Everyone seems to be talking about text messaging these days! With 95% of Americans owning a mobile phone, more of us are “meeting people where they are” by using mobile (SMS) as a vital component of an organization or campaign’s communications, fundraising, advocacy and field strategies. This year especially, we are seeing campaigns and organizations harness the organizing power that comes with being able to text message volunteers, donors, and supporters using both broadcast and peer-to-peer mobile platforms.
I know, you expected me to launch right into the campaigning, right? But, truth be told many more organizations are beginning to integrate text messaging into their overall fundraising strategy.
Mobile giving used to be something only sizeable c3 relief organizations, like the Red Cross could utilize. The first time you probably saw a donation “Call-to-Action” with a keyword and shortcode was likely a telethon or a televised benefit concert. Organizations often need a big audience to make the upfront setup costs to this type of fundraising worth it. Anyone who texted SANDY to 62226 (not an actual keyword or shortcode) would find the amount they donated (up to $25) charged on their next mobile phone bill.
The Mobile Giving Foundation serves as the middleman between mobile phone providers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, TMobile, etc. and the c3 nonprofit organizations. But they also charge a hefty setup cost and delay payment. The money raised is usually delivered six months after the donor gives their gift. The benefits of this form of mobile giving are really limited to c3 organizations with BIG followings and relief campaigns after major disasters (hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, bombing, etc.).
But now mobile giving isn’t just for c3 organizations or large organizations. Here are some of the key reasons why more nonprofits (c3 & c4) and campaigns are now doing mobile fundraising:
It is one of the most engaging digital communications tools at our disposal. Mobile (SMS) allows organizations and campaigns to truly develop relationships with donors by making them feel like a significant part of the organization. In fact, 62% of donors reported that they would like to use SMS to communicate with organizations they support.
Mobile giving has increased between 40-50% every year for the last three years. This means people are getting more comfortable with giving via their mobile devices. This amplifies why mobile-optimized websites and donation pages continue to be a priority for organizations.
Asking for Money via Text Message:
With more people giving via websites on their mobile phones, why not make the donation ask via text instead of email. 90% of text messages are read within 90 seconds of the message being sent, compared to 14% average open rates found on email. Plus, fundraising platforms are integrating one-click donate making it easier for donors to give, especially on their mobile devices. Organizations can target messages specifically to donors who are registered for one-click actions and donations. We keep finding plenty of creative ways to ask for money via SMS or MMS message.
SMS Call Centers (Peer-to-Peer):
This is very similar to telemarketing call centers that many nonprofits and universities engage to reach current and lapsed donors. The difference, of course, is the number of people that can be reached via text vs. a phone call. With spam calls becoming more prevalent, fewer people are willing to pick up the phone from an unknown number, but they are still willing to read a text message. Several organizations have tested this strategy with peer-to-peer texting tools and found it to be much more effective (waiting on some metrics to share). Most of your donors or alums are not opted in to receive text messages from you. This is why peer-to-peer SMS tools that operate in an FCC gray area can be so helpful.
What are you waiting for? Have a conversation with your organization today about integrating SMS into your fundraising strategy. Any questions? Contact Smart As A Fox here.
Stay tuned for mobile trends two and three . . .