Organizations and advocacy groups made up of like-minded individuals, such as political action committees (PACs), need an effective way to communicate with their supporters.
Although email used to be the most common communication method, people are busy and often don’t check and open emails—and many emails from organizations end up unseen in junk folders or promotions tabs. SMS marketing, on the other hand, boasts 99% open rates and most messages are read within just 3 minutes. Keep reading to learn the unique benefits of SMS marketing for PACs—plus the SMS fundraising strategies that successful PACs use to gather funds and help their candidates secure a victory.
What are PACs?
PACs originated in 1943 when the Congress of Industrial Organizations formed a PAC to donate money in support of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s reelection. The PAC was a response to congressional legislation prohibiting unions from contributing to candidates’ coffers.
A series of campaign reform laws in the 1970s opened the door for corporations, trade associations, and other entities to form PACs. Today, more than 4,600 PACs donate to political campaigns and causes at the local, state, and federal levels. Individual politicians also form PACs to support other politicians in their party.
There are PACs for nonprofits, health organizations, and just about every type of special interest group. In addition to PACs, there are SuperPACs, known as “independent expenditure-only political action committees.” SuperPACs can make unlimited political expenditures independently of campaigns (for example, paying for ads). However, they’re prohibited from coordinating with or making contributions to candidates or campaigns.
Benefits of Text Messaging Fundraising for PACs
Political text messaging has changed the elections landscape. PACs and SuperPACs have taken notice of the dramatic increase in small-dollar donations (donations of $200 or less) to political campaigns, and realized they could get donations in much the same way. Of Donald Trump’s $773,954,550 in donations, 49% came from small-dollar donors, and 38% of Joe Biden’s campaign donations (more than $400 million) were small-dollar donations.
Before text messaging, that kind of money was hard to get. Campaigns had to use events, billboards, yard signs, TV, or radio ads to motivate supporters to donate and then hoped to hold the donor’s attention long enough for them to write a check, address an envelope, find a stamp, and drop it off at a mailbox or post office.
With SMS text messaging, donations are now just a click away on supporters’ mobile phones—donating is immediate and requires minimal effort. Below are the most unique advantages of SMS messaging for PACs.
The challenge for politicians is that their campaigns have to make their text messaging timely. People are more likely to donate when they’re inspired by a cause, new legislation, or an election deadline. Many causes PACs support are ongoing, not limited to the election of specific politicians. They also support the advancement of new laws and legislation. Text messaging gives PACs a way to message supporters when a cause they care about is making moves and they need to rally donations.
The Tatango platform can send up to six million messages per hour. These are the fastest messaging speeds in the industry, built for the highest volumes to handle your list with ease.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), enacted by Congress in 1991, governs text messaging and requires that people opt in to your list before you can text message them. For more information, download our introductory guide to the TCPA.
The good news for many PACs is that they may already have substantial lists of supporters. Converting these supporters to opt-ins for their SMS marketing is much easier because these followers want to hear about the latest developments regarding causes they care about. Passion translates to opt-ins, which translates to more support and donations.
PACs and SuperPACs don’t have to wait for the election cycle to fundraise with SMS messaging. They can fundraise off of legislation they deem either a threat or a disadvantage to their cause. They also look at how current events affect their cause. People donate year round to causes they feel passionate about.
Message recipients tend to react immediately because the messages arrive in the text message app on their mobile phones. Donating in response to a text message can take just a few seconds. Candidates using Tatango for their political text messaging typically get a 500% ROI on their text message fundraising efforts.
Text Messaging Engagement Rates
SMS messaging gets a response when other marketing channels do not—99% of text messages are opened, and 90% of those messages are opened within three minutes. That kind of immediacy and response is hard to beat, especially when social media algorithms barely show posts to 5% of your followers, and political emails are lucky to get a 20% open rate.
Segmentation and Personalization
Segmentation allows you to tailor your message to a specific audience. For instance, your PAC may be fundraising to launch an opposition campaign to state legislation that would be harmful to your cause. Your message to residents of that state would be more personal since they’ll be directly affected. However, your entire national database may also be interested since state legislation is where trends often begin. With segmentation, you can address out-of-state supporters with a different message emphasizing that while this legislation in another state doesn’t affect them personally, it could in the near future.
Tatango enables you to segment subscribers based on demographic data such as zip code, state, and city. You can gather this information on your sign-up form or through an automated series of welcome messages asking your subscribers for input. You can also track donor history to tailor fundraising messages.
Mobilizing Subscribers to Vote
Getting out the vote (GOTV) is a key role of political action committees in the final days of any election cycle. PACs can send out campaigns encouraging voters to cast their ballots for politicians who support their cause. In the 2020 presidential campaign, six out of 10 messages sent were GOTV messages.
PACs can send messages to inform people about their polling place and how to cast an absentee ballot or invite them to donate to support your mission. PACs can also pinpoint hot-button issues and send voters customized messages about the topics they care about most. When sending GOTV messages, be direct with your CTAs—ask supporters to donate, volunteer, or attend a PAC event. Use phrases like “Donate now” or “Register to vote.”
SMS Marketing Strategies for PACs
The PACs that raise the most money through SMS messaging are ultra-strategic about their messaging campaigns. Below are a few ways these PACs get ahead of other organizations to raise more money and forward their mission fastest.
Fundraising Software Integrations
PACs have a political fundraising advantage because members are like-minded individuals who already support the PAC’s cause and may have even donated in the past. SMS marketing provides a more efficient way to communicate with PAC supporters because text messaging is free from spam filters and folders that are common with email marketing and text messaging isn’t subject to censorship common on social media.
SMS messaging is also a cost-effective way to fundraise. Fundraising software integrations within an SMS marketing platform make donations easy and efficient for both PACs and their supporters. The Tatango SMS marketing solution integrates with all political SMS fundraising software and CRMs.
Tatango’s political clients see an average ROI of $5 for every $1 spent on SMS marketing. This impressive ROI is partly due to Tatango’s ability to integrate with other solutions to simplify and streamline the donation process.
The most successful PACs fundraising through SMS marketing and focus heavily on growing their subscriber list. One reason SMS marketing is so effective and yields such high results is that consumers trust it thanks to heavy regulation.
The term “heavy regulation” may turn off some PACs when, on the contrary, regulation works to their benefit. The CTIA (formerly known as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) ensure that organizations don’t contact people who don’t want to receive their messages and that organizations tell recipients how to opt out of receiving messages.
As referenced above, the TCPA ensures that every individual receiving a mass text message has consented to receive that SMS message. Failure to prove consent can result in costly fines of up to $1,500 per message. For example, if a PAC has 10,000 members and has access to their phone numbers but doesn’t have a record of consent to send them text messages, then legally, they can’t text them to solicit donations. Fortunately, in today’s industry it’s not cumbersome to gain consent, and PACs can easily do so through checkboxes and other forms on their website.
American consumers are constantly bombarded by information and ads, so it’s crucial to stay on top of communication to ensure your members don’t forget about your cause.
The goal is to fundraise and increase donation dollars, but PACs must share more information with their subscribers besides soliciting money. Successful PACs focus on the purpose of the donations and the cause the donations will ultimately serve. For example, you can tell subscribers in your text messages how donations will make a difference, which initiatives you are working toward, and what progress has been made with previous donations. This makes supporters more likely to contribute—now and in the future—because they know their dollars are making a difference.
Data and Insights
A successful PAC uses data and insights provided by its SMS marketing software to ensure recipients are connecting with the PAC’s messages. The Tatango SMS marketing platform allows PACs to examine data based on the messages they send to ensure the subject, wording, and media content resonate with their audience.
Additionally, Tatango gives PACs the tools to analyze subscribers and ensure they’re creating custom campaigns that will hit home with that specific audience. Also, data provides insights and gives PACs the ability to create multiple audiences to ensure the content is tailored to the right group of individuals.
A successful PAC fundraising strategy prioritizes consistent examination of the data and insights available from the SMS marketing software. Regularly reviewing data will help your PAC maximize your fundraising ROI.
Your PAC Text Messaging Platform
Tatango has been partnering with PACs, SuperPACs, political candidates, and organizations for over 14 years. The Tatango SMS marketing platform has helped our political clients see an ROI of $5 in donations for every $1 they invest in SMS marketing.
Our software focuses on compliance, safety, reliability, and efficiency to ensure that your SMS marketing campaign runs smoothly and efficiently with no interruptions. Although the Tatango SMS software is a state-of-the-art solution, it’s extremely easy to use and requires no software knowledge or experience. Tatango focuses on the technology so you can focus on the messaging strategy and execution.
Selecting a text messaging partner is a big decision, and there’s a lot to learn. If you feel overwhelmed, Tatango can help. Check out our free ebooks, videos, and other free resources to help you get up to speed on everything you need to know about political text messaging. If you’re ready, call Tatango and start working with our team of political text messaging experts today.