Mobile Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits: It’s More Than Text Messaging

Kevin D. Hendricks
Published on | 
April 5, 2023
Mobile Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits: It’s More Than Text Messaging

We love texting. But here’s the thing: You can’t just tack on text messaging to your marketing strategy and expect it to work. You need an entire mobile marketing strategy. Because the key is reaching people where they are—on their devices—not just sending texts.

Don’t just send text messages.

Send text messages as part of a larger mobile strategy.

SMS is just another channel. But you want a strategy. Your nonprofit needs a mobile marketing strategy that takes advantage of multiple channels that all converge on the Android, Apple, and otherwise devices people carry in their pocket.

What Is a Mobile Marketing Strategy?

Do you truly understand how ubiquitous the mobile device has become? Cell phones are everywhere. People use them all the time. Do people even have landlines anymore? (Less than 30% do.)

  • 97% of American professionals are within 3 feet of their mobile devices 24 hours a day, and they look at their phone 344 times a day.
  • The average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content every day, looking at video, GIFs, messaging apps, and more. They love their whatsapp and imessage.
  • There’s an endless stream of stats showing how much people use their phones and mobile apps.

All those facts are startling (hey, don’t shoot the messenger!). That’s why we say you need to be mobile first. Mobile needs to be your strategy.

So what does a mobile marketing strategy look like? It's about reaching people where they're at—on their mobile device.

It could be a text message they receive on their device, but it could also be an email they read, multimedia they watch, social media they consume—all on their device. It could be a ringless voicemail that goes to their device, even direct mail they connect with through a QR code on their device.

Mobile strategy is not just adding text messaging. Text message marketing is great, but mobile marketing strategy is taking advantage of multiple channels that all converge on the device they carry in their pocket.

At the end of the day, marketers are storytellers. The technology may change, but your marketing campaign is still telling stories. (See how HEADstrong Foundation is employing the power of stories to help families affected by cancer.)

5 Steps to Creating a Mobile Marketing Strategy

Here are five steps to turn your current strategy into a mobile strategy:

1. Don’t Give Up

Oh my gosh, not another strategy overhaul. I just can’t. [Insert overwhelmed emoji.]

We get it. You’re busy, you’re overwhelmed, you don’t have another day to give to a strategy session.

Don’t worry.

Rather than a massive overhaul of your marketing strategy, look at what you’re currently doing and work mobile into it.

There’s no need to start from scratch. So don’t be overwhelmed and throw in the towel. Take small steps to work mobile into what you do. You don’t have to do everything at once. Start small and build on early successes.

2. Make Everything Mobile Friendly

The next step is to make it possible to do everything on mobile. Events, donations, notifications, website, etc.—make sure it all works on mobile. That means text-to-donate, a mobile-friendly website (which you should already have), mass texting, QR codes and text short codes at events, etc.

This sounds like a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be.

You’re not adding on a ton of work, you’re just taking what you do and making sure it can be done on a mobile device.

This should be a baseline standard for everything you do: Can it be done on a mobile device?

3. Make Mobile Upgrades

Now it’s time to look at what sms marketing can do better. The stage announcement, the event info, the donation, email summary, etc.—look at how you can upgrade these standard marketing options with mobile.

  • You were already doing a stage announcement, now just make it work better with mobile.
  • You have all the phone numbers but never the time, now just send a ringless voicemail.
  • You already have an email list, now just let people subscribe with mobile. Do bulk texts or two-way texting. Make the most of your contact list.
  • You were already sending a classic thank you, but what if you could follow up with an immediate thank you via text message as soon as your fundraising event ends?

4. Add New Mobile

Next you should see if there’s room to add new things. What can you do with sms text messaging you weren’t doing before? It could be event reminders, sending video updates, or an end-of-the-year ringless voicemail from your founder.

Again, you don’t need to overwork yourself. Don’t add a million new things. (And we have pre-written text message templates—we built the functionality into our platform!)

Just look for a few small touches that can take your marketing up a notch. You already send a year-end thank you letter from the founder. What if you added phone calls with a quick ringless voicemail with a 30-second message? Hearing your founder’s voice would have major wow factor for your supporters. Who knew voice calls could still be relevant?

5. Be Personal

Remember this is about reaching people where they are. They carry these devices in their pocket and check them all day long. There’s no room for a stuffy direct mail letter. This is about personal connection and immediate relevance.

Focus on making your communication immediate, relevant, and personal.

  • Immediate: We’re in a quick, always-on, real-time world. People want to know what’s happening now. So use mobile to share in-the-moment updates. Post pics from your event as it happens. Send updates when your fundraiser hits a new milestone. When your nonprofit is changing lives, show stories of those successes as they happen.
  • Relevant: Everything you communicate has to connect with people. This is an ancient marketing rule, but it’s even more true today with mobile. You have more intimate access to people than ever before (you’re in their pocket!), so you have to make it count. Segment your audience. Use Rally Insights to better understand your supporters and send targeted messages.
  • Personal: It’s all about that personal touch. You want to have a conversation with your supporters, not just blast them with mass-market messages. Mobile tools can allow a small team to manage multiple conversations and forge those personal connections. (See how Special Olympics Virginia talks about the value of personal communication.)

Make Your Nonprofit Matter

Effective mobile marketing strategy is about making your nonprofit connect to people in the midst of their busy, wired lives. They’re glued to their phones, so that’s where you need to be.

Remember: You’re communicating a message they care about. Your supporters want to make a difference. They want to change the world. They want to matter.

So even though it feels like you’re fighting an uphill battle against all the noise and distractions, you’ve got a leg up on the commercial, for-profit world. You’re sharing a message that matters. Your supporters want to support you, it’s just a matter of showing up in a way that gets through the noise. Mobile marketing can help you make your mark.

Rally can help you upgrade your mobile marketing. Get started now to see it in action. We’ve got workflows, FAQs, and more to improve your customer experience. We can talk pricing, integrating with your CRM, and how to use our text messaging service. We’re here to help.

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