Getting Started With a Text-to-Give Campaign - Heller Consulting

Getting Started With a Text-to-Give Campaign

As a nonprofit professional, you’re on the cutting edge of what new giving strategies are emerging. Your organization is constantly going through transformations to update your best practices as technology continues to advance.

Enter, text-to-give campaigns. Text-to-give is a digital fundraising method that’s been emerging in popularity over the last few years. During these campaigns, donors contribute to your cause using their mobile devices. By texting a unique number with your campaign’s keyword, they submit a donation to your cause.

Because this method of giving is so straightforward and accessible, text-to-give donations increased by 205% over the past few years. To remain on track for hitting higher fundraising goals, this is the perfect time to incorporate text-to-give into your next campaign.

We’ll unpack more benefits of this fundraising strategy throughout this blog post, but overall, text donations work not only to raise money for your mission but also to strengthen supporter relationships by making giving easier than ever before. Plus, you’re able to easily obtain basic and contact information on your donors to make more informed decisions going forward.

Let’s dive into how to get started with text-to-give strategies for your nonprofit. In this blog post, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • How to get started with text-to-give
  • The benefits of mobile giving
  • Text-to-give best practices
  • Integrating text-to-give with a fundraising campaign event

We’ll get started with the basics; how to start your own text-to-give campaign. 

How to get started with text-to-give

Launching your organization’s first text-to-give campaign doesn’t have to be difficult. In just a few simple steps, you’re able to set up your very own campaign. Let’s unpack a few important measures you should take before you start:

  • Determine your strategy for your text-to-give campaign.

You’ll need to answer a few important questions before you launch your campaign. It’s important that your team members know their part in the process, and for helping you reach your goals. Here are some questions to consider for developing your strategy:

  • What parts will each team member play in your text-to-give campaign?
  • What do you hope to achieve with this campaign? 
  • What does your campaign timeline look like?
  • Which software provider fits best with your needs?

Asking essential questions can help your team easily determine your strategy and lead the discussion in the right direction. With these items in mind, your team will be set up for success in developing your text-to-give strategy for a successful campaign.

  • Develop a plan for informing your constituents about text-to-give.

Once you have answers to the aforementioned questions, you’ll have to inform your donors about the best ways to contribute to your cause using text-to-give. Consider posting a how-to-give guide on your social media platforms, a video tutorial, and email alerts to make sure everyone is informed of your new endeavor.

It’s essential that your audience knows your unique number and campaign keyword so you can receive your donations. Look for a software solution that takes into consideration typos and variants in your keyword to be sure all of your donations make their way to your organization. Then, create a memorable and mission-pertinent keyword that supporters can use to give to your campaign.

  • Analyze the data collected by your campaign. 

Effective text-to-give campaigns provide valuable donor information and fundraising metrics for your organization to analyze. As with any other fundraising campaign, you’ll want to make adjustments to your strategy according to important information collected throughout the campaign. 

As your data begins to paint a picture of your audience, you can change up your marketing strategies to better reach supporters and encourage them to give. In simpler terms, you’ll know what’s working and what’s not. The data that you might consider when making decisions include:

  • Basic demographic data on your target audience
  • Open and click-through rates for marketing materials
  • The channels through which supporters found your campaign
  • Average donation amount

Compile reports on these data points so that you can draw insights for your campaign and use these conclusions to make better adjustments. For example, if you find that email is an effective platform to get the word out about your campaign, you might decide to further conduct an A/B test with slightly different messages or images to see which one is more impactful with your audience.

The benefits of text-to-give

This method of giving is an incredibly effective way to generate additional revenue and eventually hit your campaign goals. We’ll go over a few of the reasons why. With these benefits outlined below, you’re able to thoughtfully convey to your team and donors that text-to-give is indeed a crucial part of your fundraising strategy.

For your organization

 Text-to-give is known for its convenience, both for donors and for nonprofits themselves. Here are a few important benefits that you’ll encounter as an organization with this particular type of campaign: 

  • Helps raise money in a timely manner. By implementing text-to-give, your organization has immediate access to information about your campaign. The immediate feedback on your progress and reporting capabilities allow you to keep an eye on your campaign and reach your goal quickly. 
  • Collect more donor information in an efficient manner. Just because your donors are texting their gifts, does not mean your team misses out on gaining crucial insights about your audience. You’ll have access to donors’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses. This can be used to tailor your communications to donors and strengthen your relationships going forward.
  • Personalized communication. With the help of the aforementioned donor data, your team can use this information to include personal elements in future communication and outreach. For instance, segment supporters by interest and address each one by name to make a positive impression. 
  • Can be used alongside other fundraising efforts. Your team can integrate text-to-give with existing fundraising methods. For example, include the number and keyword on direct appeals, implement it in your next fundraising event, and more. 

For your constituents

Text-to-give is not only a convenient fundraising strategy for your organization, it also provides a positive experience for your constituents. Here are some ways text-to-give promotes a positive impression of your organization by easing the donation process for supporters: :

  • Giving on the go. Your supporters can text in their donation from anywhere at any time. This means they can give as soon as they feel inspired, whether that’s while they’re researching your organization from the comfort of their couch or in the middle of an Uber ride. 
  • Meeting them where they are. Everyone is on their phones in 2021, and are likely texting every day to keep up with loved ones. Donors are already texting their friends and family members nearly every day. Therefore, they’re already comfortable with the technology and how to send a text. 
  • Providing data security. The best text-to-give providers follow PCI standards. This means that sensitive personal and financial donor information is kept safe and secure throughout the process. This adds a level of security for supporters and increases their sense of trust in your organization. 

Reminding your organization and your supporters alike of the slew of benefits that come with implementing text to give in your fundraising strategy can help your participation rate be as high as possible.

Text-to-give best practices

As your team becomes familiar with mobile giving and how it resonates with your donor base, you can begin to take advantage of some best practices. Here are a few we’ve seen work for nonprofits like yours:

  • Optimize your campaign’s impact with detailed marketing. When your team clearly communicates the goals for the campaign and ties it to your mission, it’s more likely to resonate with donors, making them more likely to give. Describe specific and actionable reasons for hosting your campaign, and let the donors know exactly where their money is going and why. They want to know why they should support your efforts.
  • Clearly state your unique text-to-give number and keyword. In all of your promotional content for your campaign, be sure to inform your donor base exactly how to give via text message. Consider creating informational posts, videos, and newsletters. This information should stand out on all materials, so make sure it’s not buried in text. 
  • Practice good data hygiene. Because you’ll be receiving lots of information regarding your donors via their texts, be sure to avoid duplicate information. Check for accuracy as you compile information about supporters and update your donor database.
  • Put your data to good use. Use the campaign KPIs to determine if text giving is working for your organization. You’re also able to determine what amount supporters feel comfortable giving, as well as how they found your number and keyword. According to Snowball’s guide to online fundraising, use your KPIs to adjust your strategy accordingly depending on how people are using your text-to-give services, and what’s working well for your team.
  • Incorporate text-to-give into special giving day efforts. For example, think of implementing mobile giving into your Giving Tuesday campaign. Donors can act quickly by texting their gift so that you hit your goals.

Once you’ve settled into your text-to-give campaign, again, be sure you’re taking your efforts a step further by guiding your strategies with your KPIs. Now that you’re aware of best practices, we’ll get into how to implement them when you host a text-to-give fundraising event.

Integrating text-to-give with a fundraising campaign event

Finally, it’s best practice to pair your text-to-give campaign with a fundraising event. This way, you’re able to boost your donations from supporters even when they’re participating in your event activities. 

Text-to-give efforts go well with many types of fundraising events. COVID-19 has undoubtedly brought forth significant changes in how we run events, but text-to-give is effective for all types whether it be physical, virtual, or hybrid. Think of ways to implement it with the following events:

  • Crowdfunding campaigns, by adding your number to your giving page.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraisers, for easy ways to raise money.
  • Galas and auctions, because your guests all have their phones on them.
  • Product drives, so many can give on the go.

By providing this giving option at your event, your attendees can contribute while they participate by quickly sending an easy text, rather than finding their wallets. It’ll drive excitement and help supporters give without disrupting the feeling of community at your fundraiser. Here’s how you can incorporate it in significant ways:

  • Displaying your number and keyword on flyers and screens around your event.
  • At Snowball, we’ve seen fundraising thermometers help text-to-give donors visualize the impact of their contributions and encourage people to make a contribution to help hit the ultimate fundraising goal. 
  • If your event is online, text-to-give fundraising can help bring people together in giving to your cause. 

To maximize your text-to-give fundraising potential, be sure to bring your event together by offering it as a giving option for your constituents. Implementing new ways of giving can adapt to any event format. 

Overall, text-to-give is an excellent option to take your virtual fundraising to the next level. With best practices like establishing a text-to-give number in conjunction with your next fundraising event and strategically reaching out to your supporters, you’ll be sure to hit your fundraising goals. 

Be sure to invest in robust text-to-give software, and to publicize your organization’s unique phone number and keyword. Don’t forget to let your donors know how to use text-to-give and how it can work in their best interests. 

About the Author

John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.