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Text Message Marketing for Nonprofits

Published: Aug 21, 2018

Communications for nonprofits is a huge part of how they are run.

Whether your nonprofit focuses on education, environmental conservation, or healthcare, engagement with supporters cannot be taken lightly.

In today’s world of digital media and smartphones, several nonprofits are making use of text message marketing for varied purposes and to great effect.

Let’s look at:

  • Why should you use Text Message Marketing?
  • How can you use it?
  • Engaging volunteers during events
  • Creating awareness
  • Mobilizing action during times of emergency
  • Recruiting
  • Fundraising
  • Surveys

Why use Text Message Marketing?

The advantage that text message marketing provides is the relative simplicity with which large-scale personalized conversations can be held.

You might find that harder to do with traditional media without spending more time, effort and money.

Another advantage of texting is that it people are less likely to ignore it compared to other forms of outreach; even if your texts aren’t interesting, there’s a good chance people still end up opening them and reading the message which gives your nonprofit visibility.

With text message services evolving to include more and more features, nonprofits are learning to incorporate different aspects of texting to maximize their gains while minimizing effort with browser-based texting and analytics.

How can you use it?

Nonprofits use text message marketing mainly in three ways, through:

  • Mass texting: reaching out to several people with a simple click
  • Text message signups: where people can opt into a campaign by texting a fixed keyword to a number referred to as the shortcode or long code (for eg: YES to 12345)
  • Collective (peer to peer) texting: a more personalized and scalable form of one-to-one texting to build relations

From recruiting volunteers to mobilizing supporters for a campaign, text message marketing for nonprofits has several relevant and effective use cases.

In this article, let’s understand how nonprofits can use texting in different ways to increase their supporter outreach and mobilize their campaigns.

Engaging Volunteers during Events

For nonprofits, it is essential to keep volunteers in the loop when it comes to campaigns and events; for which texting plays a big role.

Send event information using broadcast texts

With broadcast texting, campaign managers can send texts to all volunteers and supporters in no time, informing them of

  • The timings of the events
  • The venue
  • Their responsibilities

You can do this with the simple click of a button from a browser when you’re logged into the app.

Broadcast texts can also inform people who aren’t volunteers. For instance, if you have a black-tie event or a lunch fundraiser for a cause coming up, by sending out texts, you can inform people about the event.

Here, you can create an RSVP campaign where responses such as Yes or No are immediately logged into your CRM and you can target potential attendees (the people who replied Yes) through follow up messages and a formal event invite.

Address queries through collective texting

Collective Texting also creates a point of contact. If volunteers or supporters have any queries, they can text back to a number, and then you can address their concerns personally through a back and forth conversation.

With the help of CRM’s the details of the attendees are instantly updated and stored for later use i.e for future outreach.

Through texting, you ensure mass participation for an event, as follow-ups, alerts, and reminder campaigns are scheduled and sent in advance so that people don’t forget to attend.

It is even possible to collect additional information about people interested in attending your event and rally through automatic responses and data collection. For instance, you’d first sent out a text like: “We’re having a fundraiser on the 15th of this month at Stanley Park, and we’d love for you to attend! Please reply with an IN if you want to attend and an OUT if you can’t make it.”

People replying with an OUT are immediately taken out of the loop whereas those sending an IN are sent the following message:

“You can make it, awesome! It would great if you could send your name so that we can add you to our list!”

Now their name has been added to the CRM with an automatic merge tag such as {first_name, last_name}, and now their name serves as a trigger for the next text asking for their email id or another metric.

Plus, the next message refers to them by their name so the personalization has already begun to take place and you don’t put data collection off for later when they might be less keen to submit details.

Creating Awareness