Fundraising is about more than sharing stats and accepting donations. Nurturing connections with supporters is vital when fundraising for a political campaign or nonprofit organization. People give to causes they care about. With so many voices vying for potential donors’ attention and emotional investment, it’s easy to feel discouraged or intimidated. The good news is that people continue to give, and donations and fundraising are rising. In fact, online giving grew by over 12% last year.
The best way to boost your fundraising is by reaching people directly. Provide compelling context for your cause, connect with your supporters’ values, and be transparent and open by sharing thorough updates and clear goals. As you start a fundraising campaign (or revamp an existing one), start by choosing your core communication channel.
While emails can still play a role in your fundraising campaign, their open rate is only about 20%. Billboards, yard signs, and online banner ads are expensive. Moreover, many people tune out these options automatically, and your message will fail to reach them altogether.
When considering reach and other essential factors such as customization, affordability, and speed, your fundraising campaign should center around one key channel: text message marketing. Keep reading to learn more about how SMS fundraising works, how to send effective texts, and raise donations quickly.
How SMS Marketing Works
Text message marketing starts with your subscriber list. Integrate your SMS fundraising list into your website, promote it via other marketing channels like banners and social media, and encourage all your supporters to join. They can opt in for future messages by sending a simple text. SMS messaging is a fast and powerful communication tool that will help you smash fundraising goals and stay in close contact with your base.
Compared to email marketing, SMS messages are opened more than 99% of the time, usually within three minutes of being received. For most people, text messaging is a fast and direct communication method—especially compared to email or printed flyers and signs. With an SMS fundraising campaign, you can send donation links, progress updates, thank-you messages, volunteer opportunities, and so much more. Your messages will land in your subscribers’ text messaging apps, bypassing common pitfalls of email and direct mail such as the spam folder or the pile of junk mail. You’ll raise donations faster and keep supporters engaged.
6 Steps for Sending Effective Fundraising Texts
Setting up a text messaging fundraising campaign can feel intimidating. How should you organize your subscribers? Can you stay on top of deadlines and follow-up messages? Rest assured that following these six steps for sending out text messages will bring in more donations than ever before.
1. Partner with SMS Fundraising Experts
You don’t need to set up your text message fundraising campaign from scratch. When you partner with a platform like Tatango, you’ll learn from experts and gain access to powerful design software. Tatango has led the SMS marketing industry for almost 15 years, building advanced tools to match your needs.
Tatango can help you navigate the whole process, from regulations to message design and layout to payment integrations. With Tatango on your side, you can raise funds and ensure your supporters instantly see your messages.
2. Grow Your Subscriber List
The subscriber list is at the heart of any SMS marketing campaign. Grow your list by encouraging all current donors and supporters to opt in. Promote your SMS message list through all your other communication channels and integrate it with your website’s contact form using Tatango’s tools.
Segmenting your list will also help maximize effectiveness. Include questions on your website contact form so supporters can provide information such as their time zone, zip code, areas of interest, and birthday. In addition to collecting key details about your subscribers, your SMS campaign can also use keywords. These are single words or short phrases tied to specific events, causes, and fundraising drives. Tatango can segment subscribers using these keywords to break down your larger support base into targeted subcategories.
Keywords provide flexibility for different situations. For example, the keyword FOREST would work well for a new initiative about reforestation. Subscribers can demonstrate their interest about in-person opportunities by texting the keyword VOLUNTEER. It’s a fun and flexible way to learn more about your supporters and optimize the fundraising process.
3. Encourage Supporters to Donate Now
All nonprofit fundraising drives and political races have something in common: urgent deadlines. The deadline for a vital fundraising goal is creeping up on you. Voting day is fast approaching. Keeping your subscribers updated can make all the difference in these time-sensitive situations.
Tatango can handle subscriber lists of any size, sending hundreds of thousands of text messages in seconds. In both the political and nonprofit worlds, seizing on a moment is crucial. When a news story is fresh in people’s minds or a big event is coming up, delayed communication can be detrimental. You’ll need to be able to reach people right away and encourage immediate engagement.
Keep your language clear and urgent to ensure subscribers immediately understand what steps to take next. Are you asking them to donate or attend a fundraiser? Where can they learn more? Your texts should always call them to action, providing answers to their questions and links for additional context. Taking out the guesswork will make all the difference when every second matters.
4. Choose SMS or MMS Messages
As your subscriber list grows, vary your messages. A conversation that looks like a wall of single sentences (or paragraphs of text) will be off-putting for supporters.
SMS messages support up to 160 characters of plain text. They’re perfect for brief reminders or donation links, but the limited character count makes it harder to capture someone’s attention and provide more detailed updates. In those instances, MMS (Multimedia-Messaging Service) texts are more effective.
MMS messages can handle up to 5,000 characters plus embedded GIFs, images, videos, audio clips, and other media. Powerful images, fun GIFs, and interview clips help make your texts more engaging for subscribers and improve your fundraising results.
5. Integrate with Donation Platforms
With Tatango, it’s easy to integrate directly with fundraising platforms like ActBlue and WinRed. Supporters can securely donate in a few steps, making it easy to send single or recurring donations. You’ll likely lose people if your donation form or requirements are complicated. Capture the moment and encourage donations by simplifying the process and ensuring it’s safe and fast.
6. Follow Up and Maintain Momentum
After building your subscriber list and bringing in donations, work to ensure you don’t lose steam. Nonprofits and campaigns benefit from recurring donations and long-term engagement. Be sure to send thank-you messages to donors, remind them of your mission and give them the to provide ongoing support. Using merge tags, Tatango can insert their first name in the text to make the message feel more personal.
Updates not only help subscribers feel valued and important, but they also help you maintain momentum. Use MMS texts to share images, interviews, and graphs in eye-catching ways, so supporters feel more connected to your real-world results.
Follow-up messages are also great for promoting in-person events and chances to volunteer. Add those details in your thank-you notes so donors know about all the other ways they can support your mission or campaign.
Stay on Track for Best Results
Text messages help you actively partner with your supporters, keeping them informed and involved in your fundraising efforts. Plus, you’ll save money by avoiding low-engagement options.
Consolidate your support under one core communication channel so you and your team can focus on raising donations and getting concrete results. Work with Tatango, and you can expect an impressive return on your marketing investment—the average ROI for our clients is 500%.
If you’ve been wondering how to start fundraising with SMS, connect with a Tatango text message marketing expert today!