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From the outside looking in, nonprofit work is all about the mission. Seldom does the general public see the work behind the scenes with resource development, marketing, and leadership. However, what may not be seen, is most certainly noticed.
Despite differing missions, services, and scope, all nonprofits have to focus on one thing in order to sustain growth: the donor experience. Discovering more efficient ways to engage your donors, as well as those you serve, is the cornerstone of nonprofit marketing. Through the power of text marketing, you can reach almost all of your supporters at once with custom messages and no delay.
How Does a Mass Texting Service for Nonprofits Work?
Texting is often referred to as the “Universal Inbox”, and for the most part that’s true. As of 2018, there were roughly 277 million people texting in the U.S. While texting is undeniably favored by younger generations, what’s often not illuminated is that people aged 45-64 are the fastest growing demographic among mobile phone usage. 94% of smartphone users 70 and older are texting on a weekly basis!
These measures are important in the nonprofit industry as they shed light on the issue of traditional fundraising methods turning listless. Nonprofits around the country are looking for strategies to reach younger potential donors, but they’re afraid to neglect they are loyal, and often aging, donor base. Mass texting is an unexpected, yet perfect medium for both demographics.
Keywords: SMS keywords are unique words that your stakeholders can text to your short code and opt-in to text messages from your business. From here, you can set up an automatic response that provides more information when someone texts your keyword.
Shortcodes: Shortcodes is a 5 or 6-digit number that customers can text to sign up for SMS updates.
Campaigns: A campaign is the series of text messages that you send to your subscribers list.
MMS: MMS (or “Multimedia Messaging Service”) is a different type of text that gives you a longer character limit, as well as the ability to send photos, gifs, audio or video files.
Autoresponders: Autoresponders are messages that are sent automatically after someone opts-in to receiving text messages from you. With this feature, you can create a series of messages that send out over several days, weeks or even months that keep your audience engaged with your nonprofit.
Data Collection: The data collection feature helps you customize your messaging segments based on your audience’s responses. You could ask questions as simple as their name or create custom fields to find out what they’re interested in (e.g. volunteering, donating money, donating in-kind products, etc.) to better tailor your messaging.
Important Measures and Definitions for Nonprofits Mass Texting Solutions
Like all organizations, nonprofits are results-driven and conversion-focused. You can determine the success of your nonprofit mass texting solutions using several metrics. Here are the crucial ones.
1. The most important metric for nonprofits in text message marketing is the conversion rate. It gives you valuable donor data about the percentage of people responding to your calls of action. Responses range from a simple reply to something more meaningful such as a signup or donation.
Measuring the conversion rate will help you optimize and steer your Text to Donate fundraisers towards the right people. To calculate conversion, divide the number of those who took action by the total number of people in your Text to Donate campaign.
2. Like it or not, prospective donors often opt out of Text to Give fundraising campaigns. And that's okay. However, it is paramount that you have a record of the number of people who are no longer engaged with your Text to Give fundraiser.
The most common ways nonprofits alienate their donors are the poor timing of text messages, their frequency, and the targeted audience. If you know the opt-out rate, you can identify and correct your mistakes to ensure your donors stay with you.
3. The growth rate is another crucial metric when gauging the success of Text to Give fundraising campaigns. Your nonprofit organization will always benefit from the subscriber base growing. More potential donors mean greater reach and a bigger audience. That, in turn, impacts the success of your campaigns.
The growth rate is calculated by deducting the number of initial subscribers from current subscribers and then dividing that by the number of initial subscribers.
4. The cost per converted recipient is another important metric you need to consider. That means you must know how much money you spent to acquire a donor. The best way to do that is to divide the cost of each delivered text message by the conversion rate. Your cost figures should never be higher than the redemption of donors.
Why Do Nonprofits Need a Mass Texting Service?
So, why is text marketing worth the investment? To begin, the investment itself is customizable based on your needs. We believe in fairly priced services.
But the common stigma that nonprofits don’t have money simply isn’t true. Yes, resources are often stretched, but what would be a more accurate depiction is that nonprofits don’t always have the opportunity to “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks”. When you invest your resources into marketing, it’s done carefully. Luckily, text marketing has the stats you need to justify the investment. For starters…
- Text messages have an average read rate of 98% and around a 40% response rate
- 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive
- 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases
- 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS.
- In business, SMS response rates are 295% higher than the rates from the phone calls
We could go on, but the underlying message stays the same. Investing in your donor experience through texting can help you tell better stories, create stronger asks and appeals, and reach more of your audience in need. Your story deserves to be told, it’s time to start reaching more people with it.
Examples of SMS for Nonprofits
As a nonprofit, when it comes to connecting with your audience, you’re often appealing folks to do three things: donate their time, treasure, or talents. So, here are a few examples of how you can use SMS to achieve those actions in addition to a few bonus suggestions useful to any organization!
1. Schedule and confirm volunteers via text: To help cut down on no-shows and overall maximize efficiency, consider using texting to schedule, confirm, and remind folks of their volunteer slots with your organization!
2. Send important volunteer info: Ensure your volunteers or visitors feel informed and prepared by offering them info via text such as: directions, parking instructions, clothing/equipment requirements, and more. Consider keeping this info in a template to save you time!
3. Field frequently asked questions: In nonprofit work there are often lots of FAQs. People wondering how to get involved, what items they can donate, and much MUCH more. Cut down on the time you’re spending back and forth on email or over the phone by allowing people to text in their questions! You can create templates that will take care of these questions for you all while providing a top-of-the-line “consumer” experience.
4. Follow up with donors: Carriers prohibit the practice of soliciting money or donations by SMS. However, even if you can’t use text-to-donate, texting is a great way to follow-up with people after they’ve donated on your website or in-person. Collect phone numbers, then send a thank you message with more info about how their donation will be used.
5. Pledge reminders: A great way to serve your reoccurring donors is through pledges. However, keeping up with pledge reminders can be time-consuming and they can often get ignored. Make it easier by automating pledge reminder texts to donors!
6. Send SMS appeals: Connect with donors for seasonal or specific asks via text. With the option to customize specific fields, your ask will be just as personal, if not more so, than a typical email or direct mail appeal. By utilizing MMS you can also include rich media like photos and video to help tell your story.
Today 12:10 PM
Starting in February, Kids Bikes will be rolling out “wheels for meals” and we need your help Adam. Learn more about the program and text us your questions!
7. Create interactive events and fundraisers: Make events like luncheons, 5ks, or auctions interactive by creating a text-specific keyword for your nonprofit. Allow people to take action on the spot by texting in your keyword to become a donor, bid on an item, or ask a question. Advertise your keyword around the event or promote it on social media (like you would a hashtag).
8. Utilize texting to communicate with your staff: Send out important updates, employee incentives, and general news through text to ensure your communications are being read. With TextBack AI you can have an unlimited amount of contacts associated with your account. Each contact can be segmented into a list to make department or location specific communications easy.
9. Communicate more effectively with your Board of Directors: Connecting with your board can be difficult given their typically packed schedules. Create a more direct line to them with texting that can be utilized for sending board briefs, updates, or even polling!
10. Promote your e-news: A lot of hard work goes into your digital communications, and texting isn’t necessarily meant to replace them all. They can however be a great aid to boost their success. For example, send out a text to your subscribers reminding them to check their inboxes (and their spam 😩) for your latest newsletter! If you’re looking to cut direct mail costs, consider texting out a link to your annual report. Link tracking will allow you to see who read it and follow up accordingly.
11. Share information: If you’re not connecting with donors, odds are you’re communicating with the public you serve. You can use texting as a way to share important tips and information with them, like locations of soup kitchens or healthy eating tips for life in a food desert.
How to Turn Your Supporters into Subscribers
The ultimate goal for any nonprofit organization is to convert a supporter into a subscriber. An all-encompassing AI mass texting solution can go a long way towards meeting that goal. Innovative Text to Give platforms instill trust in supporters of your cause. Here's how you can convert supporters into loyal subscribers for your cause.
Pick a Reliable Texting Service Provider
Employ a top-quality Text to Donate platform and help supporters take the next step. Textback.ai empowers your organization to convince your audience to become subscribers and donors.
Go with a Multifaceted Mass Texting Platform
Utilize a versatile mass texting service provider that benefits supporters of your cause in more ways than one. The platform should enable sending bulk text messages to thousands of users simultaneously but also facilitate 1-to-1 texting.
Make Customer Support a Top Priority
When turning supporters into subscribers, you must pick a texting platform that boasts top-notch customer support. It should support 2-way conversations, provide assistance, and help you connect with your donors.
Enable Donors to Plan and Track the Process
Letting potential donors plan and schedule the text messaging process helps to turn supporters into subscribers in a matter of days. Multi-platform integration and smart tracking tools facilitate you to gauge engagement and schedule accordingly.
Why Should a Nonprofit Text 1-on-1 with Donors
The success of nonprofits is closely connected to their relationship with their subscribers and donors. Nonprofit organizations that create a more intimate and conversational rapport with subscribers are more likely to engage donors. And the best and most effective way you can do this is via 1-on-1 text messaging.
Donors will know that you think highly of them if you send personalized text messages tailored just for them. The personal connection between the donor and the cause is much stronger than an e-commerce business and its customers. Establish close relationships with your donors and ensure the success of your Text to Give using 1-on-1 text messages.
Benefits of Texting for Nonprofits
Many nonprofits may not realize it, but the benefits of texting are greater than they think. Text to Donate fundraisers yield much better results when compared to other forms of marketing and are superior to email campaigns. These are the critical advantages of turning to mobile giving donations for your next fundraiser.
Launch your Text to Give campaign via a tried and tested texting platform; the first thing you will notice will be the fast responses you will get. 82% of all text messages are read within the first five minutes of being received, meaning donors can act instantly. Fast responses are crucial in urgent campaigns. Reach your supporters immediately and start receiving Text to Give donations.
Texting is More Personal
Text messages are also a more personal form of communication. It is easier for donors to imagine that a real person is on the other end with text messages. That's especially true if the Text to Give platform facilitates 2-way conversations.
High Open Rates
With incredible high open rates of 98%, text messaging is 295% better than phone calls. If your nonprofit organization relies heavily on email with its super-low average open rate of 2.6%, you should seriously consider switching to a mobile fundraising method to reap its benefits.
Super-High Click-Through Rates
The click-through rates of texts are also far superior to email. It is indicative of a communication method that engages supporters and donors and compels them to make the next move -follow a link to a donation form and donate.
Do's and Dont's When Setting Up SMS Marketing for Nonprofits
As you might imagine, there are things you should do and don't when getting your Text to Give fundraising campaign off the ground. Increase the already sky-high text message open rates with the right text marketing approach. But, be careful! That much power comes with a lot of responsibility. Here are the do's and dont's of using SMS for nonprofits.
Do identify yourself before you fire up those texts. Include a link in your text that will take supporters to your website in just a few clicks. If you have a strong online presence, this will further boost your chances of engaging supporters and turning them into subscribers.
Do offer easy-to-see opt-outs even though you might like to keep all your subscribers. People opting out of text message donations for nonprofits is a part of any mobile giving campaign. So, the best thing you can do is to make that process as easy as possible.
Don't send messages at inappropriate times. Sending messages at the wrong times can hurt your cause more than you can imagine. Always plan, personalize and maintain a steady schedule of your text messages to avoid losing subscribers.
Don't try to include too much information in the texts you send. Convey all the info as briefly as possible and have a strong and persuasive call to action. That's it. Don't try to explain the mission and vision of your nonprofit, as well as your annual goals and projects. If you want to engage subscribers, make your messages brief and compelling.
As a Nonprofit, How You Should Grow Your Subscriber List
Growing the subscriber list should be a top priority for all nonprofits. Organic growth is everything in text message campaigns. So implementing growth strategies is essential to increasing your subscriber count.
As a nonprofit, you probably have a website where you post regularly. So, why not use your website to collect the phone numbers of prospective donors. Ask subscribers to enter their phone numbers when they register or make a donation.
As soon as you do that, you can import the numbers you collect with the Textback.ai messaging platform. If people give their consent and react positively when you text them, you have successfully grown your subscriber list.
Another way to increase your donor base is by incentivizing people who opt-in for your Text to Give fundraising campaigns. You can offer exclusive updates, signed shirts, thank you emails from celebrity partners, recurring gifts, etc. If you make the incentive clear and enticing enough, your subscriber list will continue to grow.
Nonprofit SMS Messaging Best Practices
You now know how to grow your subscriber list, but do you know how to make the most of each contact you obtain. Let's look at nonprofit messaging best practices to help you boost your fundraising campaigns and benefit from the perks of text giving for nonprofits.
Organize and Segmentize
Engage each donor personally. You don't want to send the same message to donors with different causes. Segmenting your lists so that each contains similarly-minded subscribers will boost your conversion and growth rates.
Clear and Compelling Call to Action
Have a powerful and persuasive call to action. It should reflect the ideals your nonprofit stands for, while ensuring your subscribers understands precisely what they need to do: sign up or donate.
Mobile-Compatible Donation Forms
Subscribers will receive all your messages on their mobile phones. So, if they donate, they will most likely use the same device. That's why it is paramount you make your donation forms on your website mobile-friendly for a frictionless fundraising campaign.
What's the Right SMS Message Frequency for Nonprofits
Text messages may be the best method to get to donors, but don't overuse them. 10-12 messages a month is the optimal SMS message frequency. It means your subscribers will get a text on average once every three days. It is easy to see why sending messages more frequently may become a nuisance for subscribers and defeat the purpose of the mobile giving foundation.
How Do I Set Up a Mass Texting Service for my Nonprofit?
Need a custom pricing plan or a feature to fit your needs? No problem. Tell us what you need and we’ll be happy to design a plan to suit you.
We’re here to support you, support the world! Try TextBack AI today.
What are keywords?
Keywords are words or phrases sent to an SMS short code or phone number. The Text to Give software, such as Textback.ai, uses these keywords to determine which campaign people donate to and prepares an automatic response.
What are shortcodes?
Shortcodes are 5 or 6-digit numbers that subscribers of nonprofits use to donate. Donors text the keyword to the shortcode and donate instantly, making shortcodes ideal for high-volume messaging campaigns.
Which age group of donors will accept text giving the easiest?
Text to Give campaigns are ideal for all donor age groups. Unlike other online donation campaigns where younger subscribers are the majority, text messaging fundraisers are instantly adopted by donors of all ages.
How do I keep track of donation amounts and donor data?
When you use Textback.ai, you get live delivery reports for every campaign you run. You also receive a monthly email report of your organization's account summary. We also offer complete control over your SMS marketing costs so that you make the most of your budget.
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