Launch an Incredible Text Campaign for End-of-Year Fundraising

While online giving was merely flat for most of 2022, two of the biggest online giving days of the year saw a troubling double-digit decline last year. GivingTuesday and December 31 online giving each decreased by 13% in 2022

With these two important giving days looming in Q4, how can nonprofits improve this year’s results?

One way is to reach more donors and constituents at those critical moments via text message. With a 99% open rate—and 90% opened within three minutes—there is no better channel to quickly reach donors than text messaging. Texting offers unmatched engagement and immediacy to help nonprofits reach and convert more donors during time-sensitive campaigns. 

It’s one of the reasons 4 out of 5 nonprofits either have a texting program or plan to start one

Types of Texting Platforms

After deciding to start a text messaging program, one of the first decisions is the type of texting platform to use. Person-to-person (P2P) texting is one-to-one texting where you click send to text one person at a time. It’s better for back-and-forth conversations and smaller audiences, but it’s harder to scale to send to larger audiences. 

Broadcast texting is one-to-many and allows nonprofits to reach larger audiences with one click. Broadcast texts to thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—are sent and delivered quickly, which is important for time-focused campaigns like GivingTuesday and end-of-year. 

Who Can I Text?

Whether you’re using P2P texting (1:1) or broadcast texting (1:many), nonprofits can text constituents and donors who previously gave them their phone numbers. This means nonprofits do not necessarily have to build their texting list from scratch ahead of year-end giving. 

Timeline: Short Code Versus 10DLC

One important decision that impacts when you can launch a text messaging program is whether you use a 10DLC (10-digit long code) or short code, such as SMS (short message service, which is text only) or MMS (multimedia messaging service, which can include up to 40 seconds of video, audio, GIFs, and images). A 10DLC sends texts from a 10-digit number (e.g. 789-867-5309) and can be set up quickly, usually in a couple of weeks. But, 10DLCs often have lower deliverability and send MMS texts much slower. For these reasons, they’re often good for smaller nonprofits with smaller audiences. 

Short codes have a longer setup period, usually four to six weeks as phone carriers review the application. But once approved, texts from short codes have higher deliverability, MMS texts can be sent quickly to large audiences, and a 30-second video can be played directly within texts. Short codes are often better for medium to larger nonprofits with larger audiences (10,000+). 

Launching Initial Text Messages

If a nonprofit does reach out to constituents who have previously provided their phone number, it’s recommended to set expectations on the texts constituents will receive and give an easy way for them to unsubscribe. It’s also good to send a contact card that constituents can save so they can recognize future texts from the nonprofit. Here are examples:

After that, lead with cultivation and engagement text messages. Report back to donors on the impact of their donations given earlier in the year. Share stories that donors made possible. Offer holiday volunteer opportunities. Ask them to sign a card or petition. 

When to Send Fundraising Texts

When our Tatango team analyzed the 100 MMS texts with the highest return on investment since last December, more than half were time-sensitive. Given the immediacy of texting, this isn’t a surprise. For year-end fundraising texts, those sent closer to deadlines may perform better than those sent further out. For example, sending multiple texts on GivingTuesday may perform better than sending texts leading up to GivingTuesday. Texts sent December 30-31 may have a higher ROI than texts sent earlier that week. 

Overall Timeline

Your timeline to launch a texting program ahead of year-end giving will depend on whether a 10DLC (smaller organizations) or short code (medium to larger organizations) is a better fit. Nonprofits needing a short code should pick a texting partner by mid- to late October at the latest, so the four- to six-week short code application can start by then. While you would like to ideally launch ahead of GivingTuesday, nonprofits have launched texting programs in December and seen high ROI from late-December fundraising texts. 

For more information on launching a year-end text message program with Tatango, please contact us