If you want to raise more donations for your political campaign or nonprofit organization, you already know text message marketing is the most effective way to break fundraising records and win your next election. But do you know which type of SMS number is right for your organization?
At Tatango, we’ve been in the SMS industry for more than 14 years, powering text campaigns for the nation’s top nonprofit groups and politicians so they can raise more donations and make a more significant impact. Our clients regularly see at least a return of five dollars in donations for every dollar they invest in text messaging.
However, what works for one group or campaign may not be suitable for another. In this blog, you’ll learn about the two main types of SMS fundraising phone numbers: short codes and 10DLCs. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each one and highlight some nuances to be aware of when choosing the one that’s best for your campaign.
10DLC vs. Short Codes
There are two main types of phone numbers for text message marketing: 10-digit long codes (often referred to as 10DLC) and short codes.
10DLC are 10-digit phone numbers, such as 1-234-567-8901. They’re similar to the phone numbers we use to text with friends and family. Because 10DLC look like standard phone numbers, messages received from a 10DLC can make a supporter feel like a politician is texting with them directly, which can increase the supporter’s donations, engagement, shares, and support.
Short codes are 5- or 6-digit phone numbers, such as 22222 or 222-333. Historically, short codes were the only type of number political organizations could use for mass text messaging. Short codes were tightly regulated by the Short Code Registry, the entity that approves the use of phone numbers for SMS marketing. Recently the industry evolved, opening up the use of short codes and 10DLC to political organizations.
So, how can you determine whether a short code or a 10DLC is right for your organization?
Pros and Cons of 10DLC
The following are a few pros and cons of 10DLC compared to short codes.
Advantages of 10DLC
One advantage of 10DLC over short codes is their faster setup. Short codes can take four to six weeks to move through the approval process with the Short Code Registry. In contrast, 10DLC setup takes just a few days. Political races move quickly, and 10DLC can keep up with the pace. If your organization wants to start texting to break your next fundraising record or do a last-minute voter outreach, this may be a great option.
Another benefit of 10DLC is they can feel more personal. People are used to texting friends and family on 10DLC, so when they receive a text message from a favorite political candidate on a similar number, it can feel like they’re hearing from the candidate directly. This personalization can boost donations, voter turnout, and awareness for your campaign.
10DLC also have similar functionality to short codes. For example, you can send SMS (plain text) or MMS (multimedia) messages with 10DLC just as you can with short codes. That means your messages can feature GIFs, audio files, images, subject lines, and other features that make your messages more interesting to subscribers, increasing their likelihood of donating and supporting your cause.
Disadvantages of 10DLC
With all of those benefits, you may be wondering what some of the drawbacks of using 10DLC are.
One disadvantage is that 10DLC are longer than short codes, which can be more challenging from a branding perspective. For example, political campaigns can make a short code the recognized number for their campaign, promoting “Text WIN to 22222” all over their podiums, buses, flyers, and other promotional materials. However, a 10DLC doesn’t look as clean and isn’t as easy to read or as memorable as a short code.
Another downside to 10DLC is that with other text partners there tends to be more spam. At Tatango, we send 10DLC that is not spam. We’ve always prided ourselves on being well versed in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to help our clients navigate the rules and regulations of the SMS industry. Not only can a lawsuit result in fines of $1,500 per text message per recipient, but also spam text messages aren’t good for anyone. They make it less likely that people will open messages and donate.
There tends to be less regulation around 10DLC, whereas short codes have always been approved of and highly regulated by the Short Code Registry. Another industry player, the Campaign Registry, has tried to create more transparency around 10DLC, but the industry is a work in progress.
Another disadvantage of using 10DLC is that you may experience slower messaging speeds. Short code throughput tends to be faster, and if your organization is dealing with millions of phone numbers, the last thing you want is for your text messages to take hours to reach subscribers. If your organization is small and can handle slightly lower messaging speeds, 10DLC could be a fantastic starting point.
Easy Integration with Tatango
One benefit of both 10DLC and short codes is that they can easily integrate with your website using a simple line of code from Tatango. Once implemented, whenever someone enters their phone number on your website, you can automatically sync their number with your text messaging list. This type of integration increases donations and helps you grow your list without taking additional steps. Your text fundraising program can run in the background, raising more donations while you manage other tasks involved in running a successful political campaign.
Contact our political SMS fundraising experts today, whether you’re ready to get started with text messaging or just want to explore your options. We’ll walk you through the solutions that might be best for your campaign and handle the entire approval process for you.