3 keys to a successful text message fundraising strategy

Texting is a must and no longer a nice-to-have for your advancement shop if you want to compete for (and win) the attention of your donors and constituents. At a time where 45% of Gen Z (those born between 1997-2012) cite “not being asked” as their reason for not donating to charity, it’s more imperative than ever for organizations to adopt and leverage a text message fundraising strategy that can provide scalable and interactive means to engage with donors, using the channel they use virtually all day long.  

What is peer-to-peer texting and how does it work with text message fundraising?

Peer-to-peer texting (sometimes known as P2P) is when two or more people communicate over texting. With peer-to-peer texting, the sender can send a direct text message to the recipient either at scale or one-to-one. Because of its direct and personal channel of communication, texting is often used in customer engagement, political and fundraising campaigns. 

Why you need a peer-to-peer text message fundraising strategy

Peer-to-peer texting is easy to implement and quick to deliver results. For the purposes of fundraising, P2P offers a personal, authentic and scalable way to connect with donors one-on-one, making them feel more connected to your organization and likely to become long-term supporters. It’s also proven: 91% of American adults own a smartphone, and SMS open rates are around a staggering 98%.

Some peer-to-peer text messaging providers allow you to create and send texts at scale and manage two-way conversations with a smart messaging center while integrating with your CRM to track donor touchpoints.

Here are three keys to setting up your texting strategy for success:

1. Mind your data

It all starts with complete and good donor data. Begin by analyzing what percent of your constituent base you have an accurate mobile number for. A solid target is 60% or above of your solicitable base. If you’re already there, you’re already off to a great start.  

For those that are below target or not even sure what percent of your constituent base has cell numbers versus landline, there are a couple options that are quick and easy to execute.

  1. Cell phone verification research: Several firms can execute this level of data enrichment which identifies which of the phone numbers you already have in your CRM are mobile. From there it’s a matter of flagging them accordingly within your CRM.
  2. Donor-generated updates: Using tools like video to engage your audience, driving people to quickly and easily update their contact information provides high-quality updated information that will improve your outreach through text and every other channel you leverage.
  3. Cell append research: Much like the name would imply, this research allows you to append new mobile numbers onto constituent records. While many data enrichment companies offer this solution, make sure you select a vendor that focuses on quality over quantity and measures the accuracy of those numbers. 

Keep in mind that most texting platforms will help you identify the phone numbers that aren’t cell phones, so not knowing whether a phone number is a mobile or landline in your CRM isn’t the end of the world.

2. Don’t use text message fundraising for solicitation only

One of the biggest mistakes organizations and institutions can make is using any new channel as solely a solicitation tool. While using texting for fundraising is critical in 2024 and beyond, it’s important to strike a balance between using texting for donor engagement, and stewardship as well as solicitation.  

The reason for this is simple: if you only use a channel to solicit, then your donors will tune out over time and will be less likely to engage with you via that channel.

3. Don’t assume—test and know

“Texting would be a great tool for young alumni, but I don’t think our more life-experienced donors will want a text from us.” This is one of many assumptions that’s not based on data, but rather based on preconceived notions. While it’s helpful to have a hypothesis about tools like texting, it’s even better to have data to make informed decisions.

Set aside your team’s assumptions about texting and test it with new audiences and new campaigns. This will help you learn what works and what doesn’t with your unique constituents. 

Strengthen donor engagement with texting

The worst-performing text campaign will be the one you didn’t launch. When it’s well-executed as part of omnichannel donor outreach, texting will help you reach the audience that isn’t hearing your message today and ultimately accelerate your fundraising success.

Meet your constituents where they are with texting. Gravyty’s personalized, peer-to-peer text messaging lets you create and send texts at scale, integrate with your CRM to track donor touch points and manage two-way conversations with a smart messaging center.

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