How to Build a Text to Give Strategy That Wins

Kevin D. Hendricks
Published on | 
June 12, 2024
How to Build a Text to Give Strategy That Wins

Mobile fundraising is the latest frontier for nonprofit giving, but you need a text to give strategy. Plan out your marketing so you’re specifically targeting the right donors and making the most of text to give fundraising.

Don’t just throw this new technology against the wall and see what sticks. Instead think through a serious marketing strategy.

Why Use Text to Give?

Wait a minute—why should nonprofit organizations use a text to donate campaign in the first place? That’s a good question. It’s important to understand why text to give can be so effective. 

3 Reasons Why Text to Give Works

Let’s look at just three reasons why we think text to give can be effective for you:

  1. Reach people where they are: Where are people today? Mostly on their mobile phones. Americans carry their cell phones 24/7 and use them everywhere—from the bathroom to the bedroom. Text message marketing allows you to reach them where they are right now. It’s why the open rates and response rates for text messaging are so much better than email or social media.
  2. Make it easy to give: The text-to-give process is simple. You ask people to text a keyword to a short code (text RALLY to 24365, as an example—try it!). The text to give platform automatically sends a link to your donation form where they can complete their donation from their phone. No remembering to do it later. No typing in a long URL. No waiting for an email.
  3. Build a foundation to connect: One-time donations are great, but a successful nonprofit organization wants recurring donations. You want those new donors to come back. That happens by building a relationship. Because you can reach people where they are, text messaging allows for a personal, effective connection going forward. It’s a contact you control, not subject to the fickle social media platforms.

At the end of the day, Rally’s goal is to mobilize your mission. We want to see nonprofits build a following and be able to rally those people to action. SMS text messaging is a powerful way to do that. 

What’s Your Goal?

The next step for successful text-to-give fundraising is to clearly establish your goals. What do you hope to accomplish with your text to donate campaign? 

  • Increase donations: Yes, more giving is a big win. That’s an obvious and common goal. You should absolutely aim for this, but be aware that it’s not the only goal.
  • Grow your list: A secondary fundraising goal should be to grow your contact list with more phone numbers and donors’ names. Remember, one of the reasons to use text messaging is to connect with people and grow your list long term. Think beyond your next fundraising campaign. 
  • Build donor relationships: Since you want to grow that list and build a foundation to connect, one of your goals should be to engage donors. More than getting them to give money, you want to start a relationship that will turn them into recurring donors. That happens with engagement, telling stories, sharing results, saying thank you.
  • Event engagement: A lot of text-to-give campaigns are tied to fundraisers. You might have an upcoming charity auction, gala, or other fundraising event. Text to give is ideal for a live audience where you can quickly communicate how to donate in the moment. People can literally pull out their phones and give! That’s huge. But remember long-term engagement—don’t ramp up text messages for your fundraiser and then go quiet. You should be texting all year long.
Text to Give Goals

Build Text to Give Strategies to Accomplish Those Goals

Now that we understand the power of text to give and have looked at specific goals we can talk fundraising strategy.

Use Text to Give Everywhere

The power of text message fundraising is that it’s easy, so make it ubiquitous. Roll it out everywhere you might interact with potential donors:

  • Social media: Share your text-to-give campaign on social media posts, videos, and more. Make it quick and obvious how to donate. Put it in your about info. Share it in videos, both in audio and in on-screen graphics. Works great for those social media platforms who limit links and make it hard to send people to your donate form. 
  • Direct mail: You can pair your text-to-give campaign with a QR code and use that QR code in print materials. It’s way easier to pull out your phone, scan a QR code, and go straight to the donation form than have to type in a URL—or even worse, mail a check!
  • Events: Put your keywords and short code combo on screen. Use the QR code on table tents, posters, and other printed material around your nonprofit fundraiser. Share the keyword and short code from the stage. The Rock School for Dance Education found big success when they asked people to silence their phones—but first consider a donation while their phones are out.
  • Peer fundraising: This kind of ubiquitous marketing campaign makes it easy for your supporters to spread the word. They might not link to your donate page, but a simple keyword and short code is something they can pass along. But only if they hear it repeatedly and that repetition allows it to sink in.
  • Press: The keyword and short code is ideal to share in interviews and press conferences. Make sure your spokesperson shares it often.

Tools Can Leverage Donations

Take advantage of the many fundraising tools to leverage more mobile donations. 

  • At an in-person or online fundraising event, an interactive fundraising thermometer can be a powerful way to create competition and even increase donation amounts.
  • Expand your donor information with data append and personalize your follow-up messages.
  • Use Rally Insights to look at your new donors and create new segments for targeted responses.
  • Drop a ringless voicemail from your CEO for a star-powered thank you.

Get Your Team on Board

It’s important to get your team on board with text-to-give donations. That’s one way to make sure your nonprofit is using it everywhere—make sure the whole team understands the donation process, the benefits of text donations, and is on board with mobile giving.

This works best as a top-down strategy. Get your leadership on board, whether it’s a founder or CEO. When they understand the simplicity of it, they can share it everywhere they go. This does wonders for My360Project, where founder Darryl Carnley drops “text SHOES to 24365” everywhere he goes with impressive results.

Build a Follow-up Plan

Engaging donors means you need to move beyond one-time donations. You want to convert new donors into recurring donors. That happens with engagement and connection. So create a plan for multiple text messages to follow up on that first donation. 

Here are a few suggestions for a text-to-give follow-up campaign:

  • Say thank you: Your parents taught you manners, plus gratitude is another connection point.
  • Share results: Talk about what their donation is accomplishing or share the success of your fundraiser. Help people understand what their giving does and make them feel like a part of the team.
  • Tell a story: Showcase the work your nonprofit does and how it makes a difference. Now that they’re on board, this is what they’re a part of. It’s OK to brag about what you accomplish—donors want to know they’re part of something amazing.
  • Next steps: Share opportunities to get more involved. Talk about future events or upcoming volunteer opportunities. 
  • Give more: Once you’ve had multiple touchpoints and opportunities to build that relationship, then it’s OK to ask for another donation. But make sure you build that foundation first.

Ongoing Connection

Whatever text to give strategies you put in place, remember that text to give isn’t a one-time use, it should be a consistent way to connect. 

Text to Give Strategy: We Can Help

At Rally, we’re here to help you get results. We’d love to talk strategy and set up text to donate to create an effective giving experience for your nonprofit. Our tools and experience can boost your fundraising efforts, maximize donor engagement, and propel your cause forward.

  • Text-to-give platform: Mobile fundraising is easy with our fundraising tools. People can text a custom keyword to a short code and get a quick link to your donation form. It uses your existing online giving process, so it’s streamlined and user-friendly. They can use a credit card or debit card right on their mobile device through your online donation page.
  • Giving tools: We offer integration with multiple fundraising platforms and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, plus other integrations, and fundraising tools including ringless voicemail, a fundraising thermometer, and Rally Insights to supercharge your donor data.
  • Solid support: Our functionality is simple and easy to use, but if you ever need help we’re here. We’ve got FAQs, pre-written text message templates, webinars, office hours, and more. Plus, we’re happy to take a real-time voice call. Just check out our case studies and see how our nonprofit customers rave about our customer service.

Book a demo today and let’s talk about your text to give strategy and how we can help you get results.

Book a Demo button