Text 77948: How Does This Short Code Work?

Text 77948: How Does This Short Code Work?

By
Gnosis Media Group

You may have seen these little five- or six-digit numbers floating around donation campaigns for all sorts of charities, especially in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. But what exactly do these little numbers do?

Essentially, these 5- or 6-digit numbers are miniature phone numbers. They’re actually called Common Short Codes (CSC), and they’re programmed to respond to specific keywords. When you send a pre-programmed keyword message to the short code, it responds with an automated message. The number is shortened from the normal 10 digits down to 5 or 6 in order to make it easier to remember. CSCs can also send messages in bulk which makes them popular for mail carriers, retailers, and phone companies.

A keyword of one of our recent customers. When the prospective donor texts OASIS to the short code, 77948, she gets a welcome message reply with a link to donate to Oasis United.

A keyword of one of our recent customers. When the prospective donor texts OASIS to the short code, 77948, she gets a welcome message reply with a link to donate to Oasis United.

Short codes are convenient for sending mass messages out to people regularly. They also work very well for the purpose of setting up text donations.

The 77948 Short Code

This is the short code we use at GMG. When you sign up for our service, we basically lease out this short code to you. You may use our short code for as long as you have your subscription. 77948 is what’s known as a shared short code. This just means that it is not exclusive to just your nonprofit; other nonprofits may also use it. (This short code is actually owned by TXT180, a St. George Utah SMS provider.)

By contrast, there are exclusive short codes which only one organization may use. An example of this is the 90999 short code that the Red Cross uses. This type of short code has only one keyword associated with it, and it can only be used by one nonprofit. 

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How to Donate Using A Short Code

So, Hurricane Harvey devastates parts of Houston, Texas, and you want to help out. You notice on social media that some of your friends have shared a short code. There are a few ways in which short codes can receive donations. Some are automated, like the Red Cross, where you simply text a code word or number (and sometimes a specified amount) in the message body and send it to the short code.

The Red Cross’ short code (90999) then sends you a message back to confirm your postal code. When you reply with your zip code, your mobile carrier adds the donation amount, usually $10, to your phone bill that month. After the mobile carrier’s accounting next cycle, the carrier sends your nonprofit the donation.

The other method -- which is growing in popularity because of its versatility and ease of use -- is quite similar. Instead of automatically adding the fee to your phone, the receiver of your message responds back with a link. There, you can click the link and donate however much you’d like. Typically, the link goes to PayPal so you get a secure, quick checkout. The process from start to finish is designed to be simple and easily accessible.

Eric Bryant, October 12, 2017