Before you can dive into leading a text fundraising campaign, you need to familiarize yourself with nonprofit text messaging best practices. One of the most important components of running a successful text-to-give campaign is drafting effective, persuasive messages that will resonate with supporters and encourage them to donate.
Think of it this way: if you were a donor contemplating giving to an organization, you’d likely be inspired to donate after reading an illustrative text that tugged at your heartstrings and told a great story about the impact of donating. Compare this to a generic “Donate now” text that leaves a lot on the table and doesn’t do much to sway supporters to give.
Taking your text-to-give messages to the next level requires the right strategies and tools. Use these tips to make your text donation requests absolutely irresistible to your subscribers and meet (and exceed!) your fundraising goals:
- Leverage Storytelling
- Use Eye-Catching Visuals
- Create a Strong Call to Action
- Personalize Your Messages
To easily send compelling messages, leverage a nonprofit-specific text messaging platform that can readily meet your needs. Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging recommends working with an intuitive platform that has robust segmentation capabilities, automation, and more so you can take the guesswork out of creating great messages and hit the ground running.
Armed with the right technology, you’ll be in great shape to bring these best practices to life. Let’s begin.
Storytelling can play a pivotal role in a nonprofit organization’s ability to connect with their audience, demonstrate their impact, inspire action, and achieve their fundraising goals.
Specifically, storytelling is a powerful tool that nonprofits should leverage when making donation appeals for these key reasons:
- Humanizes your cause: Through stories, nonprofits can help donors and potential donors connect emotionally to their cause. This emotional connection can be far more persuasive than mere facts and figures or generic requests to give, helping donors to see themselves in the shoes of your beneficiaries and empathize with them. This is an effective way to encourage them to take action.
- Demonstrates impact: Storytelling is an effective way to demonstrate the impact of a nonprofit’s work. By sharing stories of individuals they’ve helped or changes they’ve brought about, nonprofits can show donors and supporters how their contributions are making a real difference.
- Increases retention and engagement: Stories can help nonprofits keep their supporters actively engaged and invested in their cause. They can help to foster a sense of community and shared purpose, which can lead to increased donor retention and involvement.
Now that you know the many benefits of storytelling, here are a few ways you can use this essential tool in your text messages:
- Highlight the real individuals your organization has helped: This way, donors can see exactly who their contributions are going to and how it’s making a difference.
- Position your donors as heroes in your ongoing journey: Don’t give your story an ending just yet! For instance, an animal welfare organization might tell the story of a rescued dog who needs life-saving surgery and therefore donations to fund his care. This way, donors are part of providing the solution and will feel more motivated to act by the urgency of the situation.
- Use vivid language: Use description to bring your story to life and help supporters envision it. However, remember to keep your story on the shorter side. You can always include the full story in a blog post and direct supporters to visit that page to read more.
Let’s consider another example of storytelling in action. A church running a text fundraiser could share a short story about a homeless family who counts on their food bank to stay alive. By urging churchgoers to continue to give, they can help this family and many more have regular access to meals.
By sharing stories of the individuals they’ve helped, nonprofits can better engage their supporters, demonstrate the impact of their work, and encourage further involvement in their cause.
Images, videos, and graphics are key components to enhance your storytelling. Using these types of compelling visuals gives a tangible face and story to your nonprofit’s work. A healthcare nonprofit, for instance, could share an image of a patient in need of urgent medical care. This emotional visual could encourage more donations.
Tectonic Video’s guide to nonprofit video storytelling explains that video is an especially effective medium for connecting with donors and sharing stories so they’re engaging and easily digestible. For instance, you might have staff sit down and explain their fundraising needs in a short video. Or, you could invite beneficiaries to give testimonials and explain how your nonprofit has changed their lives. With the permission of these individuals, share this video through your text messaging campaign.
You could also repurpose this content on your social media and website to promote your text-to-give fundraiser. In your caption, make sure to provide clear directions on how to opt-in to your text messaging campaign. This way, you can grow your subscriber list and inspire even more donors to give.
All of your text messages should end in a firm call to action that gives your supporters a clear next step to take. For example, you might invite supporters to:
- Give to your organization’s annual fundraising campaign
- Sign up for your upcoming fundraising event
- Apply to volunteer
- Create a peer-to-peer fundraising page
- Sign up for your monthly email newsletter
Primarily, you’ll be directing supporters to give on your mobile-friendly donation page, so it’s important that your call to action to donate is specific, personalized to the individual, and uses active language.
Make sure to include a time element in your donation requests to convey urgency. For example “Donate this week” isn’t as effective as a message like “Donate by midnight to have your gift matched” or “Donate by Friday to save our oceans.” Be concrete and make it as easy as possible for donors to take the next step. To do this, include a mobile-friendly link to your donation page in your text message.
A donation request that is personalized to the individual is much more likely to inspire action. To personalize your texts and ensure your donation request feels reasonable to the individual, you need to use segmentation. Segmentation is the process of dividing your contact list into subgroups based on shared characteristics.
For example, you can segment your supporters based on factors like:
- Donation amount
- Donation recency
- Donation frequency
- Demographics (age, location, etc.)
- Event attendance
- Prior engagement with your organization
Donation history is especially important to consider when sending donors a specific donation request. For instance, you wouldn’t send the same donation request to a major donor that you would send to a smaller, lower-tier donor. Taking donation history into account ensures that your donation requests feel reasonable based on the donor’s willingness and capacity to give.
To segment your contacts with ease, you need the right technology. Having an intuitive text-to-give platform allows you to segment your lists and personalize your messages further by greeting donors with their first names and acknowledging their specific donation contributions in your thank-you messages. This not only makes your donor communications more attention-grabbing but also helps to strengthen supporters’ connection to your cause.
Achieving the full potential of your text-to-give campaign requires careful planning, compelling storytelling, and the right tools for personalization. With a comprehensive texting software, your nonprofit can streamline its text messaging strategy and significantly boost revenue. Remember, the most effective messages are those that connect with the heart of your supporters and inspire them to make a difference, so put ample time and thought into the content of your messaging.
About the Author
Mike Snusz brings 19 years of digital fundraising experience to his role as Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango, a text messaging platform for nonprofits and political campaigns. Prior to Tatango, Mike spent 15 years at Blackbaud leading a team of digital consultants that helped nonprofits improve their online fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Mike started his nonprofit career managing the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.