Is SMS essential for a successful fundraising strategy?

Research suggests that supporters open text messages four times more than they open emails but is SMS essential for a successful fundraising strategy?

The digital and mobile future is fast becoming our present-day reality.

From mobile websites to mobile payments, and everything in between; consumers now spend more time using their mobiles than they do a desktop computer.

As mobile grows at a rapid rate, both in terms of usage and monetisation, mobile technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, giving organisations increased capacity to build on digital and mobile marketing.

The benefits of using SMS in fundraising

Engaging with donors via SMS has been adopted by many charities, and they have had great success in reaching their members, meeting their goals and raising awareness. Some benefits for including SMS in fundraising are:

Offers donors a seamless and straightforward transaction process

Reaches supporters instantly

A very high open rate

An affordable solution to other marketing such as phone calls, recruiting advertising agencies, and radio and television advertisements

Supporters can receive regular updates and links to the websites and progress reports

Creates urgency

The limitations of using SMS in fundraising

While there are many reasons to consider using SMS in your next fundraiser, there are also limitations to this type of marketing.Being aware of these and incorporating restrictions somewhere else in your campaign will ensure your SMS campaign complements rather than hinders your wider fundraising strategy.

SMS in fundraising can offer little room for story-telling. The messages are often short and to the point

Lacks branding; logos, colours and other design elements cannot be used when sending an SMS to donors

Difficult to offer engagement with your supporters. Often donors enjoy the opportunity to engage with the charity and its members.

Miss capturing the donor data.

These limitations do not, however, outweigh the benefits. SMS fundraising can be an effective and engaging platform for non-for profits, and many charities have had great success.

Tips for using SMS in fundraising

SMS fundraising can be a platform that allows donors to give to a charity by sending a single SMS text message. It has the potential for non-for-profits to raise record amounts of money as long as it’s a clear, concise, memorable message that creates urgency.

In order for SMS to reach its full potential as a fundraising tool, it’s essential that your SMS content is professionally written and identifies the reasons donors should support your charity in just a few words.

Test campaigns

It’s fruitless creating SMS campaigns and sending to the whole of your database without first testing the efficacy. As most SMS campaigns require you to pay per message, we recommend that you test on a small cross-section before incorporating SMS into your fundraising strategy.

Perhaps segment and take a small section from each location, age range or employment status before launching to the whole of your database.

Analyse data

To create a highly effective, targeted SMS campaign, thorough high-level analysis incorporating much more than income is required. Your reporting should segregate SMS income further based on previous donation history and personal information relevant to your campaign.

SupporterHub is an integrated CRM combining data analysis capabilities with donor management. Use SupporterHub to analyse results from SMS fundraising to ensure that future campaigns are targeted towards donors most likely to respond to SMS asks.

Build your brand

While SMS is an effective way to create urgency in your campaigns, you can also build your brand and keep yourself at the forefront of a donor’s mind without asking for support each time. Keep recipients up-to-date with upcoming events and use SMS to say thank you rather than exclusively asking for support.

There’s no denying that SMS is an effective method to build a charity when implemented effectively. This innovation in fundraising allows charities to offer their donors a simple digital donation solution making giving easier to build fundraising income.

To find out how SupporterHub can analyse data to create targeted, highly-effective SMS campaigns, sign up today and get four weeks free! Get started

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