Text Message Marketing: How It Can Work for Your Nonprofit

Let’s be real for a minute. Marketing for your nonprofit organization proves challenging. First, you have to reach out to potential constituents. Then, you have to convince them your cause matters. Finally, you have to convince them your cause matters enough to spend their time and money on it with no immediate “reward” to them. This can be a lot to handle. How do you market appropriately to reach volunteers and donors and get them involved?

Well, we have an idea for you: text message marketing. SMS messaging, text messaging, texting… whatever you call it, text messages demonstrate a unique and valuable way of engaging with your constituents on their level and encouraging them to join your nonprofit (NPO).

According to Text Request, in the United States alone, people send over six billion texts every day. The Pew Research Center found 97 percent of American adults text weekly. And while email opening rates sit between a lousy 20­–30 percent, text messages have a 98 percent open rate. Plus, 90 percent of those are read within five minutes of being received.

There is no question text message marketing can be powerful. But just how can it work for your nonprofit organization? We have the answers you have been looking for.

Have direct contact with followers.

The majority of people today have their phone constantly within reach. For many people, texting offers a better way to get involved than through the average email marketing or even social media marketing. By messaging out to your volunteers and donors directly where they are, your nonprofit has immediate contact with your followers, about whatever you need to share.

This serves as an extremely valuable tool, because a text message cannot be easily ignored like an email or a social media post. Instead, whomever you try to reach receives the message, opens it and acknowledges it quickly and efficiently.

Set fundraising initiatives.

Setting higher fundraising initiatives offers a great incentive for setting up text message marketing. You may have heard of the “text to give” programs so many nonprofit organizations have put into place. This shows a strong example of how texting directly reaches out to constituents and gives them an easy way to donate instantly. With just the click of a few buttons, they can text to give $5, $10 or more to your NPO.

Even more than offering a text to give campaign, your nonprofit can use texting to keep clients in the loop of how a specific campaign works, what you hope to raise for your goal and how well you accomplish the goal. When volunteers and donors feel engaged and informed, they feel compelled to donate to your fundraiser and get involved with the organization.

Communicate event information.

Along with fundraising, text message marketing provides an excellent opportunity to communicate about any event the organization has. Do you have an upcoming event you need more volunteers for? Text it out. Did your event do really well in meeting your fundraising goal? Text it out. If you have trouble getting people involved in your events and raising funds, text message marketing may be your answer in communicating important information and garnering more involvement.

Educate about your mission.

Educating about your mission proves another great example of engaging text messages. Share tips and info about what your NPO focuses on and why your cause matters. Give helpful advice to constituents on issues related to your organization so they look forward to receiving your messages and learning more about your area of focus.

Find a mobile platform.

So, how can you go about setting up text message marketing for your nonprofit? Well, first you need a platform. Obviously, you don’t want to get a collection of phone numbers and send out a massive group chat every time. You want technology that allows you to communicate one-on-one with individuals and gives them the opportunity to respond to your questions or comments, rather than getting a bunch of notifications from other people they do not know.

Luckily, we have a few platforms in mind for your organization to look into. The Mobile Giving Foundation is one example of a mobile network your nonprofit can tap for fundraising. An extension of the Mobile Giving Foundation is Sumotext, which focuses specifically on soliciting donors through mobile short codes. Some other platforms include TextMarksGive by CellSlickText and Simple Texting. These networks have different plans and options available for your NPO to pick the best mobile marketing option for you.

Choose a keyword.

Once you get started with the platform of your choice, more than likely you will choose a keyword for your organization. This is how individuals can “opt-in” to your messages. For example, if your nonprofit is an animal shelter on the Northwest side of town, your keyword could be NWPETS. So, volunteers and donors would text NWPETS to a specific number in order to opt in to your organization’s updates. Of course, there are other ways to utilize your text message marketing platform, but keyword opt-ins are the most common.

Once you have your platform and keyword chosen, your nonprofit is ready to go with text message marketing. Texting provides the perfect way to engage with constituents, get them involved and educate on your cause. Check it out, give it a try and see how your organization can grow with texting.

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