Consumers and nonprofit supporters alike have made it clear that the number one way they want to communicate with organizations is through text messages. Whether this is booking an appointment, receiving delivery alerts, or connecting with their favorite charities or NPOs, it's obvious that without a text-based communication service, your organization is going to be behind the curve.
If you're wondering what such a platform may look like for your organization, we've got you covered. We're going to go over what to look out for in a texting service for nonprofits, as well as some specifics of how it can be applied to maximize your outreach success. But first, let's go into more detail about why texting is so important.
Why Use a Texting Service?
Texting services are emerging as a powerful tool for businesses and nonprofits alike. With almost 100% of people carrying a mobile phone, it's an effective way of engaging customers, networks, or donors and is a significant step up from email messages since users are more engaged with SMS than other forms of communication, with more people receiving alerts for texts than even social media.
This is particularly true for nonprofits. In fact, stats suggest that text-based donations are on the rise significantly, and for you to stand out to the ¾ of Americans who donate to charity on a regular basis, you're going to have to make use of a texting platform of one type or another.
Here is some more detail on the benefits of adopting a texting service:
- Connections can opt-in – With a simple text response, your connections can opt into marketing campaigns, donation drives, updates regarding current projects, etc., in seconds from their phone.
- Contacts can opt-out – Similarly, they can choose to opt out from unwanted media or updates with the same convenience.
- It's more engaging – The nature of how people respond to text messages makes them a great way to engage. Texts have a faster response time than emails and social media messages and represent a more pressing issue to address for most. They're also more personable, both of which make them a more engaging way to interact with your contacts.
This engagement is the key to the strength of a text service. With a shift in supporter expectations towards simplicity and easy access, texting is the way that organizations now reach their supporters on their own terms.
- It's fast – By using a specific texting service for nonprofits, you should be able to send out mass texts all at once, reaching your audience immediately and in large numbers. This makes timing your outreach a breeze.
- It's cheap – these services don't have to cost the world and can be significantly cheaper than the cost of human resources required for reaching the same number of people with phone calls, for example.
- It reaches a lot of people – A custom service can partition your audience into different demographics, send out timed information that's tailored to each of them, and therefore reach a wide scope of people in a short amount of time.
These are some of the general benefits of texting platforms for nonprofits, and the convenience of such a service is obvious. What's most important here, however, is keeping your supporters engaged with your organization, and this is where texting really plays a powerful role. Each of these benefits translates to either a direct or an indirect boost to supporter engagement, and this ultimately leads to donor retention and repeat donations.
The specifics of what makes the best texting service for you will depend on your needs. Here, we're going to list some of the functionalities you might want to look out for when choosing a platform.
What to Look for in a Texting Service for Nonprofits
Of all the strengths of a texting service for nonprofits, there are five that should be prioritized in most cases.
- Integrations – A good text service will have multiple relevant integration options with your fundraising platforms, your social media, and your CRM.
- Templates – These can really take the hassle out of designing your own outreach. Customizable templates allow you to go with the default settings or tweak them a little to suit your specific needs. Either way, a good provider will save you plenty of time and money on your outreach.
- Dashboard – The user interface is where you're going to be monitoring all of your traffic and data, and designing your drives. This should be intuitive, easy to work with, and simple enough to train your workforce on.
- Text donations – Now we come to the meat of the service; the ease with which your followers and supporters can interact with your program. Donations should be as simple as texting a short code reply to a message they receive.
- Communication – Given the option, it's a good idea to take the opportunity to communicate not only with your supporters but with your staff, volunteers, and even program or service recipients, on an all-in-one platform. This can simplify communications in general but also boost engagement with the platform and helps staff and supporters alike become more familiar with it.
All of these specifics help boost engagement either indirectly, by making your communications easy to design and send out, or directly, by directing your communications straight into your followers' hands. Now, you may be wondering what all these factors look like when pieced together. Let's take a look.
How Texting Platforms for Nonprofits can Keep your Supporters Engaged
When you've picked the service you want, what does success look like, and how exactly does it affect those who are important to you? Here are some of the real-life applications of a texting service for nonprofits when applied effectively.
By using specific workflows such as text-to-donate and other text-based campaigns, you'll be able to build relationships with your volunteers and supporters in an organic and engaging way.
By switching from email to text-based outreach, you'll boost your open rates for all of your communications from as low as 25% to a possible 90%. This means more eyes on your message, which translates to more involvement with your project.
A text-to-donate program can involve a QR code, instructions to text AWORD to a number, or a simple SMS message along the lines of "Reply or click here to DONATE $5," and supporters will be able to make donations the moment they receive your message on their cell phones, with ease. This simplicity extends to donor retention too.
Keeping your contacts' details on the system also allows you to send follow-up calls to say thanks for the donation, which provides tremendous engagement boosts to your supporters too.
Once you have a subscriber list, don't just send impersonal mass text messages, but rather build your donor base across multiple channels, like email and social, and grow your contact lists to support your marketing strategy and ongoing messaging campaign.
This allows you to get back in front of them again on their mobile device to share an upcoming event, for example, but whatever you do, just remember that messages to donors should always be personalized and move them through your donor journey. Just sending bulk SMS messages from a generic mass texting service is never a good idea. Texting for nonprofits is as much an art as it is a science, so selecting a service provider that understands this is critical.
If you're looking for a texting platform for nonprofits that allows for all of these things, check out Rally Corp. The Rally platform offers up to a 300% increase in engagement and comes with a Get Results Guarantee. Visit the site or book a demo to see how it works.
Texting platforms for nonprofits should all function to reach multiple people at once, cover numerous demographics, tailor your outreach, and, most of all, engage with your supporters. A good service makes these communications easy to send and easy to receive, and this is what makes these platforms such a boost to supporter engagement.
Almost every demographic now prefers SMS to email for their communications with organizations, so if you don't have a platform for this already, it's important to look into implementing one for your nonprofit to boost your supported engagement and consequently maximize donor retention.
Book a demo to see Rally Corp in action, or download The Ultimate Text messaging Checklist for Nonprofits today.