amount is added to their wireless phone bill.

For further information about how your nonprofit can get started with mobile-giving, contact the Mobile Giving Foundation at or call (866) 810-1203.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: