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The mobile firm Revolution Messaging and Democratic technology provider NGP VAN are partnering to provide text-to-donate services and SMS tools to Democratic campaigns and organizations.

Initially, mobile fundraising will consist of web-friendly contribution forms, but the plan is to eventually allow client campaigns to receive contributions via text message. In the meantime, political committees can send rapid response, GOTV and mobilization texts to supporters on their cell phones.  

“We’re still waiting on a few carriers, but our integration with NGP VAN is completed,” Revolution Messaging CEO Scott Goodstein tells C&E. “Our systems are communicating with each other, so we’re able to pass data back and forth.”   

Goodstein says the text donation component will be ready within a few weeks, but clients can immediately take advantage of the link between the two systems. Campaigns can collect supporter emails at their events and drop them into an NGP VAN account. They’re also able to text follow-ups and send links to an NGP landing page.  

NGP VAN CEO Stu Trevelyan says he and Goodstein were discussing the text-to-donate possibilities long before the Federal Election Commission began debating the issue and were convinced of its promise when it was successfully employed in disaster relief efforts.

“We started following it as a concept when it was first discussed as a possibility,” says Trevelyan. “The real holdup has been the FEC and its regulation.”

Text contributions will synch with NGP VAN's reporting system so that signup pages flow directly to Revolution’s backend—ensuring the Federal Election Commission’s reporting requirements are met. Mobile services will be offered at a discounted introductory rate that remains compliant with CTIA’s own text-to-donate standards. 

By partnering with NGP VAN, Revolution will also have access to the technology provider’s clientele, which consists of Obama for America, the national Democratic committees, labor unions, PACs and thousands of progressive, down-ballot campaigns and organizations.

Earlier this month, the FEC approved Revolution Messaging’s advisory opinion request, allowing campaigns to use shared short codes to avoid setup delays and costs— $10,000 to $20,000 in addition to maintenance fees. With text donations aggregating directly into Revolution’s payment system, they won’t be marked as anonymous contributions—a potential headache for campaign treasurers responsible for FEC compliance.

The FEC also allowed for text donations in excess of the initial $50-per-month and $200-per-election cycle limits.

“This is the future,” Goodstein says. “The data on the Democratic side has got to start talking to each other.”

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