New donors! New money! Higher open rates! These are only a few benefits of using SMS text message marketing to drive fundraising for your nonprofit. And the results are impressive. Tatango clients regularly report an ROI of 500% on their SMS text-to-give programs. Clients receive $5, on average, for every dollar they invest in SMS fundraising.
In this blog post, learn about the top five benefits of nonprofit SMS marketing—including how text-to-give campaigns might be your most effective new strategy when it comes to nonprofit fundraising.
What Is SMS Fundraising?
Short messaging service (SMS) is the original technology that cell phones use for sending and receiving text messages. Mass text messages via SMS are limited to 160 characters per message, and those messages can include links but no graphic images or videos.
Whereas, multimedia message service (MMS) can include images, audio, and video, and the messages have a limit of 5,000 characters.
Consumer brands, political campaigns, and nonprofit organizations can benefit from both SMS and MMS messages, raising donations through text-to-give campaigns
Benefits of Text-to-Give for Nonprofit Organizations
Why is text-to-give so effective? First and foremost, potential donors receive SMS text-to-give messaging on their cell phones, and cell phones are ubiquitous around the world. According to Pew Research Center, about 98% of people in the United States own a cell phone, and 85% of those phones are smartphones capable of accessing the internet. Cell phone ownership among adults 18 to 30 years old and 31 to 49 years old is statistically at 100%. According to TechRepublic, two-thirds of Americans sleep with their cell phone nearby. Most cell phone owners are seldom more than arm’s reach from their device.
In 2021, nonprofit donations increased by 4%, while mobile giving donations increased by 12.1%. That means mobile giving ran at a pace of 300% over nonprofit giving in general. The average SMS text-to-give donation is $107 and takes about 90 seconds to complete.
SMS text-to-give messaging also offers benefits you don’t see with other fundraising vehicles. The following are the five most significant benefits of SMS text-to-give for nonprofits.
1. Reach Donors You Might Not Ordinarily Reach
Your donors and supporters have preferred ways of interacting with you: attending your events, visiting your website, buying merchandise from your online store. With SMS text-to-give, you send text messages to thousands of people who may have never donated to you before, and may not even be aware of your nonprofit.
More than 51% of those who donate money to nonprofits in the U.S. don’t have a landline. Mobile is their main form of communication, so these are people you have not reached in regular phone campaigns. SMS text-to-give campaigns open up an entirely new area of donors.
The Oregon Humane Society added SMS text-to-give to their annual fundraiser in 2018. In their first year using text-to-give, they saw a 180% increase in participants. Those were all new participants who hadn’t been reached through any other marketing means. SMS is now a regular part of the organization’s campaign.
2. Bring in New Money
New donors mean your organization is getting money it didn’t have before. These donations represent growth in your budget, which is important, considering that nonprofits lose 47% of their donors each year (a standard number across the nonprofit world). Year after year, you’ve recouped that number with your traditional outreach. SMS text-to-give messaging helps recruit new donors to enlarge your piece of the funding pie.
Remember, nonprofit donations increased last year by 4% overall. SMS text-to-give campaigns increased at a rate of 12.1%. The growth of nonprofit SMS text-to-give campaigns is phenomenal. In 2020, the total dollars donated increased 15%, and a year later, in 2021, it was up to 23%.
3. Ensure More People See Your Message
SMS text-to-give messaging has a higher open rate, which means your message is more likely to be read. The open rate for email is only about 20%. In contrast, text messages have a 99% open rate, and 90% of those messages get read within three minutes of being received.
As for direct mail? We all know most of it piles up unread or goes straight into the trash can.
People want to be reached by text message. In 2020 a survey revealed that 78% of adults prefer text messaging over other communication methods. That number was up from 19% four years earlier.
4. Assemble Campaigns Quickly
If your nonprofit responds to natural disasters, then you know you can’t predict an earthquake, tornado, or tsunami. When they happen, you need to act quickly. Ramping up a schedule of text messages and a website landing page takes a few hours. Once it’s all set up, you’re ready to collect donations to help fund the efforts.
The American Red Cross quickly assembled a successful SMS campaign focusing on relief after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010. More than 3 million people were killed, injured, or displaced. The campaign was promoted heavily by the U.S. State Department and mainstream media. Using the keyword HAITI and asking for a $10 contribution, the Red Cross collected $32 million.
Public service announcements promoting the SMS campaign aired on Fox, CBS, and national radio broadcasts of NFL playoff games on January 16 and 17, less than a week after the earthquake. According to the Red Cross, text-message donations reached $500,000 an hour during the games.
5. Easily Change Things Up and Experiment
Because everything is digital, you can easily alter message wording, adjust your call to action, measure your results, and iterate quickly. Watch how the changes affect the campaign’s click-through or conversion rate. According to NonprofitsSource.com, steering your donor to custom-branded donation pages on your nonprofit’s website help raise six times as much money on average. Pay attention to the details to make substantial improvements in the performance of your text-to-give fundraising campaign.
Reap the Benefits of Nonprofit SMS Fundraising
The best way to realize the benefits of an SMS text-to-give fundraising campaign is to partner with an experienced SMS provider. Tatango has been providing SMS text messaging services since 2006, and in that time, we’ve helped marketers of all types send more than 10 billion messages. Contact us today to raise more donations with SMS fundraising.