Blog/Best Practices

How to Write the Perfect Advocacy Text

Learn the art of inspiring action through text message advocacy. We'll cover all the elements of the perfect advocacy text and more.

Featured image for the article

When you think of some of the most influential leaders and philanthropists history has offered us, what stands out to you about their words?

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

These famous speeches may have come at different times in history, but they all have one thing in common—they are no more than 60 words long.

20-60 words is all it took to capture the hearts and minds of the world for decades over.

You too have the power to create an impact in just 160-1,600 characters with your text messages. If these great leaders have shown us anything, it’s that less is more when it comes to advocacy.

And today, we’ll break down the anatomy of what that looks like for your text message advocacy campaigns.

Why Use SMS for Advocacy Campaigns?

Texts are a direct, personal way to connect with your audience outside the noise of traditional marketing inboxes. They place your message alongside that of your recipient’s closest friends and family.

Better yet, texting delivers your message to the only inbox with a 98% open rate!

In the spirit of the brevity texting provides, here are a few more quick reasons SMS makes the perfect vessel for your messages:

Photo Credit:  Pooja Rathore

Steps to Write the Perfect Advocacy Text

Writing an advocacy text message isn’t dramatically unlike how you would write any other long-form appeal to action.

The key difference is a need to capture attention and dive into what you want your audience to do far more quickly than you may with an email or letter.

The traditional text message is 160 characters long. However, MMS (multimedia messages) not only allows you up to 1,600 characters of text, but you can also include photos, videos, and PDFs to accompany your message.

Of course, all of this is easier demonstrated through example. So, we’ll imagine we’re a nonprofit writing to advocate for eco-form to our text subscribers. 

Here’s how we would approach the process.

1. An Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence

While it may seem obvious, capturing attention in only one sentence can be tricky. Your opening line needs to be both informative and engaging as you won’t have the time or space to expand on it deeply.

Some common methods for doing this include:

  • Statistics
    • 5,000 people die every day as a result of drinking unclean water.
  • Reference a recent news story or headline
    • According to the Independent, more than 1,300 English sites exceed annual pollution limits this year alone.
  • Ask a question
    • Do you want to learn how to do something to reduce pollution without paying a cent or leaving your couch?

2. Present Your Problem and Data

Next, you’ll get into the core of your text message. This portion should strive to answer the question “why should I care?”

There are a few different strategies for presenting your data in a clear, brief way:

  • Structure it in a problem-solution format
    • Up to 28,000 crucial species can go extinct in the next quarter-century due to deforestation, but we can slow the spread by cutting down meat consumption.
  • Share it in a story
    • For children who grow up near the Citarum River in Indonesia, it’s realistic to say they will never access clean drinking water their whole life due to such severe pollution occurring by our hands.
  • Create an if-then solution
    • If we don’t do more to prevent the extinction of North American bees, then we will no longer be able to grow food such as avocados, apples, onions, and more.

💡 SimpleTexting Tip: Attach a photo of an infographic to include additional material in your text that would make it too long to include in the body!

3. Wrap With a Call to Action (CTA)

The most important part of your advocacy text is the grand finale—the call to action. You want your readers to finish this message knowing exactly what they need to do to get involved.

Here are some of the most popular, SMS-friendly CTAs:

  • Send a link to a petition
    • To help us lobby for higher fines for corporate pollution violations, sign this petition today:
  • Invite subscribers to donate
    • If you’d like to help us fund the clean drinking water project, please consider donating on our website:
  • Share a hashtag they can post to spread awareness
    • To show your support for the fight against deforestation, we invite you to tag us on Instagram and use #MeatlessMonday to inspire less meat consumption!
  • Invite them to reply with user-generated content to help your campaign
    • Text us a selfie of you cleaning up your beaches to be entered into a drawing to win one of our best selling Mama Earth tees!

As you can see, short and sweet doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice quality. Just remember, when writing your advocacy text messages:

  • Always capture attention in one sentence
  • Share your most striking facts in the body of a message, and any supporting information in an attachment
  • Always end with something a reader can do right at that moment to increase the odds of them taking action!

And in the end, you’ll wind up with a knockout advocacy text like this:

Today 12:00 PM
Do you want to do something to save the bees without paying a cent or leaving your couch? Did you know if bees go extinct, then we won’t be able to grow food such as avocados, apples, or onions? To help us lobby for federal protection of endangered bees, sign this petition today:

Never miss a beat!

Stay up to date on the latest marketing trends, tactics, and strategies when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Send Your First Message in Minutes

Start a text marketing campaign or have a 1-on-1 conversation today. It's risk free. Sign up for a 14-day trial and get access to all of our features.

Try Us Free