Nonprofit SMS Marketing

How to Grow Your Donor Base for SMS Nonprofit Marketing

How to Grow Your Donor Base for SMS Nonprofit Marketing

If you’re one of the many astute nonprofit fundraisers considering SMS text-to-give fundraising, congratulations! That’s a wise move. But how will you grow your donor base to ensure you receive those donations? This blog post reveals actionable strategies— some of them surprisingly easy—to get one-time donors to opt in to your database. Try these strategies, and you’ll soon see an increase in donors knocking on your door, eager to opt in to receive updates from your nonprofit and donate to your fundraising efforts.


Nonprofit SMS Fundraising Example: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross assembled a successful SMS campaign focusing on relief after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. More than 3 million people were injured or displaced and in desperate need of services.

The U.S. State Department and mainstream media heavily promoted the campaign. TV stations ran public service announcements during the NFL playoffs that weekend. The Red Cross used the keyword HAITI and asked for $10 contributions; the organization ultimately collected $32 million.

A study completed two years after the earthquake, conducted by Pew and the American Life Project, revealed that more than three-quarters of all donations came from first-time text-message donors. A third of those donors returned to their phones and gave to Haitian relief efforts a second time. More than half of them also donated to relief efforts for other disasters two years later.

How to Grow Your Donor Base for SMS Nonprofit Marketing


Best Practices to Grow Your Donor Base

Since the 2010 earthquake, nonprofit fundraisers have learned a few things about how to grow a donor base using SMS marketing. 


Choose a Short Code or 10DLC

When consumers send a text message to another person, they send it from one ten-digit phone number. Historically, nonprofit organizations could only send mass text messages over a short code, a five- or six-digit phone number that replaces standard phone numbers and are only used for texting. However, more recently nonprofit organizations are now also able to use 10-digit long codes (10DLCs) to send text messages to subscribers. Tatango can help you figure out which number is right for you based on your organization’s goals.


Integrate Your SMS Number with Your Website

Regardless of which phone number you choose, you can install a small snippet of code onto your website. Then, whenever someone fills out their phone number on a web form, their phone number can be automatically synced with your SMS marketing program to receive future donations.

How to Grow Your Donor Base for SMS Nonprofit Marketing


Demonstrate Value

You don’t always have to offer a tangible item, such as free merchandise, a signed photo, or tickets to an annual event. Donors enjoy knowing they have the inside scoop or special access to exclusive information. Tell donors how your nonprofit will use their money. 

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, recommends SMS marketers place a great deal of importance on those first interactions via text message. “… the first 10 to 15 things you do should bring disproportionate value to the consumers,” he said.


Segment Text Messages

After a supporter has donated or signed up for your text messaging program, thank them! You can even ask for additional information, such as their email address or favorite causes. Those details can help personalize future messages and make them relevant to a supporter’s interests.


Emphasize and Highlight Security

Many people are concerned about fraud and theft, particularly older donors. They may be hesitant to give a credit card or debit card number. Chances are you’ve partnered with a platform, such as Tatango, that incorporates the highest text message security measures. Highlight this detail when communicating with your supporters so they feel comfortable donating from your text messages.


Work with a Knowledgeable Partner

Since 2006, Tatango has helped clients send billions of text messages. Our technology can send up to six million text messages per hour. We know text message marketing inside and out. In fact, Tatango clients routinely report an average ROI of $5 in donations for every $1 spent on SMS text messaging.

How to Grow Your Donor Base for SMS Nonprofit Marketing

Check out more text message fundraising resources for more best practices and helpful tips to get the best ROI from a text-to-donate campaign. And if you’re ready to grow your donor base, contact us today.

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