The nonprofit landscape is constantly evolving with new trends and technologies, and your organization has to keep up to continue sustaining your work.
From the rise of mobile bidding at auctions to the popularity of text-to-donate campaigns, connecting with supporters on their phones remains front and center in the minds of nonprofit professionals. If you haven’t yet explored text marketing, this is an avenue you don’t want to miss out on. Text marketing, also called SMS marketing, offers plenty of impactful benefits for nonprofits, including:
- Extremely high open rates
- Unlimited donor engagement opportunities
- More personal than email
- Straightforward, accessible communication
- Simplified giving experience
1. Extremely high open rates
Everyone involved in nonprofit marketing has experienced days like this: You’ve carefully planned out an email strategy, drafted a page’s worth of copy that conveys your impact story, come up with a standout subject line, and created compelling images—and supporters don’t read your email. Worse, a majority of supporters don’t even open it.
With text marketing, you can rest assured that low open rates won’t be a problem! SMS messages have a powerful 98% open rate on average, more than quadruple the average email open rate of 21%. This is an extremely high open rate that you won’t see with nearly any other nonprofit marketing channel.
2. Unlimited donor engagement opportunities
Once donors opt-in to receive texts from your organization, you open the door for limitless engagement opportunities. Beyond fundraising appeals, you can use SMS to interact with supporters in a variety of effective ways, including:
- Thanking donors: According to eCardWidget, nonprofits should thank donors within 72 hours of their donation—but the sooner you send a thank-you message, the better. Texts make it easy to send short, personal thank-you messages immediately after someone donates.
- Promoting events: SMS marketing allows you to send quick reminders about upcoming events over text and respond directly to supporters’ questions, increasing attendance and donor engagement. Send out a text blast announcing the event and another one a few days before the registration deadline to see the best results.
- Collecting feedback: Showing donors that you value their opinions is crucial for building relationships and boosting retention. You can do so easily by sending or even conducting donor surveys over text. Automation tools enable you to create multi-question, intelligent text surveys that respond to donors in real time and then log donors’ responses in your database.
3. More personal than email
Because texts are short, direct, and often casual, they naturally feel more personal than email and other traditional nonprofit channels. Not only that, but donors can easily send quick responses, opening the door for impactful one-to-one conversations
For example, say you send out a bulk text about your upcoming Bowl for a Cause event that will raise funds for veteran rehabilitation services. One supporter, Daniel, responds directly saying he can’t attend but still wants to help, since services like yours helped his brother after he retired from the army. Your team responds within minutes, letting him know where he can donate and sharing a link to sign up for your next volunteer opportunity. Daniel signs up to volunteer, and you quickly improve your nonprofit’s relationship with him with a few follow-up texts.
You can encourage conversations like these with two strategies for extra SMS personalization:
- Segmentation: Just like any other marketing channel, it’s important to create segments of supporters with shared characteristics and tailor your messaging to each group. You might create segments for first-time donors and active volunteers, for instance. This will ensure that your texts are as relevant as possible for your recipients.
- Automation: Using your CRM and other SMS marketing tools, you can send texts that automatically fill in personal details about each supporter, like their name and exact donation amount. You can even create robust automated journeys that send different series of messages depending on your donors’ responses.
These strategies don’t have to be difficult to implement! Mogli’s Salesforce SMS guide explains how you can use apps to text right from your CRM and easily access automation and segmentation features to increase personalization.
4. Straightforward, accessible communication
Since 97% of Americans own cell phones with text capabilities, text messages are more accessible than communication methods requiring internet access. Whether you’re texting to promote an event or spread important information in an emergency, you can reach more people faster with texts.
Another reason you can see better results from SMS than other channels like email is simply that texts are more straightforward. Donors often don’t have the time or desire to read long, drawn-out emails. With texts, character limits make sure that you keep messages concise, direct, and easy for donors to read. These short messages make it more likely you’ll keep donors’ attention long enough to read the full message and take action.
Since texts are straightforward and fast, they’re also great for sending out urgent updates and alerts. For example, if your virtual event is having technical difficulties, you can immediately let all participants know via text.
5. Simplified giving experience
Don’t underestimate the power of SMS for fundraising, either. Text-to-donate tools can simplify the giving process for donors, increasing the chances that they’ll follow through with their donation.
The best SMS marketing software will include text-to-donate capabilities that work along these lines:
- Supporters text a designated keyword to your nonprofit’s phone number, such as the name of your campaign or a single word like “Donate.”
- Your SMS tool automatically sends the supporter a link to your donation page, along with any instructions they might need.
- Your supporter clicks the link and donates right from their phone!
Beyond leveraging text-to-donate, you can use texts to follow up with donors about additional opportunities to make an impact. For example, after someone donates, you might send a text letting them know that their employer may be able to match their donation and double their impact. The next day, you could send a quick reminder to check their matching gift eligibility and submit a request to their employer.
Remember that even with all these powerful benefits, it’s important to incorporate SMS into a holistic, multichannel marketing strategy to see the best results. With consistent branding and frequent touchpoints across channels, text marketing can help your nonprofit build relationships and inspire donors to stay involved.