Written by: Alexa Lemzy, is a marketing and communications manager at TextMagic - the leading business text messaging solution. She writes about the best practices and actionable tips for effective mobile marketing and customer engagement. Follow Alexa on Twitter.
Did you know that small, medium and large nonprofits have respectively 2,284, 17,076, and 22,299 subscribers on average?
Texting your nonprofit's supporters offers a great potential to promote your clause and prompt them to participate in events and donate. This is the regular channel of communication with donors for 15% of non-profits globally, according to the 2018 GLOBAL NGO Technology Report.
How can you harness the power of text messaging to engage and retain your donors? Let’s find out in this article.
Why is texting your donors important?
Maintaining regular communication is beneficial for enhancing donor retention. In 2020, the total amount of donations in the US was $471.44 billion, with 69% given by individuals. However, the majority of donors tend to give only once, so staying in touch with them can increase the chances of repeated donations.
People are generally easier to reach via text than through any other means of communication. With a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes upon delivery, text messages are an effective way to connect with your supporters. Moreover, SMS is a channel most phone users are comfortable with.
Let’s look at the ways to text your supporters in an efficient and timely manner.
6 Tips and practices to approach your donors using SMS
Text messaging offers direct and real-time communication with your supporters, strengthening their engagement. How can you make sure you’re doing it right? Here are our top tips to help you fully benefit from SMS.
1. Segment donors to target your message
Grouping donors by their characteristics allows you to better target your campaign. A good segmentation strategy will not only help you maximize donations but will also reduce costs.
Base your segmentation on your supporters’ giving level, frequency, and communication preferences.
Personalize communications to make them feel understood and appreciated.
By better tailoring your messages, you can increase the engagement and effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns.
2. Promote your fundraising campaign via bulk texts
Aside from being affordable and flexible, donor texting allows you to reach hundreds of people at once using bulk SMS. In their campaign related to the Green and Just Recovery project, the David Suzuki Foundation registered a 24% conversion rate for the supporters that received their SMS, as opposed to 16% for those who didn’t.
How can you make the most of a text-messaging platform?
Tell your supporters what you're doing and share your fundraising page. This will enhance awareness, drive more traffic, and help your campaign succeed. Also, you can enable your supporters to give their contribution to your cause more conveniently by adding a donation button to your website.
Using a dedicated service allows you to send bulk texts, thus enhancing your outreach and boosting efficiency. The TextMagic SMS solution for non-profits provides text messaging templates, which can be used for texting campaigns, promoting your fundraising events, and attracting more volunteers.
You can also incorporate SMS attachments or short links into your messages to give them the latest updates or direct them to your fundraising page.
3. Build an emotional connection with your supporters
Fundraising is not just about asking for money. It’s also about getting supporters to believe in the cause and feel emotionally connected to the mission whether that’s through emails, text messages, or social media.
Tell your donors why you’re raising funds.
Use storytelling to create a vivid picture and get your supporters involved.
Let your supporters know your goals, who your charity is helping, and most importantly, what difference their money will make.
Communicating both the what and the why in messaging will help you appeal to your supporters' minds and hearts. Creating an emotional connection feels less aggressive and allows donors to see how their gifts contribute to the organization’s cause.
4. Be responsive
Responding to replies from many donors could be cumbersome, but it is an effective means of donor retention. It reflects how much passion and commitment you have. Plan and find ways to keep in touch with potential donors.
5. Keep your donors updated
Let your supporters know about your forthcoming events. Even if they cannot attend, telling them about your activities gives them a sense of belonging. Also, sending reminders to all your donors will keep them engaged with the cause and help them stay aware of their commitments.
The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation (BBBSF), for instance, uses text messages to keep its growing donor base informed on any changes in campaigns, logistics, and schedules. This helps the foundation reduce administrative costs, with estimated savings of over $200K as of 2019. As a result, 100% of the donations can be used to help 30,000 children at risk. Text messaging improves flexibility and convenience allowing BBBSF to engage and retain supporters more efficiently.
Also, proper engagement is about establishing trust. After they’ve donated, people want to know what you’re doing with their money, and SMS is an effective way to share the progress and the impact of your fundraising campaign.
Even if they haven’t given their donation yet, keep everyone who shows interest texted. This helps you enhance engagement and maintain a positive connection loop with your supporters, thus increasing chances for future donations.
6. Say a Simple ‘Thank You’
Expressing gratitude is essential for establishing long-lasting relations with your supporters and motivating them to repeat their donations.
Send personalized ‘Thank You’ text messages to communicate to your donors that you value their contribution. Utilizing a dedicated SMS platform will enable you to use mail merge, templates, and bulk SMS. Setting up automatic ‘Thank You’ text messages and having them delivered to every donor will make life easier for you and your team.
Donors are the most crucial members of a non-profit endeavor. Although many are still keen on helping others, winning people over to give to your cause is a complex task. Text messaging has made charity campaigns significantly easier. It is generic – every phone can send and receive text messages. You should explore this luxury, as it helps you reach a larger audience faster and reduce drop-offs.
Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.