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From collecting donations to communicating event information, modern fundraising campaigns rely heavily on digital tools. Your organization can start implementing key digital features now to boost future fundraising for numerous campaigns.
Mobile messaging is an effective digital outreach tool for several reasons. Not only are most supporters familiar with the platform but texting is such a popular form of communication that many donors prefer to be reached that way. As a result, your organization’s fundraising messages can gain more visibility and responsiveness in a text message format than most other communication channels.
In this guide, we’ll review the basics of mobile messaging and how nonprofit organizations can make the most of this digital feature.
What is mobile messaging?
Many of us know mobile messaging as texting, or if we’ve been using it long enough, as SMS (short messaging service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service). Instead of picking up the phone to call a friend, we might text them an address or a date and time to meet up for lunch.
Texting is a unique channel because it’s immediate and a big part of our day-to-day lives—most of us carry it around with us in our pockets. It’s useful for sharing photos, videos, links to websites, and many other attachments that supplement the actual message sent via text.
Why should nonprofits use mobile messaging?
Mobile messaging is becoming an increasingly popular communication channel for nonprofits. According to smartphone statistics from the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a cell phone, and TechJury’s SMS marketing statistics show that 60% of people read text messages one to five minutes after receiving them.
The increasing amount of attention given to messages sent via text proves that mobile messaging is a useful part of a multi-channel fundraising and engagement strategy. Text messaging specifically is advantageous over other forms of communication for several reasons:
- Email inboxes are often overcrowded and checked less frequently than text messages.
- Successful email campaigns require more from creative teams to craft messaging that drives subscribers to engage with your messages.
- Supply chain shortages and increased costs are complicating the direct mail fundraising landscape, making it less convenient and effective as an outreach tool.
Messages aren’t meant to simply communicate but to convert readers into active participants in your organization. This makes mobile messaging a powerful addition to your other fundraising and engagement efforts.
How can my nonprofit get the most out of mobile messaging?
Texting is a digital channel that nonprofits of all sizes can use to quickly reach supporters right where they are, across programs like advocacy, fundraising, volunteering, and membership.
One common priority for many advocacy program managers is a rapid response—and what’s more rapid than texting? No matter what you’re communicating about, you’ll be primed to engage your supporters right then with a message that meets the moment.
Mobile messaging allows you to use emojis and photos to demonstrate tone and convey an urgent message in a streamlined way, and you can include links to advocacy forms so your supporters can take action, such as signing a petition, and then easily share it with their friends.
Once you’ve successfully contacted your supporters and helped them channel their energy into your cause, you can track information about the actions they took in your unified CRM. That data can help you learn more about each donor and be used in future messages to target appeals to each supporter.
As digital fundraising continues to grow, texting can help you contact the right supporters, with the right messages, at precisely the right times. The urgency and immediacy of mobile messaging can be especially useful when your goal is to channel a viral moment, a holiday, or GivingTuesday into strategic support for the long term.
You can use mobile messaging to link to mobile-optimized donation pages, which you can design and customize so donors know exactly who they’re donating to every step of the way. Once supporters click through to your donation page, you can make sure they’re served with an easy-to-use form. You could even use sustainer upsell lightboxes if growing your recurring giving program or taking a sustainer-first approach is your goal.
Mobile messaging is also a great way to say thank you immediately and sincerely—and that kind of consistency is an important part of stewarding donors for retention.
To make your volunteer program as effective as possible, you’ve probably set goals like growing your volunteer base and retaining existing volunteers. Communication channels like mobile messaging can help you meet those goals by delivering reminders at important times.
Texting can be a great way to remind your volunteers about shifts they’ve signed up for, where to show up, and what to bring, as well as anything they might need to do in advance of their shift. Mobile messaging can also help your most dedicated volunteers invite their friends along.
Building a membership program is all about building relationships, and your staff deserves to spend more of their time on interpersonal work instead of on wrangling data or technology. In practice, that means you can use mobile messaging to send regular, automated reminders about actions you’d like members to take, plus time-sensitive asks like membership renewals.
When the time comes for them to renew, you can use texting to direct your members to self-service pages where they can manage and update their own information—saving both your staff and your members time.
Leverage mobile messaging to boost your fundraising efforts
No matter your organization’s purpose, every nonprofit goes through periods when communicating with different supporter audiences is urgent. Mobile messaging is a natural fit for those moments—plus, as a channel that can easily be combined with other tools, it can help you maximize the effort you put into your campaigns and programs.
Whether your texting program is still in its infancy and you’re focused on driving supporters to opt in, or you’re a seasoned mobile messaging pro, mobile messaging can help you increase supporter engagement, drive more action, and raise more money to support your purpose.