Your nonprofit may already have a text messaging strategy, but is it yielding results you can regularly count on?
If not, it’s likely time to revisit the way you frame your messages and whether or not they’re tailored to each individual donor.
Personalization can make a huge difference in whether you’re able to grab supporters’ attention and encourage them to act on your requests. Customizing texts with elements like your donors’ preferences, interests, and history of involvement with your organization can help boost engagement rates and encourage recurring giving. Plus, personalization helps donors feel recognized and appreciated by your organization, strengthening their emotional connection to your mission.
Use these expert tips to generate personalized messages that will push your mission forward:
- Create Donor Segments
- Leverage Special Occasions and Milestones
- Thank Donors for Their Specific Contributions
Rather than manually personalizing your messages—which will eat up far too much of your organization’s time—Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging recommends using a comprehensive text messaging platform that will automatically infuse custom elements into all of your texts. This way, you can send off texts in moments that are uniquely fitted to each individual.
Armed with an intuitive text messaging platform designed specifically for nonprofits, you’ll be in great shape to revamp your texting strategy. Let’s begin.
Create Donor Segments
Rather than sending generic messages to all of your supporters that feel distant, leverage the power of segmentation to personalize your messaging to different donor subsets. Segmentation is the process of dividing your contact list into subgroups based on common characteristics that they share. These could be factors like:
- Demographics (location, age, etc.)
- Donation amount
- Donation frequency
- Donation recency
- Level of involvement
Segmentation simulates the feeling of one-on-one conversation, enhancing donor relationships, and fostering stronger connections. It’s also highly effective when soliciting donors for certain donation amounts. For example, you wouldn’t send the same text donation appeal to a major donor that you would to a smaller, lower-tier donor. Using data from donors’ past giving history, you can send segmented donation requests that are reasonable to the individual and most likely to be acted on.
A practical example is a higher-education institution that segments based on interests to guide their donation requests. For example, they might segment their alumni donors by their area of study and then provide them with updates on their former academic department. Then they can explain different ways alumni can give back to their alma mater so students in this same major can thrive.
To effectively segment your messages, you’ll need a comprehensive nonprofit text messaging platform that allows you to categorize your supporters based on factors relevant to your nonprofit’s goals. Not all text-to-give platforms are created equally, however. Be sure to choose a text-to-donate platform that has the robust capability to segment lists to your needs.
Leverage Special Occasions and Milestones
If you have information about significant milestones in the recipients’ lives or noteworthy dates as they relate to your organization, consider sending personalized messages to celebrate or acknowledge those occasions. This digital recognition strategy shows that you care about donors as individuals and appreciate their support. Then, you can tie these milestones back into why supporters should continue to give to your organization and strengthen their impact.
Consider sending messages on special days such as:
- Major holidays
- Anniversaries or milestones, such as the anniversary since they joined your monthly giving program or gave to your nonprofit for the first time
For example, an animal welfare nonprofit could send messages on the anniversary of a donor adopting their dog. These reminders of shared experiences can motivate donors to give back and continue their involvement.
To gather these insights, you might record notes from your conversations with donors or store information that they’ve given to you through surveys or donation forms in your CRM. Then work with a text fundraising platform that will readily integrate with your CRM so you can easily infuse donor-specific information into your messages. Donors will feel extra special when you remember important dates in their lives and will be excited to support your organization again in the future.
Thank Donors for Their Specific Contributions
A strong part of any donor appreciation strategy is thanking donors for their contributions as soon as they give with personalized messages. There are many reasons donors should be thanked for their donation, including:
- It shows your donors you care about them
- It keeps your mission at the forefront of donors minds and brings regular awareness to your cause
- It increases the chances that one-time donors will give again and become recurring donors
A hand-written note is always a kind gesture, but sending out hundreds or thousands of thank- you cards to donors can be time consuming. Even if the cards are sent out, direct mail could get lost or missed. Since texting has a 99% open rate, it’s more than likely that your thank-you notes sent over text will be seen.
Leverage a text messaging platform that can automatically generate personalized thank-you messages as soon as a donation is made. ECardWidget’s guide to thanking donors recommends plugging a ready-to-go thank-you template into your platform so your automated messages will greet the donor with their preferred name, reference their specific donation amount, and explain the impact it made.
If donors give a significant amount, you might go the extra mile by having a one-on-one meeting to express your gratitude, calling them on the phone, or inviting them to a topic-focused luncheon in addition to sending them an automated text. This way, you can lead more than one stewardship activity that will help donors connect with your mission and feel inspired to continue giving.
Text-to-give fundraisers can significantly boost your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, but they need a human touch to truly resonate with supporters. Use the right text messaging technology to personalize your messaging and ensure your donation requests, thank-you messages, and other texts capture your audience’s attention and motivate them to give back. Before you know it, you’ll have a winning text messaging strategy that turns your goals into reality.
About the Author
Mike Snusz brings 19 years of digital fundraising experience to his role as Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango, a text messaging platform for nonprofits and political campaigns. Prior to Tatango, Mike spent 15 years at Blackbaud leading a team of digital consultants that helped nonprofits improve their online fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. He started his nonprofit career managing the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.
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Additionally, check out the following Successful Nonprofits® resources if this post was helpful:
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