If your organization has not yet begun texting contributors, there has never been a better moment to start. In contrast to email, which has an average open rate of roughly 17%, nearly 100% of NGOs’ text messages are opened. And text click-through rates are more than twice as high as email click-through rates. This is true irrespective of age. 94% of older donors text at least once every week.
Text messaging provides an excellent opportunity to contact prospects when they are most receptive. While many organizations have implemented text-to-give systems, one-to-one texts can also strengthen relationships. Text messages feel more personal than emails or direct mail, especially regarding larger donations.
Texting should be used in your fundraising and communication tactics for maximum effectiveness. People who participate in the texting program of a nonprofit are 60-90% more likely to donate than those who receive emails.
However, it would help if you did not begin with text-based fundraising requests. Instead, begin with updates on advocacy and impact or petitions. This will position you for success when you make appeals or ask your donors if they are interested in learning more about major or legacy gifts.
To get started, download the text message templates via the provided form. This template collection contains messages for:
- Event updates
- Impact updates
- Persuasion appeals
- Approaching a request
Five techniques for producing excellent text messages
- Maintain brevity, simplicity, and concision.
Most individuals will not read lengthy text messages. Try to keep your text messages to planned and big donors as brief as a tweet: 280 characters or less. They should be able to glean the main point from your writing quickly. Additionally, it would help if you kept the reading level basic. Emails sent at the third-grade level receive 36% more responses than those written at the college level. It is not difficult to understand how this might also apply to texting.
- Include a photo or video.
If you’re attempting to engage your prospect, get them to click on a link or text you back, graphics and video are an excellent approach to grab their attention. They are also highly effective in ensuring that your prospects remember your message. Three days after reading or hearing the material, you can only recall 10% of it. However, if you include an image, you will retain 65% of the information.
- Maintain a personable and conversational tone.
Texts are a casual medium. Text messages are far more intimate than emails, and tone of voice is quite important. Use “I” instead of “we” in one-to-one texts, and write as if you were speaking to a close friend or family member. This will allow you to develop more personal relationships with your prospects.
- Utilize social evidence.
When you are ready to make an appeal or request of some form via text message, social evidence will be the key to effective communication. Mention other donors who have made comparable contributions while maintaining a conversational tone.
For instance, you might say, “Hello, Julie! I know that you contributed $5,000 to the Wildlife Refuge last year. Thank you very much! I thought of you this morning after another donor from California made a similar, stock-based contribution. She was surprised that she would save 70% on taxes by donating this way and felt you would also be interested in knowing this. Are you available for a brief call on Thursday?”
This message not only offers social proof from a similar donor but also educates your prospect and acknowledges that they may be surprised by new means of donating. This can reduce their resistance to more complex giving types and open their minds to new possibilities if they are aware of it.
- Utilize the curiosity void.
The curiosity gap is the gap between what we know and what we want to know. You may virtually compare a brief sentence to the subject line of an email. To pique your prospect’s curiosity and motivate them to click on a link or respond to you, withhold vital information. This is like suspending a story at its climax. Just don’t overpromise and underdeliver. For instance, you may say, “Would you like to learn more about a more effective strategy to aid the Wildlife Refuge?”