8 Ways to Use Text Engagement in Your Fundraising Strategy

April 5, 2019
6 min

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take,"—timeless wisdom bestowed to us by Michael Scott by way of Wayne Gretzky. If you've been on the fence about incorporating a text-to-give solution into your fundraising strategy, it's finally time to take a shot. Text messaging for nonprofits is sort of a no-brainer. What other channels can you send a donation ask and get a 95% open rate? Email and direct mail don't even come close to that type of engagement.

We understand, adopting a new technology to reach donors is scary, but it doesn't have to be. When your Text Engagement solution is paired with nonprofit technology like Funraise's, you've got an easy way to text all your donors whenever you want—although timing is everything.

We want to help you live your best funding life, so after you've made the decision to say yes to the text, here are eight ways you can use text engagement to connect with your supporters.

Donation asks

For decades, nonprofits have subscribed to the same tactics to ask donors for donations—snail mail, phone calls, in-person events—and all those are great, but the future has finally arrived. Texting your supporters is rising in popularity and is a terrific way to make the ask year-round. A text-to-give campaign can be paired with your annual appeal, a special project, or for one-off program funding. Basically, all the same reasons you've been asking for funds, but with more immediacy and brevity.

Get real example: "Jolene! Thank you for being such an amazing supporter. DollyWorld is in desperate need of repairs. Please donate and help bring back the magic: tiny.url/dfsdr"

Event communications

Planning is underway for your next fundraising event—communicating with attendees before, during and after the event is essential. Of course, you'll send event invites through your usual avenues, but what about other important event happenings? Before the event, use your text-to-give solution to message your event attendees with parking or venue details or changes. Or, text supporters a reminder to sign up for the silent auction ahead of time. Want to make it even more exciting? Plan your event at a secret location and text attendees the address the night before to build anticipation!

During the event, use Text Engagement to tell attendees you're close to meeting your fundraising goal and how their donation could move the progress bar forward. After the event, let attendees know how much you raised with their help and thank them for showing up. Even include a link to an update or impact page on your website showcasing how their donations are being put to work.

Get real example: "Hey Mario, see you at the anniversary dinner tonight! It's raining cats & dogs, so we're moving the event from the garden to the ballroom. See you soon!"

Illustrated group of people (two woman and one man) holding their mobile devices. Art by Sophie Cunningham

Peer-to-peer campaign alerts

Social fundraising is so in right now and nonprofits are reaping the benefits. If you're running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, texting about your fundraiser is a must. Spread the word about your campaign to your supporters and ask them to share with their networks so you have an increased chance of meeting your goals.

Raising money to fix the roof at your community building? Text your supporters about how they can help. $1,000 away from reaching your goal? Text your supporters and ask them to share with their networks. Only 24 hours left to donate to your campaign? Text away!

Get real example: "Tell your friends, to tell their friends, to tell their friends! FriendsRUs is fundraising for our mentorship program. Help us spread the word! tiny.url/dfasfs"

Expired payment information

Since text engagement is directly connected to your nonprofit CRM with Funraise, you'll know exactly when your donor's payment information is expiring. It would be a shame to let those donations lapse. Segment your list by expiration date and send automatic texts to kindly remind your recurring donors to update their information. Unlike email that can easily be ignored, texts cut through the clutter so your message gets to supporters.

Get real example: "Here's a friendly card expiration reminder from CUREpilepsy for our favorite donor: Update your payment info now and never miss a donation. tiny.url/dfasfs"

Impact/success stories

Feel-good stories are the perfect way to utilize text engagement because 1) your donors won't expect it since they're so used to you asking them for money and 2) you'll put a smile on someone's face. A double whammy! Text your supporters what you did with all the funds raised from your peer-to-peer campaign. Or let them know about a specific person, place or thing that's benefitted from your recent fundraising efforts.

Get real example: "Danny, thanks for your support of WorldNeedsLove! Because of your donation, Julie can now get the surgery she needs. Read her story: tiny.url/dfdfssdf"

Urgent/emergency response alerts

Need. Donations. Now. When there's a crisis, there is no better way to ask for help than a text message. You're probably familiar with large nonprofits using this tactic to bring awareness to natural disasters or humanitarian crises and solicit donations from their supporters with success. While the definition of what's urgent changes from nonprofit to nonprofit, this tactic can be a lifesaver when you're trying to achieve something huge in a short amount of time. With that said, you should use this tactic sparingly and only when very necessary, but when you do, expect the donations to come pouring in.

Get real example: "Hi, it's Flood Relief! El Nino's ravaged the Coast & families desperately need supplies. Donate $10 to provide a blanket & food for one: tiny.url/dfdrs"

Solidarity/Rally Attendance

What if you're a cause-based organization and need people to be somewhere at a certain time to support? Send a text! Planning a social justice rally to fight climate change? Send off a text to your supporters to attend.

Get real example: "Hey Rosie, we know you care about saving whales. WhaleWatchers is holding a rally Sat. Nov. 12 @ 2pm to stop poachers. Join us? RSVP here: tiny.url/dfdszgr"

Market research

Working on your five-year strategic fundraising plan and need input from your most active donors? Use Text Engagement to thank them for their unwavering support and ask that they take a short survey. This is a great way to gain insight into how your donors prefer to be contacted, helping you refine your overall fundraising strategy.

Get real example: "Hi Jay! Thanks for your support of Books for Bucks! We appreciate you & would love your input. Please help us by taking this short survey: tiny.url/gsdfge"

With so many many ways to use text engagement, it's no wonder organizations are clamoring to say yes to the text! We expect text-to-give to shine for years to come and want to make sure you're fully equipped to hop on this new frontier. The most important thing to remember is that just like any other fundraising strategy, having a plan of action will help you make the most out of this exciting technology. We're here for you. Text ya later!

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