7 Examples of Using Text Messages for Nonprofit Donations

Kevin D. Hendricks
7 Examples of Using Text Messages for Nonprofit Donations

Getting people to donate to your nonprofit can be a challenge, so the easier you make it, the better. Using text messaging is a simple way to get an instant response. 

Why Mobile Fundraising?

98% of Americans have a cell phone. And we use those mobile devices all the time—at the kitchen table, in bed when we should be sleeping, even on the toilet (ew, but true). Your nonprofit organization wants to reach people where they are, so a text-to-give campaign is an ideal way to reach your fundraising goals.

  • Effective: The open rate and response rate for text messages is way higher than email marketing—open rates at 25% for email versus 98% for texting and response rates of 2-4% for email and 48% for texting. Plus it beats out social media because you’re building an audience you own.
  • Sense of urgency: People respond to SMS text messaging almost immediately—within 90 seconds on average. That makes SMS fundraising an ideal way to give an urgent call to action (CTA) and get quick results in a short amount of time.
  • Outreach: Once you have new donors’ names and mobile phone numbers, you can follow up with SMS marketing for real donor engagement. You can say thank you, share fundraising campaign updates, make additional donation requests, invite them to fundraising events, pitch Giving Tuesday, reach out to last year’s donors, tell your story, and so much more. And with Rally, you can respond with two-way texting, because donors text too.
  • Agnostic: Apple vs. Android doesn’t matter. They all use texts. It’s not a mobile app, so it doesn’t matter if they prefer iOS or not. It can also work with your existing fundraising software.

How’s SMS Fundraising Work?

A text 2 give campaign is a fundraising strategy that can help you connect with prospective donors. It’s also know as text 2 donate—the terms are often used interchangeably, but here’s the difference between text to give and text to donate campaigns. 

Whatever you call text message marketing, here’s what the customer experience looks like:

  • Basics: It relies on short message service (SMS) text messaging and your existing donation page. SMS messages can be a way to supercharge your fundraising efforts because it builds on what you’re already doing.
  • Action: You make the pitch and potential donors respond by texting a custom keyword to a shortcode (a short code is what it sounds like—a short phone number that’s easy to remember).
  • Donate: Your nonprofit texts back with a short message and a link to your online donation form. They complete the donation through your typical donation process, entering any donation amount they want, donor information, their credit card info, and crossing the finish line. You can also offer recurring donations.
  • Forward: With this fundraising method, you have donor data to allow for easy follow up for future mobile donations. Whether you’re sharing your story, inviting them to a gala, or just saying thank you, it’s vital to connect with supporters going forward and as easy as a notification.

7 Fundraising Text Message Examples That Hit the Mark

Here are seven text donation message examples from nonprofits using texting to make it easier to donate:

1. Easy Donate Option in Video

  • Organization: First Responders Children’s Foundation
  • What they did: Shared a video featuring Ryan Seacrest (celebrity messenger!) urging people to support first responders: “Let’s show up for the people who show up for us everyday.” The video encourages people to text “BRAVE” to 24365 to donate.
  • Share: This video approach is easily sharable on social media sites and can tap into peer-to-peer fundraising.
  • Tip: Text messaging doesn’t have to be limited to text. You can share links to online videos or use multimedia messaging service (MMS) to share short videos directly via mass texting. You can even use GIFs and emojis!

2. Simple Pitch From the Stage

  • Organization: Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
  • What they did: Tarek Abujabarah from Palestine Children’s Relief Fund used Rally during a first-time fundraising event to encourage his audience to donate.
  • The impact: “The event was great and a big success for us,” he said. “We managed to hit our target in terms of donations, and about 50% of them came through the text-to-donate system.” The event’s emcee repeatedly invited the audience to text a keyword to 24365 to donate. Abujabarah added that it was a simple way to get people to act in the moment and they were able to get it set up and collect donations just a few days before the live event.

3. Meeting a Stranger

  • Organization: My360Project
  • Challenge: Darryl Carnley from My360Project has never met a stranger. In fact, he loves to meet new people and is always sharing his passion for putting shoes on the feet of kids around the world. One afternoon while sitting in a coffee shop waiting on a friend, he met a woman and struck up a conversation. During the exchange, she asked Carnley if he had a card. Embarrassed, he didn't.
  • Solution: But he offered a simple option for her to find his website by suggesting she text “SHOES” to 24365.
  • The impact: When he returned to the office later that day, he discovered that not only did she visit the site, but gave $1,000 via their mobile giving platform. He now carries a business card with a QR code to his text-to-donate number/keyword—that way he is sure to capture their number to thank them for their interest (or donation).
  • Tip: From live events (in-person or livestream) to social media platforms to in-person connections, implementing this kind of text-to-give strategy is extremely flexible.
  • More: Read our case study with My360Project.

4. Association Donations

  • Organization: The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is the largest association for agri-marketing professionals in the country.
  • What they do: Use Rally’s text-to-donate feature to encourage people to text “NAMA” to 24365 to donate and create a positive impact. This initiative is an easy fundraising solution.
  • Tip: A simple and clear call to action can make a huge difference for your fundraising efforts.

5. Festival Donations

  • Organization: Richmond Folk Festival
  • Challenge: Cash and landlines have gone the way of the dinosaur, which means the festival’s in-person donation buckets weren’t being filled. But they have their smartphones!
  • Solution: So they added a text-to-donate option with Rally, where people could text “FOLK” to 24365 and donate with a credit card or debit card.
  • The impact: “We’re thrilled how easy it is for the user,” said Stephen Lecky, director of events for Venture Richmond, in Style Weekly. “The analytics are going to be amazing. We’ll be able to quickly see how donations are going and where they’re coming from, if there’s a particularly great performance on one stage. I’m excited to see it happen in real time.”

6. Toy Drive

  • Organization: Los Angeles County Fire Department
  • What they did: Used Rally for their annual toy drive. The Spark of Love toy drive encouraged supporters to text “SPARK” to 24365 to donate. ​​
  • The impact: By the end of the drive they were able to deliver more than 27,000 toys and sports equipment to children and teens in the Southern California area.

7. Share a Win

  • Organization: Ascencia is a nonprofit that lifts people out of homelessness.
  • What they did: Texted a picture of Juan in his new home and told the story of how Ascencia case managers worked with Juan to get him a new start. Then they made a quick donation message to "please support others in need of a home"—simple and compelling.
  • Don’t forget: Sharing your successes is a huge way to both encourage your supporters and prompt more donations. You can share it with your supporters via text message, then make a social media post to reach a wider audience and further boost donations.
  • Tip: Visuals always help. Share a picture.
Cell phone showing a text message from Ascencia about Juan finding a home.

Text to Give Fundraising With Rally

Those are just seven quick examples of nonprofits using our text messaging service to encourage online donations with Rally. If you want to make raising funds easier, book a demo now to see how Rally can make mobile giving work for you.

  • Fundraising tools: Our text messaging platform has the functionality to make a real difference, including API integrations with your fundraising platform and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, fundraising thermometer for crowdfunding, ringless voicemail, QR codes for direct mail, segmentation to narrow your contact list and reach the right audience, and more.
  • Easy: Our text-to-give platform is super user friendly. But if you need help, whether it’s using the Rally platform or answering initial questions from pricing to strategy, we’re just a phone call away. We also offer FAQs, webinars, interactive workflows, and plenty of online fundraising resources, including text message templates for a streamlined writing process.
  • Flexible: We offer bulk texting, two-way texting, and voice calls for whatever your marketing campaign requires. Since we use your existing online giving process, Rally can offer multiple giving options.

Supporters give donations to nonprofits they love, but you also have to be present and approachable. The best text message strategy can put you exactly where your donors are and then you’ll see giving snowball.

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