Is SMS the future of fundraising? 5 months ago

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.

Charities and not-for-profits can take advantage of the evolving digital world and can now use SMS in fundraising campaigns and marketing.

SMS is a simple digital donation platform that alleviates the need for paperwork and allows charities to collect donations with ease.

An SMS can be engaging, direct, and an effective way to help a charity build awareness and reach fundraising goals. Research suggests that supporters open text messages four times more than they open emails so including SMS in your next fundraising campaign makes a lot of sense.

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.

SMS fundraising case studies

Red Cross Australia

According to research provided by Parachute Digital, Red Cross sent a simple and clear SMS donation message to all donors who had lapsed. They received a 9% conversion rate which reactivated many lapsed donors. The donation ask was $30; however, the average gift was $130. The texts cost 0.08 cents providing a strong return on the investment.

SAWA-Australia

Text Magic.com provided details of a positive case study involving SMS fundraising.

SAWA Australia needed a low-cost solution for communicating with their supporters because they believed their emails were going unnoticed, so they began sending text messages. The organisation saw the attendances at their fundraising events have increased since they introduce the SMS. As well as their online raffle ticket sales have also increased.

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 addition, the following tips will help introduce SMS in fundraising campaigns:

  • 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, contact us today.