Most of us are familiar with SMS marketing in a commercial context. Many organisations use text messaging as a powerful means of creating brand awareness, enticing people to buy, and as a way of promoting special deals and new products. The charity sector can also benefit hugely from regular SMS campaigns.
This was highlighted recently in The Guardian newspaper, which reported on the impact of SMS marketing on charitable giving. Paul de Gregorio is Head of Mobile at Open Fundraising, an organisation that works with several of the biggest names in the charity world to increase the amounts and regularity of donations.
Vital to Stay Ahead of the Game
De Gregorio says that it is vital that charities keep up with the latest developments in SMS and mobile internet technology if they are to continue to attract donations. He sums up the importance of this by adding that ‘If we don’t get what we are looking for, in the format we want it, presented at the speed we demand, we start to look elsewhere’. What this means is that if your charity isn’t able to stay ahead of the latest technological developments, there will be another one that does have those capabilities, and that is the organisation that will attract the most donations and new donors.
Don't Miss Out
If you’re not SMS marketing to promote awareness of your cause, and to encourage donations, you’re missing out on a huge spectrum of potential for your organisation. The fact that we no longer need a signature on paper to get people to sign up to direct debits or regular donations is a wide-ranging opportunity that has the power to put your charity on the map.
Make Giving Easy
De Gregorio has pointed out that charities have a long history of encouraging people to take a stand, to adopt a particular belief, or to align themselves with a particular cause. While this is great in itself, this alignment is meaningless if it does not translate into donations that allow your organisation to take the actions required to facilitate real change. He commented that ‘We need to make the act of giving as frictionless as possible. The future of fundraising and technology is firmly embedded in our phones and how we use them’.
A Simple Means of Funding
There is a wide range of ways in which SMS marketing can be used to benefit your charity. First and foremost, SMS can be used as a means of actually giving donations. This has been very successfully employed in a number of high-profile campaigns, such as Comic Relief, Text Santa and Children in Need.
Making a donation by text is probably the easiest way possible to show support for your chosen cause. Because it is so easy, and literally takes seconds to complete, people are more likely to give what they can to enable the work of your charity. However, this requires an agreement between all of the mobile networks and is difficult for all but the largest, highest profile charities to attain.
For smaller organisations, we recommend inserting a short URL into the body of the message that can deliver your would-be contributors to your website or JustGiving page to make a donation in another way.
Enhance the Power of SMS Donationa
You can make text donations to your charity a powerful marketing tool in itself by using social media. If you work with SMS marketers who really know the business, they will be able to set up a service that allows users to share the fact that they have contributed to a good cause via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.
Sharing is Caring
Charitable giving used to be considered something you did in a quiet and noble manner; you certainly didn’t shout about making a donation. The 21st century, however, is all about sharing. We now share much of our lives via SMS and social media, and the creation of a dedicated online image is now very important on both a personal and business level. If people who donate to your charity via SMS are able to share what they’ve done, they are likely to enjoy the approval and admiration this may generate. This means that they will come back to contribute to your cause again and again, and that really is worth its weight in gold.
SMS marketing isn’t just a tool for getting people to make a donation. It can also be used as a means to say ‘thank you’ to the people who have supported your work. The power of those two little words cannot be underestimated. Receiving a text that expresses gratitude for a contribution validates the effort people have made, and makes them feel good about getting involved.
Modern technology doesn’t often include such basics as good manners, but these can catapult your organisation into the stratosphere. People who feel valued for helping their chosen charity, and who are reminded of their value in a convenient, non-intrusive way, are much more likely to continue to make regular contributions.
Establish a New Campaign Quickly and Easily
Using SMS marketing means that you can roll out a new campaign at a rapid pace. For example, you could use texts to alert your supporters to recent news reports surrounding your cause; to inform them about a new initiative you are spearheading, or to create a new sense of urgency about your cause. Done effectively, this should translate into measurable results for your charity.
Tell People What's Being Done with Their Cash
One of the reasons that some people are reluctant to donate to charities is that they are sometimes unsure of where exactly their money is going. You can use SMS marketing to inform people of the power of their donation. For example, you could calculate the average amount contributed by an individual, and break this down into a smart text message that shows people what’s happening with their money. If your contributors feel that what they are doing is genuinely meaningful, they are more likely to continue to support your organisation. And that is the power of SMS marketing.