Find out how your organization can use text messages to raise awareness and build a strong base of supporters.
Ninety percent of text messages are read within just minutes of being received. For nonprofits, foundations and other social enterprises, this high level of engagement poses a huge opportunity to keep donors informed. Let’s walk through how you can get more people invested in your organization’s mission and turn them into donors using text messages.
How Does Text-to-Donate Work?
Unfortunately, carriers such as AT&T do not allow text messages that include donation links. This limits the ability of nonprofits to fundraise directly through SMS. However, you can still use text messages as part of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy by leveraging them as a tool to tell your organization’s story. Here’s an overview of how it works.
1. Choose a number to send donation requests from
Every SimpleTexting account is automatically set up with a toll-free number capable of sending text messages to large groups. You can choose to switch to one of our shared short codes. These are easy-to-remember, 5 to 6-digit numbers such as 56525. We can also help you acquire a vanity phone number such as 1-800-TURTLES. In the next step, you’ll understand why a memorable number is an important part of setting up text-to-donate.
2. Select a memorable keyword
A keyword is a word or phrase that people can text in to your number to subscribe to your messages. For example, a nonprofit dedicated to saving the bees might choose the keyword “BUZZ.”
3. Tell supporters about your text-to-donate program
With your keyword selected, the next step is to have potential donors text the keyword to your number. Once they’ve texted in the keyword, they’ll be automatically subscribed to your messages. Remember, texts shouldn’t be used to send links to donation pages. Instead, use them as a way to garner support for your cause.
How to Set up Text-to-Donate in 8 Steps
1. Create awareness with SMS marketing
Before collecting donations, you need to have an audience of people who care deeply about your cause. Mass texting is a cost-effective way to inform large groups about the issue at hand. We’ll explain how to do this in the following steps.
2. Create a keyword specific to your cause
Every SimpleTexting plan comes with unlimited keywords. Make sure to pick a keyword that relates directly to your cause and is easy to remember. For example, Eagle Brook Church helped raise for their mission trip efforts in Haiti using the keyword, you guessed it, HAITI. This way, even if someone chooses not to subscribe to message right away, they can easily recall the keyword later.
With your keyword selected, advertise it in any place where someone may be carrying a mobile device. (Hint: That’s everywhere.) Put it in magazines and newspaper ads. Print it on t-shirts and shout it from the rooftops. And, without a doubt, share it on social media.
When advertising your keyword, be sure to include all the disclaimers required by law. Click here to see more examples of compliant calls-to-action.
3. Add data collection to your keyword
With our data collection feature, you can easily request additional info from supporters such as first name, last name, email, and birthday. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting it up. As we mentioned, regulations around text messages prohibit sending donations links. This means that having potential donors emails will come in handy when it’s time to fundraise.
4. Set up automated reminders
Even your most passionate supporters get busy sometimes. Keep your cause top of mind with drip campaigns a.k.a autoresponders. These allow you to create reminders that send out automatically. Schedule them to send hours, days or even a few weeks after your supporters initially opt-in to your messages.
5. Send donation links by email
This is where all of the efforts listed above come together. In step 3, you collected email addresses. Now send your subscribers a link to your online donation page. If your nonprofit’s website doesn’t already have a donation page, consider using a platform like GoFundMe.
6. Connect SimpleTexting to your nonprofit’s email platform
Our Mailchimp and Zapier integrations allow you to effortlessly pass information about who donated to SimpleTexting. Use our segments feature to send personalize the messages you send to supporters and donors.
7. Follow up with donors
Turn one-time donors into lifetime supporters by regularly following up with them. A simple thank you is a good start, but SMS messages are also a convenient way to send progress reports to your stakeholders. When donors are informed, they feel personally involved with your cause. And when they feel personally involved, they’re more likely to donate again and again.
8. Add existing donors
Don’t just use texts to connect with donors who subscribed using your text-to-donate keyword, add the people who have been supporting you since the beginning! You can easily import them to our platform. Just make sure you have their consent before sending out a text blast. This simple step can go a long way in reducing donor churn.
Is Text-to-Donate Safe?
Yes. Text-to-donate is completely safe and secure. Remember, your donors never send any sensitive payment information by text. Payment links are not allowed, either. Instead, texting is used to inform potential donors about your cause. While our platform allows you to request basic info such as first name, last name, and email, the actual payment is handled directly on your website or third-party donation site.
Is Text-to-Donate the Same as Text-to-Give?
Not exactly. They both require keywords and short codes, but there’s an important difference in how payments are collected between the two. With text to give, nonprofits predetermine the donation amount. When a donor texts in the keyword, the amount is billed to their cell phone bill by their carrier. This means that the organization has to wait for the carrier to process the payment. Sometimes this can take up to three months! By using SimpleTexting to keep supporters engaged, and collect emails to send links to your existing payment platform, there is no delay while you wait for funds.
Thousands of nonprofits use texting to engage their supporters and rally support. Sign up to try our platform free for 14 days and find out how easy it really is to get started. Our team loves seeing nonprofits succeed using SMS marketing, which is why we offer a 15% discount for501(c)(3) organizations. We’re here for you 7 days a week if you have any questions!
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