Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, enabling you to make a tangible difference for those you serve and spread awareness for your cause. And text message marketing is the secret weapon of the most effective, rapidly-growing nonprofit organizations.
Why is that? While most marketing channels struggle to get visibility and opens—email marketing stalls out at around 20% open rates and social media posts suffer from 5% visibility—text message marketing still sees 99% open rates. What’s more, 90% of text messages are opened within just three minutes of receipt.
However, it’s not enough to only set up a text messaging program. Your true mission is to raise record-breaking donations through it. And that’s something we can help with—our clients regularly see returns of $5 in donations for every $1 invested in text message marketing. In this blog, learn how to grow your donor base through SMS marketing… so you’re well past the basics, and know enough to be dangerous (in the best, world-changing way).
5 Ways Nonprofit Organizations Can Grow a Donor Base
Below are five strategies to increase donors (and donations).
1. Integrate an SMS Number With Your Website
The first and most important step is to integrate your SMS phone number with your website. You have two options when it comes to SMS numbers: a short code (a 5- to 6-digit phone number) or a long code (a 10-digit phone number). Tatango can help you choose which one is right for your organization based on your goals. The good news is, you can integrate either one in minutes by adding a simple line of code to your website.
From then on, whenever someone fills out a web form that includes their phone number, that person is automatically synced with your text messaging program. You can then message them important updates from your organization and share ways subscribers can donate. Most people are looking for ways to get involved, but feel overwhelmed knowing where to donate, so by giving your subscribers specific ways to make a difference, you can grow your donors and your organization.
2. Promote Your SMS Number on Brand Materials
Another option that many nonprofits find effective is promoting their SMS phone number on their brand materials, such as flyers, event signage, sign-up sheets, banners, and more. Tatango can help you set up a few keywords so subscribers can easily text in to your SMS phone number. You can track which keywords they signed up from.
For example, you could have subscribers text SEAS to your phone number at an annual ocean conservation gala, or text CLEAN to 222-222 at a local marina clean-up. Not only is this good branding for your organization, but you can measure which campaigns were most effective, and how you can incorporate those insights into future campaigns.
3. Offer Incentives for People to Opt In
One thing that many nonprofit organizations miss is adding incentives for people to opt in to your SMS messaging campaigns. People are busy, and even if 78% of people say text messaging is the fastest way to reach them, people are much more likely to sign up for something if they see an added benefit for themselves.
You could offer an opt-in incentive such as behind-the-scenes photos, coupons for merchandise, a personalized message from a well-known celebrity supporter, a signed t-shirt, or exclusive updates that you only send to SMS subscribers.
When promoting your opt-in incentive, put the incentive first. For example, you could promote on signage, “Receive $10 OFF a t-shirt when you text PUPPIES to 222-222.” The incentive ($10 off a t-shirt) is the first thing people read in that sentence, so they are more likely to 1) keep reading, and 2) take action.
Without offering opt-in incentives, you could miss out on people who would love to join your SMS program. By promoting a reason to sign up for mobile alerts, you grow your subscriber list, and therefore your pool of donors.
4. Acquire Email Addresses via Your Text Program
Not only can you use text messaging to solicit donations via SMS, but you can also use text messaging to grow your email list (and the donors who come through it).
Whenever someone signs up for your SMS list, as part of your onboarding, ask them to reply with their email address. From then on, you can send emails about your organization’s progress, request donations, solicit event attendees, and more. Some people will be more inclined to donate via SMS and others via email, so by using your SMS program to grow BOTH channels, you double the chances for donations.
5. Segment Messages Based on Donor Interest
One final way to grow your donor base (although there are many others and we would be happy to talk with you about them further) is to segment your text messages based on donor interest, city, state, zip code, previous donation history, and more. Tatango nonprofit text messaging software enables you to segment messages in a multitude of ways, so you can increase the relevance of messages, and therefore incoming donations.
Consider your own consumer habits. It’s one thing to receive a mass message, but it’s another to receive a message addressing you personally, and asking if you can help your hometown. We’ve found that segmenting text messages vastly increases the likelihood of donations. Fortunately, segmenting messages (and even A/B testing) is extremely easy to do with Tatango software.
Your Secret Weapon: SMS Marketing
Ready to wield your secret weapon for good? Contact the nonprofit SMS messaging experts at Tatango. With more than 14 years helping the world’s top nonprofit organizations raise more donations through SMS messaging, we’re here to help—because the more donations you earn, the more good you can do, and that’s a mission we can ALL get behind.