How nonprofits use MMS for more impactful messaging

Learn about how sending nonprofit MMS messages can help you relay stronger, more appealing content to your audience.

A text message from your nonprofit provides a quick, 160-character moment to capture the hearts and minds of donors, volunteers, and supporters alike. But what if you could expand your messages to create an impact that stays with recipients throughout their day?

With MMS, it’s possible.

Multimedia message service (MMS) empowers nonprofits to text rich media to their audiences. Think images, GIFs, videos, PDFs, audio files, and more.

So let’s explore how your nonprofit could use MMS to engage your audiences.

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How does MMS improve nonprofit messaging?

Semiotics, or the study of how techniques like photos and videos influence audiences on a subconscious level, is nothing new to nonprofits.

The belief within this social science is that a thoughtful choice of visuals can have a direct impact on behaviors such as increased donations and mood management. I’ll spare you the details, but researchers have found a pretty direct correlation between images and donations.

Rich media allows you to show recipients something instead of telling them. And that kind of demonstration results in a deeper, more meaningful bond with the content.

The same principle stands in storytelling. Images are just as effective storytelling devices as text, but together they’re unstoppable messaging machines.

This is where MMS comes in. As opposed to its counterpart (SMS) that solely sends short-form text messages, MMS allows you to send rich media such as photos or videos. MMS also extends your character limit from 160 to 1,600!

Combine the two and you’ve got a fairly robust new way to communicate with your nonprofit’s audiences.

Examples of nonprofit MMS messages you could send

You can use MMS to send images that help you to show your recipients something with your messages as opposed to just telling them. For example:

1. Improve donation thank-you messages”

Children eating school lunch MCHS: Thanks to you, 1,000 children in Mecklenburg County have their school lunches covered for the year. Thanks to your donation, these kids know where their next meal is.

2. Demonstrate a need for supplies or donations:

Dogs in a shelter 4LuvOfDog: This month we took in an extra 100 dogs and our need for food is great. Please consider dropping off a bag to the shelter!

3. Show progress on a project that donations/volunteer hours contributed to:

A home being built Habitat for Humanity: Hey, build team! Thanks for putting in awesome work this week. Thanks to you, this neighborhood is halfway done and ready to re-home 18 hurricane victims.

4. Encourage people to continue to give by sharing outcome-related pictures:

Presents at a charity SHARE Charlotte: 80% of our families have their Christmas needs met. Let’s get to 100% by Friday! These are the gifts we need: [link]

What are the other benefits of nonprofit MMS?

When you include images in your texts, you invite subscribers to get more involved with your cause, whether it’s with their time, emotions, or resources. 

That kind of impact is a key ingredient in any recipe for engagement.

In addition to encouraging an emotional connection, MMS has other benefits.

  • Images can help you educate: It’s the most fluid way to attain information as it takes a lot longer to read and process text than it does to analyze a visual.
  • Images are memorable: An image is far more likely to be recalled vs. something like a description, blog post, or text-based ad.
  • Images increase attention span: If you use MMS for the 1,600 characters, know that the inclusion of a photo increases the odds your message will be read to completion! Interesting and engaging images are proven to increase text comprehension.
  • Images increase message engagement: When images are included in an article or blog, they receive 94% more total views than ones without. 

How to set up nonprofit MMS

Leveraging the power of MMS is easier than you think. Here’s an easy guide to get you started.


Campaigns are great for getting one message out to your whole subscriber base instantly.

  1. Find Campaigns on the left-side menu of your account screen.
  2. Click New and pick MMS as your message type.
  3. Set a name for your campaign and write your message. If you include a link, use the link shortener for results tracking later.
Setting up a volunteer MMS campaign
  1. Select the paperclip icon at the top of the message box and either upload your media file or include it from a URL.
  2. Choose your file and pick Include 1 file.
Adding an image to an MMS campaign
  1. Choose which contact list will get your message.
  2. Decide whether to send your campaign now, schedule it for a future date, or set it as recurring.
How a campaign looks with a picture attached

The inbox

You can also send MMS messages through SimpleTexting’s inbox for more individual interactions.

  1. From your SimpleTexting account, navigate to Inbox on the left-hand menu.
  2. Kick off a new conversation or continue an existing one.
  3. Create your message in the box (or pick a template from the bookmark icon).
  4. Select the paperclip icon and upload your media as a file or add it from a URL, then pick Include 1 file.
Attaching images to inbox messages
  1. Send your text or schedule it using the clock icon.
Getting ready to send an MMS message through the inbox1q

This article was originally published October 29, 2019. It was updated and repurposed September 19, 2023. Meghan Tocci contributed to this piece.