SoGal is a nonprofit whose mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital. Find out how text messages help them measure their impact.
You may have read about Pocket Sun in The New York Times, Fortune, or Forbes. She’s the co-founder of SoGal—a multimillion-dollar, female-led venture capital firm. Her and her fellow founder, Elizabeth Galbut, have invested in over 60 startups since they began in 2016. Some have gone on to be acquired by Apple, Baidu, and Box.
Sun launched SoGal Ventures because the male-dominated venture capital industry leaves most female entrepreneurs undervalued. Female founders receive just under 3% of venture capital funding, according to the latest research.
SoGal Foundation—the venture capital firm’s sister organization—is a nonprofit dedicated to solving this diversity issue. They offer educational events and resources, community connections, and a global support network with more than 40 chapters of women and underrepresented entrepreneurs across 5 continents.
Kelley Henry is the executive director at SoGal Foundation. We spoke to her about how she and her team use text messages to measure the impact of their work.
How SoGal Measures Their Member Satisfaction
It’s important for every nonprofit to measure its effectiveness, especially those that operate at the scale SoGal does.
“For nonprofits, getting metrics to report back to funders and supporters is always a challenge,” explains Henry. “We knew we’d need to use text messaging, particularly in the US, to get the best response rate possible.”
Henry is referring to the 99% open rate of text messages. Compare this number to emails, which have an average open rate of around 25% in the nonprofit industry.
So how exactly does SoGal use texts to gather meaningful metrics? After an event, Henry uses SimpleTexting’s polling feature to ask guests whether or not they had a positive, helpful experience.
When someone replies with A or B, SimpleTexting tallies the results. As Henry explains, “The polls automatically count positive and negative feedback. This helped us identify that we have a 94% positive net promoter score.”
Automated Follow-Up Texts Collect Additional Feedback
After someone replies to SoGal’s poll, they receive an automated follow-up text which invites them to reply with additional feedback and join the SoGal Facebook group.
“I always see a bump in how many folks are requesting to join our online community after I send a survey, which is great,” says Henry. She also set up automated emails to alert her when someone replies so she can log in and reply directly to members.
Keywords Let SoGal Engage Members at Events
While SoGal primarily uses SimpleTexting to collect feedback, they also use keywords to sign attendees up for future updates and provide additional info. Keywords are memorable words that people can text to a number to subscribe to messages.
For example, after someone texts in the word SoGal to 555888, they receive a link to a survey and a confirmation text. SoGal announces their keyword live during events to ensure a high engagement rate.
“Keywords make it easy to engage with our audience while we’re top-of-mind for them, instead of sending them an email later on,” says Henry.
Where It All Comes Together, the Global Pitch Competition
Text messages help SoGal ensure the programming they host throughout the year is beneficial to their members. All of their efforts culminate in the largest event of the year—the global pitch competition.
They host 25 regional qualifiers where top women and diverse founders from around the globe get the opportunity to pitch in front of angels and VCs.
Finalists win a spot in a 3-day competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley where they get the opportunity to earn a portion of $600,000 in capital from SoGal Ventures. We’re proud to work with SoGal as they make an impact in the lives of underrepresented groups. If your business or nonprofit could benefit from text messages, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial. Nonprofits receive 15% off all monthly plans!