Nonprofit SMS Marketing

How to Run Nonprofit Mobile Messaging Campaigns in the US


Finding effective and accurate ways to communicate with supporters is vital for all nonprofits in the new digital era. What better way to reach them than to connect with them where they spend most of their time? Unlike social media, which generally appeals to specific audiences, everyone uses text messaging. In 2021, over 3.8 billion people around the world have a smartphone, and 81 percent of American adults use text messages, making it the most common mobile phone activity. 

The text messaging click-through rate (CTR) is 9.2 percent higher than other digital communication channels. There’s no doubt that text message marketing is the most effective marketing strategy nonprofits can use to increase reach and engagement. 

Keep reading to learn how to run a successful nonprofit mobile messaging campaign. 


What Is Mobile Message Marketing?

Mobile message marketing, also known as SMS marketing or text messaging marketing, is a combination of commercial text messaging-related practices. On a basic level, mobile messaging marketing uses short message services (SMS) and multimedia messaging services (MMS) to send mass text messages to a specific audience.

SMS messages contain up to 160 characters and can include text, emojis, and links; MMS messages can include media content such as images, GIFs, videos, QR codes, and audio files in your messages. Additionally, with Tatango’s marketing functionality, MMS messages can include up to 5,000 characters and a subject line. 

Tatango has been the text messaging marketing industry leader over the last 14 years, helping nonprofit organizations fundraise campaigns, contact volunteers, and communicate with supporters through text messaging. 


5 Steps to Running a Successful Nonprofit Campaign

Wondering what goes into running a nonprofit mobile messaging campaign in the United States? Start with these five steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful SMS marketing campaign. 


1. Choose an SMS Provider


To create a successful SMS marketing campaign, we recommend you work with a text message marketing software provider that can help you obtain an SMS short code from the U.S. Short Code Administration. Ideally this provider can also help you design a creative and effective strategy for your campaign. When evaluating the many SMS software providers available, look for one that will be an ideal fit for your organization. Tatango is the industry leader for political and nonprofit organizations. 


2. Select an SMS Keyword and Short Code


Once you’ve chosen your SMS software provider, you’ll need to select a short code and an SMS keyword. 

A short code is a five- or six-digit phone number you’ll use to communicate with existing and prospective supporters. Unlike a standard 10-digit phone number, text message short codes are half the length and are easier to read and remember. There are four types of short codes: vanity short codes, random or non-vanity short codes, shared short codes, and dedicated short codes. Each one has its pros and cons, and your SMS software provider can help you choose the best option for your needs.

An SMS keyword is a word or phrase that people can text to an SMS short code from their mobile phones to join an SMS subscriber list, such as “DONATE.” SMS keywords allow subscribers to interact with a short code that corresponds to a specific mobile messaging campaign. Choosing the right keyword for your campaign can have a significant impact on your organization’s reach and the number of subscribers who engage with your campaign. At Tatango, we recommend selecting a keyword that’s relevant to your nonprofit or your campaign and is easy to read and remember. 

Obtaining your short code and SMS keyword is just the beginning of your text message marketing journey.


3. Promote Your Keyword and Short Code Everywhere


Even if you’ve chosen an SMS keyword and short code, you can’t start messaging anyone just yet. Text message marketing is strictly a subscriber-only form of marketing. Consumers need to give their consent to receive text messages from an organization or brand. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates SMS text message marketing and has strict guidelines. Make sure you’re aware of those guidelines before you start sending text messages.

You can use a variety of opt-in methods for your mobile messaging campaign. No matter which method you choose, we recommend promoting your SMS keyword and short code everywhere. To obtain a large number of subscribers and achieve a successful campaign, include your keyword and short code on your website, flyers, and signs at your location, so people know how to opt in to your campaign. 


4. Send Messages Regularly


Once you’ve grown your subscriber list, text them regularly. Identifying the ideal frequency to text your supporters can be challenging. Many industry experts recommend texting subscribers once per week, with a monthly average of two to four SMS messages. But the truth is, frequency is not one size fits all––an SMS software provider like Tatango can help you determine your campaign’s ideal frequency. One thing’s certain: you should avoid texting your supporters too frequently and sending messages at inappropriate hours. Being “spammy” will make your nonprofit organization look bad and you may risk losing some supporters’ trust. 



5. Measure and Optimize Frequently


A text message campaign isn’t successful unless you track results and optimize your campaign as needed. Tatango’s subscriber and messaging analytics features are easy to use. These tools help you track your subscribers’ trends and every mass text message you send. Frequently analyzing and optimizing your campaign allows you to increase engagement, donations, and support for your causes. 


Let’s Run a Mobile Messaging Campaign Together

There are plenty of ways to create and run a successful mobile messaging campaign for your nonprofit organization. From adding fun emojis and GIFs to shortening URLs, text message marketing has evolved over the years and become more accessible and easier for small and large nonprofit organizations to incorporate into their marketing strategies. Currently, only 15 percent of nonprofit organizations send text messages to donors and supporters, when predictions show that the number of text messages will increase by nearly 40 percent in 2021. 

To keep your cause top of mind, increase donations, and create change, chat with an SMS marketing expert today and learn how Tatango can help your nonprofit organization reach and communicate with those who stand with your mission and support all your hard work. 

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