Fundraising is essential to running a successful political campaign. Studies show that the final two candidates in a political race are likely the ones who’ve raised the most money for their campaigns. Top politicians are using SMS marketing as a strategy to stay engaged with their constituents, keep up with the costs of campaigning, and beat the competition.
Tatango’s platform has supported winning campaigns from various parties in federal, state, and local elections. On average, our clients see $5 returned in donations for every $1 they invest in text message marketing. Additionally, nearly 80% of consumers say text messages are the fastest way to reach them. Campaigns that use Tatango’s software can enable subscribers to donate in a single step. This blog post breaks down the benefits of SMS marketing for fundraising at each political campaign level in the U.S.
SMS Marketing for Political Campaigns
SMS marketing enables political campaigns to build grassroots support, spread the word to donors, raise funds, and win elections. Texting is not only the most preferred method of communicating with supporters; it’s also the fastest way to ensure supporters receive and read your messages. A full 90% of all text messages are read within the first three minutes of being received. Regardless of whether you’re running a federal, state, or local campaign, below are some ways to get a higher ROI out of your text marketing.
Political SMS Best Practices
No matter at what level of government a political candidate is running, campaigns should keep a few key things in mind to ensure their fundraising text messages are effective.
For example, including the subscriber’s name in text messages will grab their attention and help them feel personally connected to the campaign. A clear call to action helps convey urgency in each message. Stating the exact donation amount and providing a clickable link will make it more likely they’ll donate immediately. Campaigns should also take advantage of MMS messages, which allow for more creativity with GIFs, images, and videos and can include up to 5,000 characters.
Partnering with Tatango for your SMS marketing needs simplifies fundraising and helps ensure your expertly crafted messages don’t end up in junk or spam folders. Our team of experts has more than 14 years of experience assisting top political candidates with the ins and outs of SMS marketing and fundraising. Our platform is specifically designed for political campaigns and advocacy organizations, built to handle the highest volumes, fastest messaging speeds, and strongest security in the industry.
Let’s talk about a few more ways you can raise more donations at all political campaign levels before breaking down specifics across federal, state, and local campaigns.
Political SMS Personalization and Segmentation
Not only can candidates update supporters in real time with SMS messages, but they can also personalize those messages to strengthen the supporters’ sense of connection to the campaign. When subscribers opt in to receive communication from your political campaign, consider how you might want to segment your subscriber list when asking them for additional information. Ask for their name, location, zip code, and other key information to create a user profile for each supporter. With these details, your campaign can contact subscribers based on their location and other specific information in their donor profile.
With Tatango’s platform, campaigns can use merge tags to create direct, personalized text messages addressing supporters by their first name. For example, using merge tags, campaigns can send personalized thank-you messages to individual donors based on location, donation amount, and any other demographic it wants to target. Our segmentation tools help ensure messages reach the right supporters at the right time.
Political SMS Fundraising Integrations
Ensuring that subscribers can donate directly via text message helps them avoid complicated web sign-up forms or portals that could cause them to abandon the donation process altogether.
Tatango’s political SMS software integrates with all political fundraising tools so that your subscribers can donate directly from your text messages. When someone donates to your campaign, they are synced with Tatango’s software to receive additional opportunities to contribute to your campaign.
Additionally, you can create workflows so that subscribers receive automated text messages based on their previous actions or donations.
Political SMS Compliance
Word to the wise: mobile supporters must give their consent to receive text messages from a campaign. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from unsolicited communication, including text messages. Organizations that fail to comply with TCPA regulations can receive fines of up to $1,500 per text message. Noncompliant messages can drain a campaign’s funds and ultimately end a politician’s bid for office.
Stay in the know with Tatango’s free TCPA Text Messaging Survival Guide. Our experts have been navigating this space for more than 14 years, so we’re here to help your campaigns remain compliant and litigation-free.
SMS Fundraising for Federal Elections
While the strategies above apply to campaigns of all levels, below are a few interesting things to note from recent federal elections specifically.
For nearly a decade, federal campaigns like the presidential elections have benefited from text message marketing for fundraising. In 2012, the Obama and Romney campaigns used SMS messaging to increase engagement and donations. Using their smartphones, individual donors could support their pick by texting their chosen candidates’ short codes to donate via text message.
Fast-forward to the 2020 presidential election. Republicans and Democrats combined sent more than 5 billion text messages in October 2020 alone. Most text messages from political organizations were directly related to donations. Both presidential candidates’ SMS campaigns personalized their messages to supporters and created a sense of urgency by including a call to action for donations. In addition, many presidential candidates capitalized on MMS messaging, which is the use of GIFs, videos, audio files, bold and italic text, and longer character counts, compared to standard 160-character plain text SMS messages.
SMS Fundraising for State Elections
SMS fundraising also helps candidates raise funds for pressing issues across state lines. And these individual contributions add up. For example, Democratic and left-leaning candidates raised a total of $1.5 billion through the political fundraising platform ActBlue, whereas WinRed brought in $623.5 million in grassroots donations during its first year alone.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised $18,900,658 in small-dollar donations for her 2020 re-election campaign, or 78.16% of her total donations. Across the aisle, Representative Jim Jordan raised $12,122,206 in small-dollar donations, or 66.19% of his total campaign contributions. Tatango integrates with all major political fundraising tools to help candidates earn thousands in small-dollar donations through every text message.
SMS Fundraising for Local Elections
Local political campaigns often rely on grassroots fundraising. Constituents want to feel a personal connection to local candidates. Knocking on doors and hosting local events are great ways to build contact lists. Consider adding SMS opt-in conversations and promotional materials to your supporter solicitation toolkit.
Once supporters opt in to receive communication from your campaign, you can promote your candidate with text messaging, just like state and federal campaigns. Attract new donors and keep repeat donors updated on the campaign’s latest financial goals. Send personalized thank-you messages to segmented donor lists in specific zip codes. Remind constituents to vote by providing voter registration links, ballot box locations, and voting deadline reminders.
Partner with Tatango for Successful Political SMS Fundraising
Tatango has helped political and nonprofit campaigns raise more than $400 million in donations since 2007. We’ve helped political campaigns send SMS messages to more than 50 million Americans. Tatango’s software can send more than 6 million political text messages per hour. With our integration partners, you can collect phone numbers from supporters from almost any software, no coding required. Those figures make us the number one political SMS marketing software in America. If you want to learn more about the exclusive benefits of partnering with Tatango, contact us today.