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6 Goals Non-Profit Organizations Achieve with Text Messaging (SMS)

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You want a better way to connect with your volunteers, donors, clients, and interested public - don’t you? Then you’ve come to the right place!

You need to connect with each group differently, and hundreds of other non-profit organizations have found text messaging is the best tool for the job. It works much better than email or phone calls for both mass communications and one-on-one conversations. How?

I’ll show you! Below are six ways non-profits use text messaging to better connect with their audiences and grow their missions.

How Non-Profit Organizations Reach More Volunteers, Donors, and Community Members with Text Messages

Throughout these tips, you’ll see me reference Text Request-specific features. I’m biased towards the service, but my goal is to share with you what works. Text Request happens to work really well for these things.

If you have any questions, contact us! We’re all happy to help.

1. Reach more volunteers faster.

How are you currently reaching volunteers? Are you emailing them? Are you calling everyone? How much time does it take, and how effective has it been?

My guess is it’s been difficult and time consuming.

Constant Contact’s reports show only 20% of non-profit emails get opened. You’ve spent so much time and effort getting that list of volunteers and subscribers, it’s a shame you can only reach ⅕ of them.

Research also shows that few people answer phone calls, and fewer listen to voicemail. There are many reasons why, but the result is you spend a ton of time and resources trying to get someone on the phone.

If there were a better way, you’d use it, right?

Email vs Phone Call vs Voicemail Statistics

Well, 99% of texts are read, and they’re seen within five seconds on average. (I’ll cover more ways this can help you later). So, when you have an event coming up, or you need help for whatever reason, send a text to your list of volunteers saying:

Hey folks! We need 7 people to help us setup for Saturday’s event. Who’s in?

You can also take a page from staffing agencies’ book, and send messages like:

We need to fill 15 volunteer positions Thurs. From 10am-4pm. Can you help?

For less than what you’re currently spending on email and phone calls, you can reach all your volunteers almost instantly - and fill any positions you need - while removing phone tag and email newsletters. One text and you’re done!

2. Generate more inbound communications.

You want two types of people reaching out to your organization:

  • People who want to help you (with time or money)
  • People who need your help

Text messaging will help you bring in both. How?

Let’s look at the stats.

About ⅔ of Google searches come from mobile devices. You can use Google Trends or Keyword Planner to see the search volume for things related to your organization.

For millions of people, a smartphone is their only access to the internet. This is more common for families under the poverty line, as well as teens and young adults.

Who is Smartphone Dependent for Internet Access by Income

So you’ve got people turning to Google for answers, and people turning to Google for help. You have the answers and solutions people want - you just need them to reach out!

How does texting help? With what we call Click-to-Text.

Do you know what the most used feature on a smartphone is? Messaging. How about the most used form of communication in the world? It’s texting.

Your targets are all on their smartphones looking for answers and solutions, and texting is the #1 way they communicate. Click-to-Text is a button you can place on your website and Google listing that starts a text to your organization when clicked.

Here are a couple of screenshots.

Website Floating Click-to-Text Button: Hovers on the bottom of your website, click anytime to open a text.

Text Request Floating Click-to-Text Screenshot


Google My Business Listing: Searchers can text you directly from Google.

Text Request Google Business Listing Messaging

You can also view our Click-to-Text guides for:

Time and time again, this has brought in more inbound communications for non-profits. For the affluent, texting is easier than calling or emailing. Those in need feel more comfortable (and less afraid) reaching out via text than through a call.

In short, a simple button will help further your mission. You just need a way to manage those inbound texts. (We can help with that.)

3. Grow your subscriber list(s).

Subscribers aren’t just for email and YouTube. You can also generate SMS/text subscribers with very little effort using keywords.

A keyword is a word that people text you to opt into updates about your organization, opportunities to help, or any other kind of list you want to keep up with.

For instance, you can say Text 'Volunteer' to 423-218-0111 for updates about volunteer opportunities.

People who are interested will text in “Volunteer.” Whenever a new opportunity comes up, you can go to your Volunteer subscriber list, and send all your volunteers a text.

Create Keyword

With Text Request, keywords are only a few bucks. You can create as many as you want, and even use them with your main office number (so people can text or call the same number).

That’s a lot better than spending thousands on a spammy short code number.

To keep things simple, you can also add a prompt to your website or print materials saying Text [Volunteer] to [Your Number] for updates on [Volunteering] - or whatever you might want people to subscribe for. (Yes, you can use DONATE. I’m getting to that.)

4. Take donations via text.

Piggybacking on point #3, you can use keywords to boost your donations - and build your donor list in the process. How does that work?

It’s easy.

Create a keyword for Donate (this takes about 12 seconds in Text Request). Then tell people to text you. On your homepage, add “Text DONATE to give” (or whatever your standard messaging is).

Add it to a slide in your powerpoint. Take a moment during your presentation to ask for financial support. If you have a donations page on your website, add it there, too.

(You can add a Click-to-Text button to your donations page that opens a text prefilled with DONATE, if you want. It’s effective.)

Okay, so telling people to text you is easy. How does that turn into dollars for your organization?

While you’re creating a keyword, you can also create an auto-reply for that keyword. The auto-reply is a message automatically sent to anyone who texts DONATE. All you have to do is include the link (URL) to your donations page, where people can enter their credit card info, paypal email, etc.


A kind person texts in DONATE. They get back Thanks for donating! Just follow this link to your enter your payment info: your.org/donate. They click the link to give you money.

Most non-profits spend a significant amount of time and resources trying to bring in donors and dollars. Keywords and auto-replies help you put that campaign on autopilot while spending very little (and we won’t charge any transaction fees).

5. Follow up on past conversations.

The two types of people you mainly keep up with are those that want to help your organization and those that need your organization’s help. Text messaging is the most effective way to follow up with both (after all, that’s how you keep up with friends and family, right?).

Keep Calm and Text Friends

Let’s say someone came to your event, and you want to follow up with them. You want to invite them to coffee or to jump on a call. You can schedule that easily with a text. Here’s an example:

Hey Julie, thanks for coming out to our event on Saturday! Sorry we didn’t get much time to talk. How about we grab coffee this week?

Or maybe someone reached out for help, but you haven’t heard from them in awhile. Shoot them a text to start a conversation! There are tons of ways to start conversations via text, whether it’s for service, donations, touching base, or some other reason.

6. Send newsletter and promotions people actually see.

Reminder: 99% of texts are read, while only 20% of non-profit related emails are opened. Promotional text messages also earn ~36% click-through rates on average, which is 18X better than email’s meager 2%.

If you want your audience to see and interact with your message, texting is the way to go. Whether you’re promoting an event, new blog post, or monthly update, you can send a message like:

Good morning! Check our our new blog post to see what’s been happening with [our organization] this month: yoursite.com/blog/new-post

Messages like these help you boost mobile engagement (which will be crucial for your future success) while building a loyal and interested audience. All of this happens because you’re able to connect with people through their preferred channel. How great is that?

How do you start?

It’s simple to start texting with Text Request. Just visit our Pricing page and pick a plan. Someone from our support and success team will also reach out ASAP after you sign up to help you get the ball rolling.

If you have questions, contact us. Or if you want to see a demo of Text Request, grab a time for a walk-through on our Demo page. We’ll answer all your questions, and work with you to achieve your goals.