Ready to launch a mass text messaging campaign for your year-end fundraising efforts?
You better start now.
Setting up your text messaging campaign can take six weeks or more.
If this is your nonprofit’s first time doing a short message service (SMS) campaign, you’ll need to work in advance to make sure your text-to-donate campaign happens on time.
Why so Long? Verification
Launching an effective SMS text messaging campaign can take so long because you need to verify the phone number used to send your text messages.
What is verification?: Cell phone carriers are verifying toll-free numbers for out-bound text messaging to reduce spam and restore trust. It’s a process that confirms proper opt-in procedures and compliance.
Why get verified?: If you send more than 2,000 text messages per month you need to have a verified phone number or you risk being blocked or filtered by the mobile carriers (like AT&T and Verizon).
- Cell phone carriers are clamping down on mass texting where organizations just blast a list.
- Compliance is always important with texting and online giving, so you want to follow the rules (don’t blame the messenger).
- Some text messaging platforms will happily sign you up and send your text messages the same day, but they’re not telling you how awful your delivery rate will be. (At Rally, we’re human centered, so we believe your communications tools should tell you the full story.)
How do I get verified?: Rally will take care of your verification process as part of your onboarding and setup.
What about a short code?: This only applies to assigned toll-free platform numbers. If your nonprofit organization is only using Rally’s 24365 short code with a keyword to capture incoming donations, then you don’t need verification. While you can use 24365 for simple text-to-give campaigns, setting up a toll-free platform number allows you to do more—including text message campaigns, replies, calling, and voicemails.
The Best Text Message Strategy
So who does text? Everyone. The best fundraising method taps into the fact that smartphones have become ubiquitous. But more than a single donation, you want ongoing giving. That means nurturing new donors and building a relationship.
That kind of a relationship requires consistent communication over time. So don’t sign up for text messaging at the last minute and hope for lots of online donations. Instead, you need to warm up your list, nurture it, and grow it over time.
- Tell your story: Everyone loves a story, and now they’re being delivered to the Apple or Android device in the palm of our hand. So use text messaging to tell your story to that captive audience scrolling social media, talking on messaging apps, and clicking back and forth between mobile apps. See how My360Project uses text messaging to share their work.
- Convert: You can have a lot of fans on social media, but that doesn’t mean they’re engaged. A text-to-give option not only brings them to your donation process, but you can also engage with them more deeply than social media. Plus, peer fundraising can be huge as people share it with their own followers and friends.
- Simple: Add a simple donation method to your in-person fundraising event or interactive live-stream. You can put a short code and keyword on the screen or on posters around the event, and encourage people to pull out their mobile device and make a real-time donation.
- Say thank you: It’s one thing to get people to your donation form and entering their credit card or debit card info, but it’s another to form an ongoing relationship. Gratitude can go a long way, so be sure to say thank you.
Sample Text Message Marketing Timeline
- Week 1 - Start: Sign up with your preferred text messaging service. Set up your dedicated text messaging phone number, donation page, and process for mobile giving.
- Week 1 - Donor data: Upload your contact list and cell phone numbers.
- Week 1-6 - Verify: Start the process of phone number verification.
- Week 2 - Segment: Run a Rally Insights report, a helpful fundraising tool, to better understand your donors and streamline your online fundraising. Once you understand your audience, you can explore different giving options, whether that’s varying donation amounts or pushing recurring donations.
- Week 3-6 - Warm up your list: Send initial text messages to share your work and get your supporters used to the idea of receiving SMS messages on their mobile phones from your nonprofit organization. Be sure to set up workflows, prepare for two-way texting, and experiment with multimedia, GIFs, and more.
- Week 6 - Draft texts: Use our pre-written text message templates or write your own to push mobile donations.
- Week 7 - Schedule: Rally’s platform has the functionality to queue the text messages so you can streamline your prep. Don’t forget to mark a successful SMS marketing campaign with a thank you notification.
That’s a seven-week timeline with a lot of assumptions—you might need more time for your marketing campaign.
- Assumptions: This assumes your fundraising software is already in place. It assumes you’ve done your research, don’t have pricing questions, and your nonprofit board signed off on a text-to-give platform (we can help get leadership on board).
- Customer experience: As user-friendly as Rally is—we’ve got a great onboarding process, FAQs, a team available via phone call, quick follow-up, and more—we all know challenges come up. Plus, you’re busy—you may not be able to drop everything to pursue your fundraising goals.
If you want to use bulk texting, get started today. You’ll need to get set up and start the verification process. We’re here to help.