It was announced last night that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved the proposal to use text messaging to raise funds for political campaigns. While it may not seem like it, this is a big deal for both the SMS marketing industry and political campaigns wanting to leverage SMS for fundraising.
The most important aspects to note are the two methods the FEC approved in terms of SMS donations. The first method requires a person to send an SMS keyword to a short code registered to the political campaign. Once submitted, that person would receive a text message response asking them to confirm their intent to engage in the transaction, and to certify that the’re eligible to make a contribution under the Act and Commission regulations.
The second method would require a person to enter their mobile phone number on a political campaign’s website in lieu of a credit card number. Before submitting the mobile phone number, they’d still be required to certify their eligibility to make a contribution under the Act and Commission regulations. After that person confirmed their eligibilty, and submits their mobile phone number, a text message is sent to their mobile phone with a PIN number. The user would then enter that PIN back into the political campaign’s website to confirm the transaction.
In addition to these basic requirements, there’s several other rules and regulations that affect the SMS providers used in sending the text messages, as well as regulations governing the content of messages and the conduct of the political campaigns sending the messages, among others. Instead of outlining all the rules, regulations and best practices presented by the FEC here, head on over to this post on Tatango’s SMS Marketing Blog — they did an excellent job summarizing the news and providing all the details you need.