Many nonprofits take advantage of email marketing, direct mail, and social media to achieve fundraising results. But, with the decline of email open rates and the increasing cost of direct mail and paid media, engaging constituents can be costly. This is where adding a new channel (with a high ROI) to your fundraising strategy can help.
Text messaging is an innovative and efficient tool that can dramatically boost your fundraising efforts. With the help of a comprehensive text-to-give platform, your organization can send hundreds to thousands of compelling donation requests at once and feel confident that supporters will see, read, and act on your solicitations.
Text messaging not only allows your organization to reach supporters with donation requests, but also gives you the opportunity to market upcoming events and volunteering opportunities as well as strengthen relationships with donors. We’ll go over four key tips to seamlessly integrate texting into your fundraising strategy:
- Leverage a text-to-give platform
- Send compelling donation requests
- Diversify your messages
- Track results
Backed by a strong text messaging strategy, you can push forward your fundraising goals and connect with donors on a personal level. Let’s begin.
Leverage a Text-to-Give Platform
While using new platforms can seem daunting, adding text messaging into your fundraising strategy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A dedicated text-to-give platform can simplify this process for you, allowing you to quickly and easily send text messages to your donor base once they subscribe to your messages.
Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging recommends looking for a text-to-give platform with the following core features:
- Fast messaging speeds: When you are working within tight fundraising deadlines, you need your donation requests to reliably reach supporters quickly. Look for a text messaging platform that offers a high messaging per second rate so all of your supporters can receive your messages just moments after you send them.
- Data security: Protecting your data and campaign information is of the utmost importance. After all, a data leak could have huge consequences on your nonprofit’s reputation and the success of your campaigns. Your text messaging software should provide two-factor authentication, secure sending, and automated logout so your subscribers’ information stays safe and only authorized nonprofit team members can send messages and access donors’ contact information.
- Segmentation and personalization: Rather than sending generic requests and messages to your supporters, you should be able to tailor your texts to the individual to create a much more authentic communication experience. Look for text messaging software that comes with segmentation capabilities and automated personalization features, such as including the donor’s preferred name in the message, so you can increase the likelihood of supporters acting on your calls to action.
- Scheduled sending: This important feature allows you to plan your marketing messaging and communications in advance to align with your content calendar. This way, you don’t have to scramble to send texts at certain times and can readily prepare drafts in advance,
With a text messaging platform specifically built with nonprofits in mind, your organization can take advantage of texting’s 99% open rate and 90% read rate within just three minutes of sending. Do your research to find a comprehensive platform that fits within your budget and meets your nonprofit’s unique needs.
Send Compelling Donation Requests
The goal of your text messaging strategy should not just be to get your supporters to open and read them, but to inspire them to act on your requests and donate to your cause. To reach your fundraising goals and encourage recurring giving, use these essential text-to-donate tips:
- Attach engaging visual content to your text messages such as photos of your beneficiaries or videos that highlight your fundraising needs. This helps to create an emotional connection and show donors how their contributions make a difference.
- Segment your donor base so you can tailor your messages to resonate with specific individuals or groups. For example, you might segment your contact list by location, recency of opting into your campaign, donation frequency, donation amount, and donation recency. This can help you to craft donation requests that feel reasonable and relevant to different segments of your audience, increasing the likelihood that they’ll act on your request.
- Use a specific call-to-action (CTA) in your text messages with active verbs and urgent language, prompting immediate action. For example, you might say “Donate by midnight to have your gift matched” or “Register by the November 22nd deadline!” to encourage supporters to meet your request right away.
The more specific and precise your text messages are, the more results you’ll yield. Get to the point quickly so you grab your supporters’ attention and keep engagement rates high.
Diversify Your Messages
Sending donation requests only via your text messaging campaign can lead to donor fatigue, leaving your supporters feeling unappreciated. Instead, diversify your text messages by sending out a variety of different updates and information about your organization and its fundraising progress. For example, you might:
- Share stories that highlight beneficiaries
- Send important event reminders to registered attendees and volunteers
- Text links to your website’s newest blog posts to learn more about what’s going on at your organization
- Ask for volunteer support for your upcoming program
- Highlight fundraising progress for your latest campaign
You should also regularly express your gratitude for supporters’ help in meeting your mission day in and day out. ECardWidget’s guide to donor thank-you letters recommends sending a thank-you message right after donors give that uses a personalized greeting, references their specific donation amount, and outlines the impact that they’ve made.
No texting strategy is complete without being able to analyze and assess the performance of your text messaging campaigns. Your texting platform should be able to provide reporting on invaluable data metrics so you can hone your strategy as needed to bring in more donations and drive engagement.
You’ll want to take a close look at metrics such as your:
- Open rates
- Clickthrough rates
- Donor conversion rates
- Unsubscribe rate
- Total donation amount
- Average donation amount
This data can tell you a lot about the type of messaging that most resonates with supporters and how you can improve your texting campaign overall.
For example, if the click-through rate to your donation page is low, you may need to reconsider how you’re asking for donations. For instance, perhaps your call-to-action is too vague and donors aren’t sure what action to take to give to your organization or push your mission forward. Look at metrics for each text message you send and determine whether you need to modify the language, length, time the message is sent, or other important factors in your next communication.
Adopted by numerous organizations, including churches, higher education institutions, and nonprofits, text fundraising is an effective way to inspire people to give. Leverage these strategies and take the time to research the best text-to-give platform that meets your specific needs.
With thoughtful implementation and consistent analysis, text fundraising can significantly enhance your organization’s donor engagement and overall fundraising success, helping you to build resilience and steer your nonprofit towards achieving its goals.