The point of this was to figure out the best way to engage potential members. The poll had four answers, and there were four engagement paths. Instead of blasting the same message at people who are considering the organization from very different levels of interest, Saddleback customized the message.
All of this happened in less than a minute. People did this, watching or listening, with their mobile phones in their hands. They texted in, the response came back in seconds, they chose to e-mail and the next time they checked their e-mail, the message from Saddleback was there waiting for them.
This is an advanced implementation of text messaging, but the costs are extremely low. Text messages on a platform like Ez Texting start at 5 cents and go down quickly. Incoming messages through most providers are free. If a nonprofit organization has a Web developer in-house, this is not too difficult to set up. Outsourcing it isn’t cheap, but it isn’t incredibly expensive either. Every nonprofit has a different budget, and different goals, so each will implement text messaging in different ways. But the important takeaway is that this is something you can be doing on your own, right now.
Americans sent 1.5 trillion text messages last year; about a quarter of Americans have given up their landlines. Text messaging is the communications medium of choice for an increasing number of Americans. Text messaging is fundamental to the daily routine of the next generation of donors and members. To build community and to recruit new members, text messaging is an option every nonprofit should explore.
Shane Neman is CEO of mobile marketing platform provider Ez Texting.