If this is your first text-to-give campaign (and even if this isn’t your first rodeo), it’s never too late to learn the ins and outs of marketing and launching a successful mobile fundraiser.
Admittedly, launching a text-to-give fundraiser can be a little daunting. But what fundraiser isn’t when you’re first getting started?
Luckily for you, we’ve boiled mobile marketing down into the 7 easiest steps that any nonprofit can follow and execute.
Here’s a little sneak peek of the steps we’re going to cover in this article:
- Test out your text-to-give technology.
- Perfect your peer-to-peer fundraising.
- Enhance your email strategy.
- Take advantage of live events.
- Stay social media savvy.
- Don’t forget offline strategies.
- Execute, track, and improve.
There’s no time like the present. Let’s get to it!
1.) Test out your text-to-give technology.
As with any fundraising software, one of the first steps you’ll have to take before you can begin marketing is testing out text-to-give for yourself.
Many text-to-give platform providers will give you the option to view a demonstration before you decide to purchase. This step is crucial for your understanding of the platform and shouldn’t be skipped! If you find that the software isn’t user-friendly, chances are, your donors won’t be able to grasp it, either.
Of course, not only does your text-to-give platform need to be simple and intuitive for your donors; it also needs to be easy for your organization’s staff to use.
With a solid piece of software, your fundraising team should be able to easily export and import critical mobile donor data, like the data in the spreadsheet below:
Of course, this is donor email data, but text donations work in much the same way. In fact, with some industry-leading platform providers, your email and text donations are able to cross-pollinate.
What does it mean to cross-pollinate?
Essentially, cross-pollination (in terms of mobile giving, not bees) means that a donor who has given via email or a donation page and has filled out a payment form once can give through any of your other giving portals without needing to fill out any more forms.
In simpler terms, a donor who has given to your organization one time can then give through text, email, or mobile/online donation page in just 2 clicks. It’s the simplest, most streamlined way to give on the go.
After you’ve landed on which mobile giving platform to use, it’s important to work out all of the kinks and ensure that all of your staff are clear on how to deal with data. Do a test run!
You can open up your text-to-give testing to people close to your nonprofit, such as:
- Board members
- Committee members
- Loyal donors
- Avid volunteers
- Friends and family of staff
Have them give a dollar or two, then request their feedback on the platform. Are there any areas where your nonprofit could make the process easier?
Testing out your technology will not only help you work out any glitches, but it will also help familiarize your staff with the giving process. The more familiar you all are with your platform, the easier it will be to explain and market this giving option to your donors.
Bonus: Ready to start comparing text-to-give providers? Check out this list of the top text-to-give tools from our friends at Double the Donation!
To sum it all up: Testing out your text-to-give technology is the first step in getting comfortable with the way it works so that you can better market it to your donors.
2.) Perfect your peer-to-peer fundraising.
If you followed the advice in step 1, you’ve no doubt already opened your text-to-give fundraiser up to close family and friends, board members, and committee members alike.
Now is the perfect time to expand your reach—in more ways than one!
Peer-to-peer fundraising allows your organization to extend your reach and cast a wider net than ever before.
So how does it work? Take one part advocacy, one part social media, two parts being well-connected, stir in some fundraising know-how, and voila! Ten times the reach, ten times the donors.
Okay, okay. Maybe it’s not quite that instantaneous or fanciful. But it is pretty magical, if you set it up well.
What you actually need to do to launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a part of your text-to-give campaign:
Step 1: Enlist the help of your organization’s biggest fans.
Your “fans” should be key influencers within your community and people who are passionate about your cause and spreading awareness.
They’ll be your fundraisers on the ground, your foot soldiers, your champions, and your greatest allies. Choose these individuals wisely; they’ll represent you throughout your campaign.
Step 2: Supply your fundraisers with the necessary tools.
For this kind of peer-to-peer campaign, you’ll want to give your fundraisers the information they need to inform their networks about texting to donate to your organization.
You can give them pre-written copy to post as status updates, in emails, and more.
Provide them with the run-down of the purpose of your text-to-give efforts, and make sure they understand how it works so they can properly explain it to their friends and families. And of course, don’t forget to provide them with your shortcode!
Step 3: Be on-call.
Your fundraisers are lifting your organization up on their shoulders to do the fundraising heavy lifting for you. Be sure that you’re there for them if they ever have questions or concerns.
Let them know that you’re there to support them, whatever their needs may be, when and how they can get in touch—and that you’re eternally grateful for all of their efforts.
Step 4: Thank your fundraisers properly.
Your peer-to-peer fundraisers are an incredible hybrid: part fundraiser, part donor, all superhero. Thank them accordingly.
It might seem selfish to mention, but thanking your donors actually helps your organization raise more money in the long run.
A well-stewarded donor is a donor who will continue to give to you again and again and tell all of their friends and families to do so, too.
To sum it all up: Your nonprofit can launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a part of your text-to-give campaign and reach more supporters while doing substantially less legwork.
3.) Enhance your email strategy.
As you may or may not be aware, email is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to raise money and awareness from your donors, regardless of where they are.
It’s also an outstanding medium for marketing.
Because email is 245 times less expensive than direct mail, your organization can afford to send out more communications than ever before. But it doesn’t matter how many messages you send out if they’re not being opened or read.
To make the most of your email marketing for your text-to-give campaign, make sure you:
- Craft eye-catching headlines.
The most engaging emails have creative headlines that make subscribers want to open them. When you’re crafting your own, make sure you think about what would make you want to open an email.
- Draft each message with the preview mode in mind.
Many of your subscribers will have preview mode on in their inboxes. When they scroll past your message, make sure that you’ve designed an appealing and credible email from top to bottom. The look of your email should draw your readers in and entice them to open and click through your correspondence.
- Make your text-to-give call-to-action clear.
The most important part of this whole exercise is getting donors to give to your organization via text. That’s why it’s crucial to make your calls-to-actions obvious and unmissable!
- Segment and target your emails in a way that makes sense.
Not everyone who subscribes to your emails is doing so for the same reasons. When you’re redrafting your email strategy, consider segmenting your email list (if you haven’t already done so) to better target donors who are likely to give via text.
If you’re in need of some more stellar tips for asking for donations via email (and more), then look no further than this article!
To sum it all up: Perfecting your email marketing strategy will help springboard your text-to-give campaign. Few outlets are more effective or more efficient than email, so why not take advantage of a tried and true standard to boost your mobile efforts?
4.) Take advantage of live events.
Another tried and true standard that your nonprofit should be taking advantage of: live fundraising events.
Live events were made for marketing. Especially when it comes to your text-to-donate campaign, there’s no better way to get the ball rolling than to make an announcement at an engaging event. After all, text-to-give was made to be used on the go!
Think about it: you have all of the ingredients needed for success.
Whether you’re hosting a 5K fun run, an elegant gala, or a rock ‘n’ roll benefit concert, the facts remain the same. You have at your disposal:
- A captivated audience.
- Some sort of platform from which to speak.
- The spirit of giving that’s inherent at any fundraiser.
- Willing donors who have their phones in pocket.
Take a moment and imagine that you’re standing backstage at a rocking benefit concert. You’ve spent months planning it, and that work has paid off.
People are dancing and having a great time. Many of them have their phones out and are swaying along with the music. The glow from all the mobile devices lights up the night.
There’s a lull in the music, and the band is tuning up for the next set. It’s the ideal time to hop on stage and explain your text-to-give campaign.
You throw some slides like these up on your projector:
Your attendees already have their phones out and are primed to donate. Once you’ve explained the process, you’re bound to be flooded with hundreds of text donations. What could be better?
That scenario could easily become a reality for your organization. All it takes is the proper timing, orchestration, and planning.
To sum it all up: Live events provide excellent marketing opportunities. Make sure that the next live event your nonprofit hosts includes mentioning your text-to-give campaign.
5.) Stay social media savvy.
In a perfect world, you would be able to catch up with your donors and speak with them passionately about your cause on a daily basis.
In the real world, you can—with the help of social media.
Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow nonprofits to be a part of a larger conversation and remain more connected with their donors on a day-to-day basis.
Daily, weekly, or monthly, your organization can update followers on the progress of your latest projects (in real-time!), inform them of the latest volunteer opportunities, and—you guessed it—market your text-to-give campaign.
Of course, there are different best practices for each social media site. Luckily for you, we’ve gathered some of the most useful tips for each of the major players on the world wide web.
We’ve broken them down by site here:
With over 1 billion monthly users, Facebook is one of the most popular and widely used sites on the internet. As such, it’s vitally important that your nonprofit become a part of the social network.
If you’re already on Facebook, make sure the posts that you’re creating include either a video or an image. Studies have shown that content that’s visually simulating is 60,000 times easier for followers to interpret.
Engage your followers with eye-catching photographs and draw them in with explanatory videos. Always remember to include clear instructions for your text-to-give campaign—just like the Willamette Humane Society does:
As you can see, they’ve made the image their focus, and they’ve made their text-to-give campaign abundantly clear.
Instagram is a rapidly changing medium. They’ve recently instituted a new algorithm that will highlight only the top 30% of posts on a user’s feed.
What this means for your nonprofit: If you’re not engaging with your donors and volunteers on a daily basis, or you don’t have many followers, your nonprofit’s Instagram won’t get the coverage it needs.
How you can combat this: It’s important to connect and engage with followers. On a practical level, that means liking and following and commenting on other user’s accounts.
This advice, of course, is all in addition to posting quality photos with obvious links to your mobile fundraiser, as in this example post from the Disaster Relief Fund:
The image they’ve chosen to post is meaningful and demonstrative of the work they’re trying to do. Because of that, it’s garnered over 1,000 likes.
You probably already know that Twitter limits posts, which are called “tweets,” to 140 characters. For a basis of comparison, Facebook status updates allow over 63,000 characters.
Keep this in mind when you’re drafting tweets. You’ll want to keep your messages short, sweet, and to-the-point. And don’t forget to include instructions or a link to your mobile fundraiser.
A great example of a concise tweet comes to us from SealSaviors:
In under 10 words, they’ve let their followers know what they’re about and how to help out.
To sum it all up: Having a solid social media strategy that follows best practices is a fantastic way to market your nonprofit’s text-to-give campaign.
6.) Don’t forget offline strategies.
So much is done directly through phones these days. You can pay your bills, keep up with old friends, and find your way in an unfamiliar city.
But that doesn’t mean you should move completely away from traditional marketing methods to promote your text-to-give campaign.
There are several avenues for your nonprofit to explore outside of mobile. Avenues like:
- Direct mail
- Letter writing
- Bus stop signs
- Promotional T-shirts
- Billboard advertisements
As far as these avenues go, feel free to get creative. The Willamette Humane Society sure did!
They’re walking billboards for their text-to-donate campaign. Speaking of billboards, they also pulled out all the stops and created a bus stop sign to promote their mobile fundraiser:
So the next time someone is just standing at the bus stop, waiting for their ride to work or school, they can use that time wisely and donate to a worthy cause in just 2 clicks.
Bonus: If you’re looking for advice on how to write the most effective fundraising letters, look no further than Fundly’s guide!
To sum it all up: Don’t feel limited by mobile strategies just because you’re hosting a mobile fundraiser. Explore several different offline strategies to enhance your online marketing efforts.
8.) Execute, track, and improve.
Just as you would with any other major fundraising campaign, your nonprofit should be tracking key metrics and improving your strategy over time.
With regard to marketing your campaign, you should be keeping an eye on the conversion rates of all of the tactics you try out.
If you send out emails promoting your text-to-give campaign, and you only measure a 3% click-through rate, you might want to take a look at your email strategy.
Likewise, if you pour a ton of work and energy into your social media promotions and see dismal results, it might be time to work smarter, not harder.
If your text-to-give campaign is a part of your larger annual fundraiser, it’s doubly important that you pay attention to how your marketing plans are panning out.
Your organization should be tracking:
- Email conversion rate.
- Social media conversation rate.
- Bounce rate.
- Donor retention rate.
- Donor acquisition rate.
Keeping an eye on these metrics (plus any other measurements that make sense for your organization to track) will ensure that every effort that you make is worth the investment of your nonprofit’s time and money.
To sum it all up: One of the most important steps you can take in launching a mobile fundraiser is to track and improve along the way. A successful campaign is one that’s in tune with the needs and wants of its donors.
That’s all, folks! We sincerely hope you learned a thing or two about marketing a text-to-give campaign to your donors.
Now that you’ve got some best practices in your back pocket, you’re more than ready to get out there and start promoting your mobile fundraiser!