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Abby Jarvis 15 min read

3 Ways to Take Advantage of Texting for Your Nonprofit


This global pandemic has affected us all, including your nonprofit and its mission. With unemployment rates rising and the economy facing instability, many of you are worried about continuing your fundraising efforts. However, most nonprofit professionals advise this: don’t stop engaging your donors.

While you probably shouldn’t ask your supporters for gifts as if nothing is happening, you don’t have to pause your fundraising efforts completely. If anything, your supporters want to hear from you now more than ever. Remember to check in with your supporters and update them on your nonprofit’s next actions. They’ll appreciate the gesture and will be glad to know if there’s any way they can help.

With the majority of people advised to stay home, it’s also a great time to start using texting as a fundraising tool. For one thing, texting is now the top mode of communication among Americans under the age of 50. And since text messages have a 98% open rate within the first five minutes, it’s a great way to reach your supporters and build those important relationships. 

From the comforts of their own homes, your supporters can receive updates on your mission as well as provide their support with only a couple of keystrokes.

Whether you’ve used text fundraising efforts in the past or are just now reviewing this option, there are multiple ways your nonprofit can take advantage of texting during this global pandemic. Consider using it for the following:

  1. Supplement year-round efforts
  2. Incorporate it in P2P campaigns
  3. Use it for #GivingTuesday or your own appeal day

Text fundraising efforts are only as good as the tool that you use. Equip yourself with a comprehensive fundraising solution and make sure that you have text-to-give or text-to-donate capabilities.

Ready to learn how you can take advantage of texting for your nonprofit? Let’s get started.

1. Supplement year-round efforts

Text fundraising and mobile giving are highly popular because of their convenience. Your modern supporters likely use their mobile phones for a number of daily tasks, and our mobile phones are our most direct connection to the outside world when we’re social distancing from our friends and family.

That’s why text fundraising is a great way to supplement your nonprofit’s year-round efforts. You simply choose a keyword, then encourage your supporters to text it to a 5-digit phone number. This way, donors can give whenever they want, wherever they want.

Whether you’ve had to cancel a fundraising event or postpone face-to-face efforts, you’re likely adjusting your fundraising methods so you can reach your projected revenue. No one could have predicted the true impact of COVID-19, but it’s possible to adjust! Providing another channel of giving can help you offset some of the negative financial impacts.

As the situation and fundraising landscape continues to evolve, you can also use your text fundraising tool to update your supporters on new changes. For instance, use outbound text messaging to let them know what your nonprofit is doing to help the pandemic. You can also send helpful resources on new CDC guidelines! You can always boost your fundraising efforts with consistent and valuable communication.

To advertise your text fundraising phone number, it’s a good idea to post it on your main website, social media account bios, direct mail appeals, and within any email announcements. For more tips on effective fundraising campaigns and to get the word of your text giving efforts out there, check out this comprehensive guide.

2. Incorporate it in P2P campaigns.

If you’re stuck on brainstorming your next fundraising endeavor, consider hosting a peer-to-peer campaign. Existing almost entirely online and on various social media platforms, a P2P fundraiser can help you raise money as well as increase awareness of your cause. This is perfect for those who’ve had to postpone or cancel upcoming in-person events.

In a P2P campaign, you recruit a group of volunteer fundraisers and equip them with their own online campaign page. This is a great way to empower your supporters while they’re stuck at home feeling unable to help the causes they care about. 

To create the P2P campaign pages for your volunteer fundraisers, your best bet is to invest in a dedicated P2P platform to add to your nonprofit software toolkit. According to this re:Charity article, some of the best fundraising strategies are due to the tech used. With the right P2P tool, each volunteer can customize their campaign page with images, text, and video describing their connection to your organization. Then, they can promote their unique page on whatever social media platform they want. 

Incorporating texting into your P2P campaign is a great way to increase donations while also mobilizing and motivating your P2P participants. To do this, create a text fundraising keyword and phone number for your particular P2P campaign. It will add another convenient way to give to your nonprofit and further your mission.

Your participants can even add their own sub-keyword which will allow text gifts to be credited toward their own fundraising appeals. For example: if your keyword is “Walk2019,” a participant could add the sub-keyword “Jarvis” (or whatever they choose). When a donor texts “Walk2019 Jarvis,” their donation will count toward that participant’s goal.

Your text tool can also engage your supporters and volunteers! Consider these other ways texting can benefit your event:

    • Advertise your upcoming P2P campaign. To get some early recruits, send out a mass text to your supporters to gain an initial sense of who might want to participate in your P2P campaign.
    • Share fundraising resources and P2P tips. During the campaign, send helpful resources to participants who have opted into receiving updates and spark inspiration in your volunteers. 
    • Update them on the progress to your goal. A good way to motivate your volunteers to continue fundraising and your supporters to give is let them know just how close you are to your goal. The closer you get to that goal, the more excited your supporters will get!
    • Spark friendly competition. Consider sending out texts letting your participants know how the other fundraisers are doing. You can say something like “X is in the lead for the top fundraiser! Catch up to them before the campaign ends.”
  • Send out reminders and deadlines. As the campaign comes to an end, send out reminders to your volunteers! This can push them to fundraise harder as you get closer and closer to the conclusion of your campaign.

P2P campaigns can often raise a lot of money in a short amount of time. This is because social media platforms allow for such a wide reach! When one volunteer posts their P2P page, it’s shared to their whole network of family and friends. When two volunteers post, that number is doubled, and so on. Combined with the convenience and ease of texting, your P2P campaign can bring in some much-needed revenue.

3. Use it for #GivingTuesday or your own appeal day 

One of the biggest fundraising days for nonprofits across the board is #GivingTuesday. Taking place the Tuesday day after Thanksgiving, this charitable day encourages people everywhere to give back to the organization of their choosing. In 2019, $1.97 billion was raised on #GivingTuesday alone.

Texting has increased the reach and influence of #GivingTuesday in the past, and the same idea can be put to use for your own day of awareness. To best incorporate texting into an upcoming campaign, keep these things in mind:

  1. Before the big day, build your text-to-give list. Make it easy for any of your supporters to opt into text updates by providing links and forms in your email newsletters, social media outreach efforts, and your main website. From there, you can also contact past supporters and current donors.
  2. On the day of your appeal, send out a text reminder to your supporters about the work you’re doing and how that will help those you serve. Include simple instructions to help facilitate the process.
  3. Once the day is over, use your texting tool to also thank those donors who gave. Showing donor appreciation is one of the most important parts of any giving process, and especially shouldn’t be forgotten now.

If you’re curious about campaign ideas and projects, check out this Qgiv article on #GivingTuesday ideas to get inspired. And after you’ve picked the best digital fundraising idea, consider incorporating texting to further maximize success.

As COVID-19 continues to impact how organizations function, nonprofits are scrambling to figure out their next move. Incorporating texting in your digital fundraising strategy can help you raise funds and gives you an additional channel to engage supporters while they’re stuck at home. Just read our guide and make sure to invest in a top text fundraising tool!

Looking for SMS numbers? Care2 can provide them! 

We can now recruit new supporters to sign up for your broadcast SMS or peer-to-peer texting programs (and you still get the email addresses). 

Get in touch to learn how we deliver SMS numbers for broadcast and peer-to-peer messaging.

We all know texting is taking on increasing importance as a cost effective, highly engaging, channel, and it works particularly well in tandem with email. By combining these channels, many charities are boosting engagement, raising more money, and increasing donor retention.  


Abby Jarvis

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.