Leveraging the SMS Text for End-of-Year Giving

It’s a certainty that there isn’t a soul in our wired world who appreciates email spam and annoying pop-ad ups, let alone the dreaded telemarketer call which seems to come at the most inconvenient times.


However, non-profit analysts are beginning to push an as-untapped method of reaching out to donors, especially at the time of the year when many organizations are making one last push to secure donations from individuals and businesses eager to max out their tax-deductible giving.

It’s the SMS (short message service) text for a dedicated subscriber list, and it’s a truly effective way to reach supporters without having to design elaborate year-end campaigns.

Whereas many non-profits may be wary of using the text message as a means of communication—like the unsolicited telephone call, it brings an intrusive air with it, even if the donor has subscribed to the service—the numbers gauging its effectiveness are certainly persuasive. According to both the Human Rights Campaign and the Humane Society of the United States, text message subscribers are 77 percent more likely to donate than non-text message receivers.

However, non-profit media professionals are quick to caution that sending a text message alone is not enough to—in a sense—get the job done completely. So if you plan on taking your organization’s media campaigning down this path, consider these critical elements.

  • To begin, make sure your text messaging is only one part of your overall marketing campaign, a single element reinforcing your cohesive story at precisely the right moment.
  • Be sure to utilize messaging to alert subscribers to important events or milestones, perhaps a reminder for a gala holiday celebration or charity sports field day.
  • Perform A/B split testing to determine the ideal times to send out messages—they provide valuable insight into how to optimize your fundraising results.
  • Link the text message to a mobile donation page so that receivers can instantly give the moment they receive the message. Just be sure that the donation page is mobile friendly, which is achieved through responsive web design.
  • Don’t send a one-size-fits-all message. Instead, personalize the texts to certain donor bases such as individuals, corporations and businesses and even volunteers. Additionally, consider customized text messages to long-term supporters that differ from those you would send to someone who just signed up for your mobile service.
  • Test all your mobile donation forms and links early and often—nothing is more detrimental to your cause than losing a donor to technological frustration.
  • Build a “thank you” message that automatically responds to donors via SMS the minute they donate or sign up for your service.
  • Keep up with your text messaging on a consistent basis, which will help you build a relationship with donors and other supporters. However, don’t blitz messages constantly or you risk having people unsubscribe. Optimum consistency may be once a week when your organization is static, and more when you gearing up for a community-centered event, an annual fundraising drive or, of course, an end-of-the-year appeal for donations.

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