Going Mobile: How to Navigate 6 Challenges of Text-to-Donate Campaigns
Text-to-donate campaigns have quickly gained public appeal, and many successful nonprofits utilize this fundraising tool to increase needed revenue. Many individuals appreciate the simplicity of supporting causes they care about via SMS. Plus, text-to-donate campaigns allow nonprofits to raise revenue in emergency situations quickly.
However, many nonprofits encounter issues when they launch their first text-to-donate campaign. Savvy nonprofits and individuals alike benefit from learning from the mistakes of others versus recreating those mistakes themselves. Here's what to consider before your nonprofit initiates its first campaign.
1. Selecting the Right Software
Text-to-donate campaigns require nonprofits to partner with a third party software provider, and making the right choice can make or break an organization's success with this fundraising tool. Keep the following in mind when selecting your software partner.
Consider the donation limitation. Some software packages limit the amount individual donors can give via text. Some limit the max donation to the $10 mark, while others allow for more leeway. If your organization works primarily with a wealthier class of donors, make sure the software doesn't set too low of a donation limit.
Make certain the software you select matches the type of campaign you wish to launch, too. Those that add the donation to the donor's phone bill need fewer bells and whistles than campaigns that redirect donors to a third party payment site, such as Paypal.
2. Underestimating Fees
Nonprofits should avoid the pitfall of underestimating just how much their text-to-donate campaign will cost. In addition to purchasing software and obtaining a dedicated phone number for your campaigns, many other fees may increase the expense considerably.
Nonprofits should inquire about payment processing fees required by third-party payment intermediaries like Paypal. Usually, financial institutions charge anywhere from four percent to 10 percent of all donations to cover operating expenses. In addition, nonprofits lacking a tech guru on staff may need to pay setup fees and maintenance fees.
3. Spreading the Word
Even the noblest text-to-donate campaigns will gain few, if any, donations if no one knows about them. As the goal of such campaigns pairs raising revenue with attracting new, regular donors, nonprofits must spread the word through every means necessary to attract more people.
Nonprofits use a combination of social media, email and direct mail to solicit donations. They should create a simple keyword for their current campaign, and use that keyword in all marketing materials from social media posts to direct mailings. This gives nonprofits the ability to track which campaigns worked most successfully so they can improve on them in the future.
4. Capturing Donor Information
Some nonprofits have missed out on the opportunity to gain donor loyalty and support by failing to require donors to provide personally identifiable information in their text-to-donate campaigns. This can easily happen when the campaign directs a donor to a third-party payment site before first gathering the donor's name, email address, phone and sometimes mailing address.
Avoid this mistake by requiring donors to provide their full name and email address at the minimum, and at least suggest they provide a phone number, too, so that their organization can alert donors of future campaigns. Mailing addresses can take time to type on many cellular devices, so those organizations who eschew direct mail campaigns due to the expense and the environmental impact should omit the requirement to fill in a street address.
5. Launching a Reactive Campaign
Many nonprofits venture into the world of text-to-donate campaigns only when an extreme shortage of revenue results from an unexpected disaster. While launching such a campaign to aid hurricane or wildfire victims makes sense, so does utilizing talk-to-donate on a regular basis to keep coffers full all year. Avoid limiting your campaigns to reactive reasons, and, instead, become proactive by implementing regular talk-to-text campaigns to launch at various intervals.
6. Easing Donor Fears
Finally, in a world where hackers have even breached the security of Equifax, donors want to know that their donations truly benefit a reputable charity. They're tech-savvy and concerned that a copycat organization may send texted donation requests as a scam.
Take caution to ensure the software your nonprofit selects allows your organization to personalize campaigns, building donor trust. Likewise, alert visitors to your organization's website that providing a phone number will result in them receiving text updates, so that donors rest assured the donation request is valid.
Text-to-donate campaigns allow nonprofits to attract new supporters and raises valuable money to put toward their causes. By learning about what challenges might ensue when launching such a campaign, organizations can take their fundraising to new heights by utilizing this tech tool.