Understand what a Text-to-Donate short code is

A 'short code' is a five-digit number used to send and receive text messages (with U.S. phone numbers on U.S. carrier networks only). It is a critical part of how Text-to-Donate works. Learn what Give Lively's dedicated (not shared) short code is and how much it costs you (spoiler: nothing).

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What is a short code?

A "short code" is a 5-digit number used to send and receive text messages -- just like a regular phone number, only shorter.

Our Text-to-Donate technology uses the dedicated (not shared) short code 44321 (only valid on U.S. phone carriers).

Does it cost anything to use the short code?

Text-to-Donate and use of our short code are free for member nonprofits, like the rest of Give Lively's fundraising technology. A dedicated (not shared) short code comes at a significant cost, but our philanthropist founders are generously covering the whole thing.

Will short codes be disappearing?

There is a persistent rumor that short codes may be discontinued. This is not entirely accurate. While it is true that, as of 2020, most major wireless carrier networks in the U.S. no longer accept new shared short codes, we use a dedicated short code that has been in use for us for several years. We will continue to offer our short code-based Text-to-Donate product for the foreseeable future.

Additional note about short codes, long codes and international giving

We work with Twilio, a cloud communication platform, to power our Text-to-Donate technology. Twilio allows donors to text our short code (or long code) with a nonprofit-specific text code and, in return, receive a link to that nonprofit’s campaign.

Our U.S. short code can only be used with U.S. phone numbers on U.S. carrier networks that have approved that short code. Note that if a donor on a supported U.S. carrier is out of the country or located in a U.S. territory like Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, Twilio advises that text messages may be delivered, but delivery is not guaranteed.

Text-to-Donate is also possible through non-U.S. phones in many countries, but the short code can’t be used. Instead, donors must proceed using a "long code,” which is a full 10-digit U.S. telephone number: 917-999-0700. (When texting from outside the the U.S., this number must be proceeded by +1.)

Importantly, international texting may not be possible from all countries and across all carrier networks, but neither Twilio nor Give Lively has any control over this. SMS regulations vary widely from country to country and Twilio is working to expand its service.

Therefore, Text-to-Donate for international contributions may be available through the long code, but any nonprofit planning to use it:

  • is advised to confirm that it works by trialing it first through contacts in countries from which donations are expected to be received;
  • should include the web address of the associated Campaign Page in all Text-to-Donate international outreach so that donations can still be captured if the country or carrier doesn’t allow it;
  • should let donors know that elevated charges for international texting may apply, whether or not the texts are delivered.

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