Peter Wrinch

The power of text blasts for year end fundraising

Inspired by the use of text blasts in the BC municipal election campaigns, I started to think about ways that nonprofit organizations could incorporate this tactic into their holiday fundraising appeals.

I have to admit, before I began training at NationBuilder I didn’t have much knowledge or experience with text blasts. I knew the technology existed in the NationBuilder toolkit, but never used it when I was organizing at Pivot Legal Society. During the successful David Eby campaign, we sent text blasts for the GOTV effort – and we won over the Premier of the province by 1000 votes. But, despite our success, I hadn’t thought about the myriad of ways different organizations could use text blasts to achieve their goals. 

It wasn’t until I went to a presentation by NationBuilder partner, Mobile Commons, that I finally understood the power of text blasts for NPOs. First of all, the open rates on text messages are somewhere in the range of 90%! Compare that with the best stats from email and we’re talking about a 55 - 75% increase – that alone is enough evidence for me. Text blasts also boast a 6% click rate (on average) compared to a 2% rate for email click rates (on a good day). If you’re doing text based advocacy, the response rate is 5X higher through text than email. Check out this blog post by the folks at Mobile Commons for more details.

After my epiphany of sorts, I started thinking, how can NPOs use text blasts to drive donations? Aha! What about the sacred cow of all non-profit fundraising? The holiday appeal. Text campaigns work best when there is a sense of urgency (GOTV is a great example), and the December 31st deadline for holiday giving provides that urgency.

I previously worked at a non-profit for 10 years, and each year we used email, phone calls, and direct mail to maximize our presence during the holidays. We would inevitably send an email on December 30th or 31st reminding our supporters to donate before ringing in the New Year. Surely that same methodology can be used with text blasting to help nonprofits increase end of year donations.  

Here is what your nonprofit can do this year (it’s not too late):

Build up your holiday appeal, whatever that looks like for your organization. IMHO, it should definitely include multiple ways to connect with your strongest supporters - emails, calls, and letters. As part of the appeal, include text blasts with specific asks to your strongest supporters.

Create a filter in your Nation to identify your textable supporters who have not yet donated. In the last days of December, send those supporters at warm text from a well known broadcaster (Executive Director or campaign lead) reminding them to donate before the end of the year. Make sure your the donation page is responsive and looks great on mobile devices.  

Part of me wishes I was still the ED of a non-profit, so that I could test the returns of adding text blasts to a holiday appeal. Let me know how it works for you.

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