3 Ways To Leverage Text Marketing for More Than Soliciting Donations
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the entire world upside down. It also presented incredible challenges for nonprofit organizations, which saw catastrophic drops in revenue. And demand for services and support far outpaced organizations’ resources.
Charities already operate on razor-thin margins. A 2018 Nonprofit Finance Fund survey of nearly 3,400 nonprofits indicated 19% of respondents had a month or less of cash on hand — and half had three months’ cash or less available. Those numbers have only grown worse. Charitable giving decreased 6% in the first quarter of 2020, translating to more than $25 billion in lost donations for the year.
The 2021 Q1 report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals recorded a 10% increase in overall donors — but while human services and animal groups benefited from increased giving, education, and arts and culture nonprofits continued to struggle.
The news isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Organizations saw new donor retention rates increase by 13.6% in Q1 2021. Now nonprofits must find ways to keep the donation flow going and increase giving. One tool available for use in their fundraising strategies: text messaging.
Nonprofit organizations constantly brainstorm ways to solicit and increase the donations used to fund their mission and the causes they support. Motivating people to donate requires increasingly more savvy giving campaigns and technology investments to run those campaigns.
Text-to-donate platforms and mobile giving is a tech solution paying dividends for nonprofits. Not only does this option make it easier for donors to support an organization via their smartphones, it offers an opportunity to increase overall donations.
But SMS messaging doesn’t just help with fundraising. Organizations have found other ways to incorporate text messaging into their operations. Check out these three ideas:
1. Data collection
Once you invite people to subscribe to your SMS program via opt-in messaging, you can expand your volunteer and donor database. Using interactive text messages, SMS messaging platforms gather and use that information to compile detailed contact profiles for each subscriber.
Your organization can leverage this data to customize and personalize outreach, create micro-targeted fundraising campaigns, recruit volunteers, and more. Capture the correct data to help build relationships — like prospect research and fundraising. Segment it to identify engagement trends — and spend time developing targeted strategies to take advantage of those opportunities.
2. Event management
In addition to sending reminders for upcoming fundraisers and other events, text messaging solutions help with the planning and execution as well. Use SMS to organize staff members, send announcements, blast event schedules, promote last-minute events or changes, confirm reservations, and much more.
Using SMS marketing for event management keeps participants informed — a helpful service to maximize attendance. Text blasts among event organizers support and improve teamwork, especially when you encourage staff and volunteers to relay short updates and progress reports.
3. Supporter organization and mobilization
Despite (maybe because of) a challenging year, supporters remain determined to get involved with the nonprofits and charitable organizations locally and nationally via advocacy, donations and volunteerism. SMS allows you to keep them interested and engaged via different campaigns.
Start with a content calendar, so you don’t overwhelm them with texts but do keep them engaged. Send monthly, weekly or biweekly texts with updates about your organization, its policies and goals, needs or milestones reached. Don’t forget to tag supporters active on social media to leverage their engagement and broaden your call-to-action (CTAs).
Reduce barriers to engagement by including a hyperlink to your website or a patch-through phone number. Even when you don’t have significant updates to share, send SMS anyway to stay top-of-mind. Build and maintain your digital relationship by sending holiday messages, creating contests, inviting your supporters to send in pictures or anecdotes — the list goes on!
Many nonprofit organizations have realized the benefits of text messaging. It offers a dependable touchpoint between organizations and their supporters. According to NP Source, nine out of 10 Americans own a smartphone. Of those people visiting a nonprofit website, 51% visit on a mobile device. Mobile giving donations have increased 205% in the past several years. And for every 1,000 fundraising messages sent, nonprofits raise $42.
But while nonprofits might initially use text message marketing to solicit and raise funds, it’s a strategy with the flexibility to expand reach, engage audiences, find new donors and volunteers, keep stakeholders informed, generate CTAs, and spread awareness about the organization’s mission.
Matt Baglia is the co-founder and CEO of SlickText. In his role, he oversees the product and engineering teams and is responsible for the strategic direction of the company. With a strong background in product management and web development, his direct focus on technology and user experience has been foundational for the success of SlickText in recent years. Prior to SlickText, Matt served as the director of product for Colibri Learning where he was primarily focused on front end design and UX. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the State University of New York at Fredonia.