SMS Marketing Misc.

How To Use Storytelling To Increase Donations

Today we’re jumping into a controversial take: the key to a solid fundraising strategy.

You may think you have your fundraising strategy locked down. But if you want to maximize donations and amplify the impact for your mission, you’ll want to hear Tatango’s take on the best way to raise funds for your organization. The key to a solid fundraising strategy for nonprofits does not lie in the amount of donation asks, or the time of year, and not even recurring vs. one-time donors or major gifts or corporate giving. Instead, the most successful strategies from nonprofits such as March of Dimes, United Women in Faith, Alzheimer’s Association, Sandy Hook Promise and more all have one thing in common: storytelling

The most successful fundraising strategies utilize storytelling to raise more donations and maximize impact. Telling your organization’s story well enables you to connect with your supporters on a personal level and inspire them to action and foster a sense of community and belonging.

Your supporters donate and interact with your nonprofit for a reason-because they value your mission. They want to be involved and active with your organization, but traditional communication methods that have worked in the past are no longer working. The way constituents communicate is changing, as are the tools needed for direct communication and engagement. To maximize engagement, nonprofits must utilize innovative tools and communication channels. To share their stories well, nonprofits must recognize the innovation needed to tell their story best and to directly engage their constituents where they are-on their phones.

Communication is changing. There is a need for texting service for nonprofits

Telling Compelling Stories With Your Texting Service for Nonprofits

We know your organization is looking for a communications channel that engages constituents directly. Texting is one of the most direct and widely used forms of communication worldwide. In fact, according to a study by PEW Research Center, text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages per day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily.
When researching the right texting service for nonprofits and especially for your organization, be sure to choose a platform that can send both SMS and MMS messages. Nonprofits can send text-only SMS messages or MMS (multimedia) messages with GIFs, videos, emojis, and imagery. Both SMS and MMS messages can work together to tell your story and engage supporters consistently.

What Type of Message Should I Send to my Supporters?

If you’re wondering “Which message should I send to my constituents: SMS or MMS?”, we’ve got the answers you need. Tatango has helped nonprofits raise over $400 million in donations and we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to raising funds and amplifying the impact for your mission.

When you begin texting your supporters, it’s important to find the right cadence. You also want to ensure that you’re not only sending donation-ask messages, which can quickly lead to donor fatigue and decreased funds for your mission.

Let’s start with the basics of nonprofit texting.“There’s no such thing as the perfect message” is no longer true, based on our data. If you want to maximize donations and send the perfect text message campaign, there are several best practices to follow.

texting service for nonprofits is able to send a high-roi message

  1. Timeliness Matters: 53% of highest-performing MMS texts are time-sensitive. For fundraisers, this implies the importance of crafting urgent calls to action, perhaps around specific events or urgent causes. If your nonprofit is hosting a gala or a run, walk, or ride event, timely messages could include event updates, location changes, or parking information.
  2. Personal Touch: Don’t forget to add a personal touch to your message. Whether that be identifying your organization in the text message, or (even better!) mentioning your supporter by first name or an event they attended, adding personalization to your text campaign will help your communications stand out.
  3. Use the optimal character count: With competing channels of communication, you want to ensure you capture your supporters’ attention. That’s where an impactful text message can help! The sweet spot for text length stood at 688 characters, which is roughly the size of four to five standard text messages.

Your constituents want direct communication. The immediacy and ubiquitousness of texting make it a powerful communication channel for nonprofits to reach their audience. Unlike emails that may go unopened or social media posts that can get lost in a sea of content, texts have an open rate of approximately 99%, ensuring that your message is seen.

Crafting Compelling Stories Through Texts

The art of storytelling with texting involves more than just sending out messages; it’s about creating a narrative that resonates with the audience and compels them to take action. Here are some strategies for nonprofits to tell their stories effectively through texting:
Start with a Hook: Beginning your message with a compelling statement or question that grabs attention can be a great way to entice user’s to read your message. To hook your readers into reading and acting upon your message, consider sharing a surprising stat, an interesting fact, a poignant quote, or a provocative question related to your cause.

  • Personalize Your Messages: Statistics show that personalizing a text can significantly increase engagement. A study of the top 100 texts sent in 2023 showed that a whopping 64% of multimedia texts were personalized. While the most common forms of personalization use the recipient’s name to tailor the message, there are other ways to personalize your text message. Personalization not only makes the recipient feel valued and more connected to your cause, but it can also make your message stand out in a crowded digital landscape.
  • Tell a Story in Parts: SMS messages that only use text (not GIFs emojis, or videos) have a 160-character count. Given the character limit of text messages, consider breaking down your story into digestible parts. This approach to storytelling keeps your audience engaged over time and builds anticipation for the next installment of the message.
  • Evoke Emotion: Emotions work to drive action. Think about it, as attention spans shrink, it’s important to capitalize on the few seconds you have your supporters’ attention. Statistics show that it takes the cognitive area of your brain 60 seconds to process an ad, it takes your emotional area just 12 seconds. So, whether you craft your text messages to evoke empathy, joy, or urgency, using emotive language will increase engagement with the story you want to tell and the action you want the supporter to take.
    A quick word of warning, however, be mindful not to overuse emotional appeals, as this can lead to message fatigue. You’ll know your message impact is no longer working when you see a lot of unsubscribes to your list or low click-through rates.
  • Include a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): When crafting your messages, ever text should have a purpose. Whether it’s to encourage donations, invite recipients to an event, or urge them to sign a petition you need to include a CTA in your text campaigns.. Make your CTA clear and easy to act upon. Tatango has found that diversifying your CTAs in your text messages can help prevent donor fatigue and engage supporters in different ways.
  • Use Multimedia: While text-only SMS is limited to 160 characters, MMS (Multimedia messages), have a higher character count, allowing up to 1600 characters. Sending MMS messages allows your text campaign to include images, videos, or GIFs. This tactic can be particularly effective in making your story more engaging and memorable.
  • Measure and Adapt: Evaluating the success of your text campaign in real-time can be crucial to maximizing donations and amplifying impact for your organization. Ensure that the nonprofit texting service you choose has a robust analytics tool. You can use these analytics to track the success of your texting campaigns. Key metrics you want to take note of for a successful campaign include open rates, unsubscribed, and any action from the CTA or donation link. Monitor open rates, engagement, and conversion metrics to understand what works best for your audience and refine your approach accordingly.

Repurposing Storytelling Content in Texting Services for Nonprofits

The best news of all of this is that your nonprofit doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel or hire additional resources for this new communication channel. You already have both the budget and the content needed to make this communications channel a success.

You don’t need to be overwhelmed about finding the time and resources to create new content, either. Simply pare down the stories you’re already telling on emails and social media to fit into the character limits of your text campaign. Using compelling video and imagery in your text messages makes your stories easily digestible and can increase engagement with your supporters.

You’re probably already sharing your nonprofit stories on Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok. And undoubtedly, you have an email list that you use regularly. While these traditional communication channels have worked well in the past, there are always frustrating changes to algorithms or cluttered email inboxes that can mean that your message is not getting seen. But when texting is used in combination with these traditional channels, donations and engagement soar.

Concerns About Budgeting For Nonprofit Texting Services

When marketers and fundraisers are searching for the right nonprofit texting service, they often have concerns about finding room in their already tight budget for a new tool. Additionally, they are worried about utilizing limited resources for training on a new platform as well as the time and persons needed to create the necessary components of the text campaign itself. Have no fear! Finding the funds in your nonprofit budget is no longer a concern, simply reallocate funds from under-performing channels to your text campaigns. Grow your list and engage supporters directly on their phones. And with a 99% open rate, your messages are sure to be seen.

The Need For A Texting Service for Nonprofits

Nonprofits know that the digital landscape is cluttered. Email inbox open rates and ever-changing social algorithms compete for your supporters’ attention spans. By adopting texting as part of their storytelling toolkit, organizations can create a more engaged and responsive community, ready to support their cause. The key lies in crafting messages that are not only informative but also emotive and actionable. As nonprofits navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, those who master the art of storytelling through texting will find themselves at the forefront of social change, one message at a time.

Using storytelling in your texting service for nonprofits is not just about communication; it’s about creating a shared experience that goes above the limitations of traditional communication channels. This direct and engaging mode of communication allows nonprofits to foster a deeper connection between the organization and its supporters. Raising donations and ultimately driving forward their mission is a great advantage of this direct communications channel. In using texting, organizations of all sizes and missions can continue to inspire, engage, and mobilize communities. If you’re ready to join Tatango’s texting service for nonprofits, contact us today. 

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