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

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You need to connect with your volunteers, donors, clients, and interested public, so you can make a difference in your community. But phone calls and emails just aren't fast enough, and you're not even sure people are seeing your messages!

That's why hundreds of other non-profit organizations use text messaging as their go-to for serving more people and making daily communications simple. It works much better than email or phone calls for both mass communications and one-on-one conversations.

How?

Check out the numbers:

  • 99% of texts are read
  • 95% of texts are read in three minutes
  • 40% to 50% of text messages are responded to

Let's look at six ways your own non-profit can use the power of text messaging to better connect with your audience and grow your mission!

1. Reach more volunteers faster.

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

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

Only 20% of non-profit emails get opened, and only 5% of phone calls are actually answered. Which is upsetting, because you’ve spent so much time and effort just getting that list of volunteers and subscribers.

But remember99% of texts are read, and they’re seen within five seconds on average. 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 set up 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 instantlyand fill any positions you needwhile 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 for 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 wantyou just need them to reach out!

How does texting help? You let them text you directly from your website with SMS Chat. This keeps the person from having to dig for answers, connects you immediately, and gives you their phone number for follow-ups. 

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.

A simple widget can 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.

With Text Request, you can create as many keywords as you want, and even use them with your main office number (so people can text or call the same 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. Check out the next section.)

Related: How to Build a Powerful SMS Subscriber List

4. Take donations via text.

Piggybacking on point #3, you can use keywords to boost your donationsand 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."

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

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, or other details you need.

Example:

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.

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.

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 newsletters and promotions people actually see.

Promotional text messages 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 can your non-profit start texting?

It’s simple to start texting with Text Request. Just grab a time for a quick demo. Our team will answer all your questions, and work with you to achieve your goals. We'll even work with you to text enable your current business number. Just check below to see if it's eligible!