How Texting Increased U.S. Hunger’s Click Through Rate by 83%

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U.S. Hunger is a national nonprofit organization feeding those in need with dignity and discretion. Since introducing SMS to its campaign, the organization has engaged over 20,000 recipients through text messaging alone.

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Founded to address food shortages across the U.S. and abroad, U.S. Hunger is an innovative impact organization that aims to understand the root causes of hunger. With dignity and discretion, the organization has distributed over 140 million meals and counting.

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Initially known for in-person food packing events, U.S. Hunger shifted their focus to online efforts in 2020 due to the pandemic. Serving millions of people across the U.S., the organization was looking for an easy and effective way to reach those who need them most, including those without internet access.

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As a result of online and SMS efforts, U.S. Hunger became the first virtual food bank in the U.S. The 88% SMS click-through rate has increased their average CTR to 77%. Expanding beyond email has meant the organization’s response rate is over double the industry standard.

Around the world, a predicted 1.4% of the global population will fall into extreme poverty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., that number is reflected in the 24 million adults experiencing poverty-related hunger every day.

One of the nonprofit organizations making a difference in these statistics is U.S. Hunger.

U.S. Hunger’s mission is “feeding families today and uniting them to a healthier tomorrow.” The organization has built a national reputation for assisting the country’s most poverty-stricken with access to nutritious meals. 

One of the key issues facing those in need of food is the shame associated with being unable to provide for yourself and your family.

Beyond putting food on the table, the nonprofit strives to address the root causes of food poverty and uphold its values of dignity and discretion in providing its service.

How Has U.S. Hunger Used Texting to Expand Its Mission?

In 2018, the organization launched Full Cart, America’s first virtual food bank service powered by technology. 

Previously run mainly through its website and email, U.S. Hunger needed another way to reach people. Following their mantra of dignity and discretion, text messaging was an easy way for others to reach out without feeling overwhelmed. 

The nationwide delivery program now uses both email and text messaging to communicate with those who need its services. 

Many of their clients had little or no access to the internet. Alexandra, Client Experience Manager at U.S. Hunger, told us, “Our engagement was down before signing up for SimpleTexting as we primarily communicated through email.”

Where previously the nonprofit experienced a CTR on its emails of 42%, they found that text messages have a CTR of 88%. When used together, the CTR was 77%, demonstrating the importance text messaging has played in reaching those in need of the service.

Hi Alice! Full Cart here, donors have sponsored you to get a box of fresh produce that will be delivered next week! Click below to say thanks

How U.S. Hunger Uses Keywords to Make Full Cart Accessible

When U.S. Hunger transitioned from being an in-person service, it knew changes had to be made to its communication plan.

They started using SimpleTexting’s keyword feature to make access and 2-way communication as easy as possible. A keyword is a word, phrase, or other combination of numbers and letters that allows people to subscribe to your text messages.

The nonprofit began using FULLCART as its keyword. Whenever somebody texts FULLCART to the toll-free number, they receive an automated reply.

Thank you for joining The Village! If you are in need of emergency food assistance reply FOOD, if you would like to donate, reply DONATE.

The response started conversations between U.S. Hunger and the person texting in.

Alexandra tells us that since signing up with SimpleTexting, it’s the “first time we have been able to truly engage our clients. This helps us understand the root causes of hunger.”

Thanks to the accessibility of text messaging, there are no fears that their messages are going unread. With SMS, the nonprofit can follow-up with applicants, update them on when their food will be delivered, and ask for feedback on their experience.

We’d love your feedback on your most recent experience with Full Cart! Please take a moment to answer 2 questions:

Since the introduction of SimpleTexting in October, the nonprofit has successfully engaged with over 20,000 Full Cart recipients through text alone.

U.S. Hunger Will Continue To Operationalize Dignity With Text Messaging

SimpleTexting is now a vital tool to the Client Experience team, a team whose sole responsibility is to reach out to clients through text messaging, phone calls, and emails.

And the expansion won’t stop there. Thanks to the success of their Full Cart program, U.S. Hunger’s plans are to use text messaging to recruit donors and volunteers.

“We want to have a full-blown engagement plan. We’ll use keywords for specific events, and to make it easy for those who want to help. It’s so easy to advertise keywords because we can put them everywhere: on newsletters, on food boxes, on our website. That’s the direction we’re headed, and we’ll definitely be using SimpleTexting for that side of things too.”

U.S. Hunger is always looking for volunteers and donations to help them achieve their mission of feeding those in need.

If you’re a nonprofit organization or charity looking to take engagement to the next level, why not start with our 14-day free trial? If you want to learn more about SMS marketing for nonprofits, our industry guide is a good starting point.

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