How to Set Up Text-to-Donate for Your Nonprofit: A Guide

As a nonprofit professional, you understand the importance of updating your fundraising strategy to address new donor behaviors. One of the best digital-first approaches to fundraising that can boost your nonprofit in meeting its goals is text-to-donate. Text-to-donate makes the donation experience as simple as possible for both your donors and your organization—as long as you’re working with the right tools.

Your nonprofit can set up and manage its text-to-give campaign with ease. You’ll be in great shape to nurture donor relationships, inspire donors to give, and skyrocket your fundraising results. The possibilities with text-to-give are endless, from providing donors with updates on the impact of their gift and your fundraising progress, to crafting compelling donation appeals.

Follow this guide to boost revenue with a winning text-to-give campaign and drive engagement in no time:

  1. Partner with a text messaging provider
  2. Promote your keyword and code
  3. Send compelling messages

A strong text messaging campaign can supplement your communications and fuel extra revenue for your fundraising campaigns and events. Plus, with the highest open and read rate out of any platform, text messaging enables your nonprofit to effectively reach its supporters. Let’s begin.

Partner with a text messaging provider

A leading text-to-give software should come with a full suite of tools to make setting up your text messaging campaign as simple as possible. Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging outlines the following features to look for:

  • Mass texting with one click. Your nonprofit needs to reliably reach hundreds to thousands of supporters at one time, with one click. By mass sending text messages, your organization can save time and focus more on developing high-quality text messages and advancing your mission.
  • Fast messaging speeds. When you’re working around tight fundraising deadlines, you need your donation appeals to reach donors quickly. Choose a software that allows your organization to reach thousands of recipients within seconds so you can drive revenue and encourage engagement without experiencing any technical slowdowns.
  • Segmentation. The most effective way to reach supporters is by tailoring your messages to the recipients. Text messaging software with robust segmentation capabilities makes it easy to break down your contact list into subgroups by factors like donation frequency, recency, and amount. Through segmentation, you can ensure that your messages are highly personalized and therefore more likely to inspire action.
  • Security. Your text messaging software will be a hub for sensitive donor information, so it’s essential that you protect your data from cybersecurity threats. Text messaging software with features like two-factor authentication and automated logout will prevent your contact lists or donor billing information from being leaked.
  • Multimedia features. A visual element is an important part of any donation appeal. Your software should make it easy to supplement your text messages with GIFs, images, and videos to keep supporters engaged and emotionally connected to your cause.

The right text messaging software will come with these features and more to support your organization’s unique goals. Partner with a text messaging software that will also help your organization run an airtight, legally compliant campaign that adheres to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the United States law that restricts unsolicited telemarketing and automated telephone dialing systems, similar to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). This will prevent your nonprofit from having to pay unnecessary fees and keep your campaign on track to reach your fundraising goals.

Promote your keyword and code

To opt into your text-to-donate campaign, donors will text a keyword to your organization’s shortened phone number, called a ‘short code.’ While the code number is typically assigned to your organization by the text messaging software, you have the creative freedom to come up with your own keyword. Your keyword should be brief and relevant to your campaign. For example, a higher education text fundraiser might make their keyword “ALUMNI” for alumni giving.

Make sure to market your keyword and code widely across multiple channels, including your:

  • Website. Develop a landing page on your website that highlights your new text-to-donate campaign and its convenience for donors, so supporters will be likely to sign up. You can also list your text-to-donate option on your online donation page so supporters can opt-in for an easier donation experience from their phones the next time they want to give.
  • Social media. Create engaging content that explains how to opt-in to your campaign. For example, consider posting a video tutorial showing someone signing up for your text-to-donate campaign. Couple your posts with a catchy hashtag to expand your reach and open your nonprofit up to wider audiences.
  • Direct mail. Outline instructions on how to opt-in to your campaign or consider including a QR code that takes supporters to your landing page where they can learn more about how text-to-donate works.

A multichannel marketing strategy will grab the attention of multiple audiences as well as boost your organization’s brand visibility. In your marketing materials, make sure to articulate the purpose of your text-to-give campaign and why it’s essential that donors opt in to increase their impact.

Send compelling messages

Once your campaign is up-and-running, you need to craft strong text messages that will inspire people to give. To develop a strong case for support in your text messages, use these tips:

  • Use storytelling elements to place the donor as the hero in your nonprofit’s unfinished story. For example, a hunger relief organization might share the story of an unhoused family struggling with food insecurity. In their donation appeal, the organization can end their message with a firm call to action such as, “to help this family receive warm meals for the next week, please donate $25 today.” This allows the donor to see the tangible impact between their contributions and the difference it will make for this family, further encouraging them to support your nonprofit.
  • Personalize your messages so donors will be more receptive to acting on your donation appeals. With the assistance of your text messaging software, you should be able to automatically greet donors in your messages using their preferred names, even when mass sending texts.
  • Diversify your texts beyond donation appeals to keep donors engaged and make them feel valued for their contributions. For example, keep donors updated on the progress of your latest fundraising campaign and let them know how much you raised once it concludes. You’ll also want to thank donors immediately after they give by referencing their specific donation amount and how it will be used to power change.

As you send text messages, actively monitor metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate using your text messaging software. This will support you to determine the type of content that is most likely to resonate with donors and encourage them to give. Then, you can adjust your content strategies as needed to maximize success.

With a well-designed text-to-give campaign, your organization will be in great shape to encourage donors to opt in and drive amazing fundraising results. Find a text messaging software solution that will streamline the set-up time and provide everything you need to run a text messaging campaign with ease. Good luck!

Author: Mike Snusz, Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango

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.