Texting Reminds Donors To Give
sms nonprofits donors

What nonprofit doesn’t want a direct conversation with their donors? Amid the vast array of communications channels available these days, text messaging can open the door to one-on-one conversations with your donors — in real time no less.

Shea Morrissey, senior manager at Hustle, and Jacqueline Murphy, director of digital supporter engagement & innovation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) presented “Mobile-ize! How to Use Texting to Maximize Your Donor Base and Scale Relationships” at this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Portland, Ore.

A simple way to get started is thanking donors who pledge a gift. Text messages can remind them that they need to send their gift. It also can make them feel appreciated with a personalized thank you message. Take time to develop your messaging because, remember, you’re designing a conversation with your donors. The tone should be more friendly than in other communications from your organization.

PPFA used text messaging to stand out on #GivingTuesday, cutting through the noise of a donor’s inundated email inbox. The organization appended cell phone numbers to a segment of existing online donors, initiating a conversation the day before #GivingTuesday.

There are different use cases where you can test text messages, to see what works best with supporters. For instance, test it in single donations, post-event surveys, sustainers, new or lapsed donors, event reminders, or member renewals. Text messages sent by PPFA the day after sustainers lapsed performed much better than months after word, so reach out as quickly as possible. Create your text messages with the mindset that they will be read, as open rates for texts are vastly higher than those for email messages.

Since text messaging is more personal, determine your use as they apply to your organization. Urgent messages can be broadcast over multiple channels but text messaging is geared more toward relationship-building, to be a conversation with a human touch.