The launch of Apple’s first iPhone in 2007 opened the way for a new era of nonprofit fundraising and communications. Since then, many 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations have been using text messaging to connect with donors and volunteers. Over the past three years, online giving has grown 42%.
With more than 10 million non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide, we can say that competition is tough. Raising funds for your nonprofit organization is quite challenging, and standing out in the crowd and attracting committed donors isn’t easy.
While not everyone has access to the internet, there are more than 5 billion people around the globe who own a mobile phone, which means they’re able to send and receive text messages. Plus, 90 percent of text messages are opened within three minutes and SMS messages have a 209 percent higher response rate than other communication channels such as email, phone calls, and social media like Facebook and Twitter. Text messages have a 99 percent read and open rate compared to other communication methods, such as email, which only has a 20 percent open rate.
That’s why text message marketing is the most effective tool for your nonprofit to engage with donors, recruit and coordinate volunteers, share updates, and much more. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to use text message marketing for your nonprofit fundraising, and you’ll see a few examples of real text messages from top nonprofit organizations.
Why Text Message Marketing Can Help Nonprofits Increase Donations
First of all, what is text message marketing? Also known as SMS marketing, text message marketing is a combination of commercial text messaging-related practices. In general, text message marketing involves sending mass SMS text messages to a specific audience.
There are two types of messages that can be sent to supporters: SMS (short message service) & MMS (multimedia messaging service). SMS text messages are short messages sent to mobile devices. They generally contain only text, up to a maximum of 160 characters. In comparison, MMS can contain up to 5,000 characters and additional media such as images, GIFs such as countdown clocks, donation thermometers, videos, and audio files. Tatango is the text messaging marketing industry leader, enabling nonprofit fundraisers to increase donations, reach out to volunteers, and communicate with their supporters through text message campaigns.
Nonprofit and mission-driven organizations’ fundraising campaigns are in constant competition with many other charitable causes and groups. Even though donors are passionate people always willing to help the causes they love, there’s a limit to how much they can give to those causes. Building strong relationships with your supporters is a way to stay top-of-mind when it comes to fundraising. Never underestimate the power of small donors!
Text message marketing enables you to send captivating bulk text messages to stay connected with all your subscribers, as well as to communicate with donors, event participants, and volunteers. While most nonprofit organizations use email, phone, and newsletters to stay in touch with their audiences, most people prefer receiving text messages. 75% of donors prefer short, self-contained content. Additionally, twice per month is how often donors want to receive text messages.
With Tatango, you can send up to 5,000 characters in MMS messages, so you have plenty of room to explain your cause and share updates with your subscribers. You can also include attractive subject lines and eye-catching images and GIFs to gain your supporters’ attention and increase your engagement.
Tips for Nonprofits to Generate Donations Via Text Messages
Regardless of what type of text messages you’re sending, here are a few tips that can help guide your nonprofit mobile fundraising in the right direction.
Include One Clear Call To Action in Every Message
As text message marketing experts, we recommend that you always consider adding a clear call to action (CTA) in every text message your nonprofit campaign sends. Subscribers should always know exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to donate, register, or sign up? Besides being a great communication channel, SMS messaging is also an effective method for generating action. Text message ROI is 5x higher than social and digital ads (2021 M+R Benchmark Report). Whether you use SMS or MMS messages, always tell your subscribers why you’re texting them and how they can support your nonprofit organization in every message.
The best CTAs are the ones created around your campaign’s key functions, such as call to give, attend an event, or volunteer. Nonprofit fundraising campaigns are generally time-sensitive. That’s why it’s essential to create a sense of urgency in the text messages you send and inform those you are trying to reach about important fundraising deadlines to achieve your goals.
In the example above, the organization March of Dimes sent a clear, time-sensitive text message to generate action, inviting their supporters to “give to right now” to have three times the impact of their donation.
Keep Your Text Messages Simple and Eye-Catching
Tatango has the ability to send both MMS and SMS messages.
With MMS messaging you can include eye-catching content like images, GIFs, and videos to create more engaging and attractive messages that can have a more significant impact on your small donors.
Traditional SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, so it’s imperative that you keep your message simple. Subscribers like to receive short, easy-to-digest text messages. Text messaging, when done legally, is a direct, spam-free channel to your audience. Most people only spend a few seconds opening and reading text messages. To achieve quick responses, your goal should be to send skimmable SMS messages.
Tatango’s message preview can help you adjust your message before sending bulk texts so you can deliver a compelling and concise message within the character length.
Messages and visuals that highlight an urgent problem donors can solve creates emotion and drives action, which will increase your nonprofit SMS donations. According to a study conducted by Deborah Small, a Wharton School of Business marketing professor, when an organization wants to raise money for a charitable cause, appealing to the heart instead of the head will drive more donations.
The image above is a Humane Society of America fundraising message that describes an urgent problem donors can solve. A timely text message like this with compelling visuals and a problem to solve can help increase the conversion rate and average gift amount.
Keep It Personal
Personalized text messages boost click-through rates and engagement and help you gain donors’ attention efficiently and conveniently. It’s important for donors to feel a personal connection with the causes they love and support. With Tatango’s merge tags, you can incorporate your supporters’ names, last gift amount and more into your text messages. Make supporters feel special and important by sharing exclusive and important updates with them.
In the example above, the Conservation International organization uses merge tags to personalize text messages, gain their subscribers’ attention, and generate action.
Examples of Nonprofits Fundraising Via SMS
Below, we share some examples of how nonprofits use text message marketing for fundraising.
The Humane Society of America, founded in 1954, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending suffering for all animals. The organization’s text message subscribers receive news, invitations to special events, fundraising messages, and information on how they can help protect animals. As the example above shows, the organization sent a short, time-sensitive text message to their subscribers inviting them to activate their membership through a direct link. The thermometer in this message adds urgency and Tatango customers can send text messages with animated thermometers for goal-focused campaigns.
Conservation International is an American environmental nonprofit organization that works to spotlight and secure the critical benefits to humanity that nature provides, such as fresh water, food, and a stable climate. Conservation International’s text marketing campaign participates in #GivingTuesday and includes updates on its efforts, captivating images, and problems donors can solve. These types of messages help Conservation International fundraise by keeping their supporters informed and showing them ways to take action each week.
Let’s Raise Nonprofit SMS Donations Together!
We’d love to talk to you about how the Tatango platform can help your nonprofit organization communicate with those who stand with your mission and support all the hard work your team is doing. Chat with an SMS marketing expert today.