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Maximizing Engagement: Crafting an Effective Raiser’s Edge NXT SMS Text Messaging Campaign

By John McManus, Principal Consultant

Part 1 of 2

Text messaging is one of the most critical fundraising strategies right now.  Why is it so important? Virtually everyone has a mobile phone. If you want to upgrade how you fundraise, consider going beyond the traditional mail or email appeals. You have another effective way to request donations from your constituents is by texting them. The likelihood of your donors responding is very high. According to Constant Contact, “SMS marketing has a response rate of 209% higher than email, phone, or social media marketing.”

Effective marketing begins with understanding your audience. Most of your donors will only read an SMS containing the call to action to donate instead of an entire email that includes the why and the story behind your fundraising campaign. However, your donors may wind up feeling like you're just asking for money instead of feeling like they are part of the journey.  It may lead to lower conversion rates and donors who don't stick around for the long haul.  You want to raise funds sustainably, not based on people's impulsive decisions, but you also want to build a meaningful connection with your donors and have them engage with your campaigns.

So, with everything in life, you need balance. Let's discuss the five steps needed to hit your fundraising goals by incorporating text messaging as a key component of your fundraising strategy.

  1. Defining your organization's brand messaging will inspire your donors and make your organization's job easier. Your organization needs to start with a brand promise whenever you create a new campaign. So first, what is your organization promising to do for the world? This might be different from your mission statement. Next, you want to discuss your mission, vision, and purpose.

  2. Setting up a fundraising goal for each campaign is important. For example, if you have a text campaign, you want to know what content is engaging your donors and then set a goal based on how much you’re looking to raise. The story you convey in your text message needs to be a lot more concise and to the point than what you include in your email or social media campaigns. Therefore, you need to be realistic about the goals you set, especially early on in your efforts. 

  3. Consider the donor engagement steps and take your donor down this communication path.  You can continue nurturing your donors by sending them regular text updates on your mission or cause.  Regular text messaging fosters communication, and your donors will get used to this form of messaging, ultimately enhancing this conversation and encouraging donations.

  4. Setting the right tone is essential to create a tailored message to your donors using things like their first names (or preferred salutations) and facts about their prior giving and engagement. You want to personalize your text message so that it will resonate with your donors. In addition, it's essential to consider the relationship between you and your donors and the campaign you are running. Finally, you also want to ensure that the call to action you use in your message appeals to your targeted market or donors, and you want to compel them to click through the message.

  5. Define the right audience to ensure that you are sending your text message to suitable donors. Based on your early results, you should be able to determine which donors respond better to text messaging than more traditional methods. Some donors may prefer one method of communication, while others may be receptive to a blend of communication methods. Most importantly, you want to ensure that you have an active mobile number for your donors when you send text messages. With Raiser’s Edge NXT, you can easily accomplish this by building lists based on demographics, communication preferences, and appeal response history.

In the next blog post of this two-part series, we will explore the various Marketplace apps and their features that you can use to drive your fundraising goals with SMS text messaging.


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