SMS Marketing Misc.

Engage, Inspire, Fundraise: The Key Elements of Effective Texting for Public Media Stations

In today’s digital landscape, effective communication is key to fostering strong relationships with your audience. For public media stations reaching your audience in a meaningful way is crucial for maintaining support and driving donations. While many stations have attempted to utilize text-to-give campaigns (also known as SMS fundraising or text message marketing), they often see limited success. At Tatango, we believe that texting can revolutionize how public media engages with its audience—not just for fundraising, but for comprehensive engagement and stewardship.

Here’s how:

1. Engagement: Building a Connection Beyond the Ask

One of the biggest mistakes public media stations make is only reaching out to their audience when they need funds. This leads to donor fatigue and missed opportunities for relationship-building, stewardship, and cultivation. Texting offers a unique opportunity to build an ongoing dialogue with your audience, keeping them engaged and connected to your mission. When used as part of a holistic omnichannel strategy, texting can raise donations from other fundraising channels, some as much as a 47% increase!

Personalized Updates: Your audience wants to hear from you! Keep them informed about upcoming shows, daily show schedules, behind-the-scenes content, and exclusive previews or interviews. By sending personalized updates, you can create a sense of involvement and anticipation.

Interactive Content: Texting shouldn’t only be used for donation asks.  Public television nonprofits can use texting to conduct polls, surveys, and trivia related to your programming. This not only keeps your audience engaged but also provides valuable feedback to tailor your content.

Event Invitations: Notify your audience about special events, webinars, and live shows. Encourage them to participate and feel a part of the public media community. Related to fundraising, your nonprofit could also send information about trip incentives or other events during fundraising appeals.

2. Stewardship: Cultivating Donor Relationships

Stewardship is about nurturing the relationship with your donors beyond their initial gift. Texting provides a direct and personal way to show appreciation and keep donors informed about the impact of their contributions.

Thank You Messages: Send personalized thank-you texts immediately after receiving a donation. A simple, heartfelt message can go a long way in making donors feel valued.

Impact Stories: Share stories of how donations are making a difference. Whether it’s funding new programming or supporting educational initiatives, keeping donors in the loop fosters a sense of connection and fulfillment.

Exclusive Content: Offer donors exclusive content or early access to new shows as a token of appreciation. For example, a station like American Public Media could offer an exclusive session of one of their shows, such as Don’t Ask Tig or The Splendid Table, to text subscribers. This makes subscribers feel special. Additionally, one-time donors are more likely to continue their support and regular donors could increase their donation amount.

3. Fundraising: Beyond the One-Time Ask

While fundraising remains a primary goal, it’s important to integrate it seamlessly into your overall communication and fundraising strategy. When used thoughtfully and as part of an omnichannel strategy, texting can enhance your fundraising efforts

Recurring Donations: Encourage donors to set up recurring donations through simple, automated text reminders. This ensures a steady stream of support without the need for constant fundraising campaigns. Additionally, sending easy reminders about credit or debit card expiration information can be done effectively with automated messages.

Campaign Updates: Keep donors informed about the progress of fundraising campaigns. Sharing milestones and successes keeps the momentum going and encourages continued contributions.

Special Appeals: Use texting for special fundraising appeals during critical times, such as end-of-year drives or emergency funding needs. A well-timed, personalized text can significantly boost response rates.


For public media stations leveraging texting for engagement, stewardship, and fundraising can transform how you connect with your audience. At Tatango, we specialize in helping nonprofits and public media organizations harness the power of texting to build stronger relationships and increase donations. By integrating texting into your communication and fundraising strategy, you can engage your audience in a meaningful way, nurture lasting donor relationships, and achieve your fundraising goals more effectively.

Ready to unlock the full potential of texting for your public media station? Contact Tatango today and let’s get started on transforming your fundraising strategy.

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