For the average nonprofit, marketing can sometimes be a confusing game. That’s especially true when it comes to new technologies. For example, should you try text messaging? SMS? Can you build a solid donor contact list through text? A nonprofit organization is always focused on providing people with value and not being intrusive—so the idea of using an SMS list to build new fundraising efforts can sound jarring at first.
Fortunately, it can run much more smoothly than you think. Once you have the phone number of a customer who’s signed up for texting, you can introduce all sorts of new mass text possibilities. Here’s how nonprofits can handle this without losing touch with what makes them unique.
How Should Nonprofits Use Texting?
As a nonprofit organization, it only makes sense if you’re concerned that mass text messaging will affect your brand. For many nonprofits, it can be discouraging to try this out, only to see that response rates aren’t what they hoped.
But you’d be surprised at how good many people feel about signing up for mass texting campaigns. 75% of people are happy to receive texts like this. SMS marketing can not only be incredibly effective—often creating 98% text opening rates—but people who sign up for a nonprofit organization’s text message donating campaign can feel even more engaged because of the nature of your work.
However, that still leaves an important question: how should nonprofits use texting? Consider the following strategies:
• Find a service that lets you use SMS for give-and-take with donors. As a nonprofit, you always want to show the human side to what you do. That means that your texts shouldn’t feel like they’re coming from a robot. Seek out an SMS texting service that feels like more than direct mail. It should feel like a conversation. For example, slyText includes a business text messaging tool that makes it easy to interact with customers. No more “direct mail” vibes: communication just became a two-way street.
• Create a donation page with an easy sign-up. One of the most powerful ways to make fundraisers work is to make it as easy as possible. That’s why nonprofits like the American Red Cross make it easy to make a donation with a simple text from a mobile phone. Try to incorporate that strategy into the way you do things. For example, you can include a simple “text me now” sign-up form on your donation page so customers can receive your notifications on their mobile devices.
• Think of it as group texting. Group texting is standard for a lot of people. And when you send out one of your latest fundraisers’ efforts to a large group of people who already told you they want to receive your texts, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? In fact, it’s a highly engaging way to interact with potential donors and people who care about your cause.
• Make it clear that when they give you a phone number, it’s an opt-in. An “opt-in” isn’t only important for the customer (letting them know that they’ll be receiving messages from you in the future), but for you. You’ll have confidence, knowing that you’re sending out text blasts to people who want to hear from you. These are subscribers, not people who didn’t want to hear from you. That alone will give you the confidence you need to engage in the type of nonprofit marketing that generates results.
What is the Benefit of Nonprofits Using Texting?
This gets us to our next question: why bother?
If you’ve ever used a direct mail campaign, you know that you can have largely predictable results for donor growth if you generate a specific response of potential donations. Think of texting for nonprofits as more than direct mail. You’re sending out messages to people who want to hear from you. That can create much higher engagement.
But let’s get more specific about those benefits. What exactly are they, and how can you apply them to a specific situation like a nonprofit?
• More engagement. If you haven’t heard about those 98% open rates, you should. The simple fact is that text message marketing is the fastest technological shortcut to creating engagement in the modern world, and it has immediate results when you can create an SMS marketing list for your own nonprofit.
• More loyalty. As a nonprofit, you have to be concerned not only about what happens when someone first signs up, but what happens months from now. Will you continue to generate donations? For this reason, it’s possible for you to experiment with different approaches to text messaging. You may even only text occasionally, which can help you build a long-term relationship with donors who sign up with you. Consider that as many as 57% of respondents said they would be happy to sign up to a loyalty program and you’ll understand just how ready many donors may be for this type of arrangement.
• More responsiveness. This is a benefit that comes from your end. After all, one of the challenges for nonprofit organizations like yours is telling a very human store. That means you need to appear as humans yourself. Yet, how do you do that with marketing efforts? How can you do that from a website? Those questions are worth their blog post, but for now, one thing is clear: two-way texting is the fastest way to accomplish it.
Your outreach can begin with simply signing up to an online texting service platform that meets your needs as a nonprofit. And what does that mean exactly? All you need is a way to get started. With slyText, you’ll have access to an entirely new way of engaging with your potential donors.