Guide to Mass Texting and Text Marketing for Nonprofits + Free Text Templates & FAQ Answers
Religious organizations, political groups, charities, and community-based organizations all need fast, easy, personalized ways to grow subscriber lists, manage contacts and engage communities.
But what’s the best way to start and manage conversations with as many people as possible?
In this article, I cover:
- What text marketing for nonprofits is
- Why texting works for nonprofit marketing
- How to get started with a mass texting service for nonprofits
- 8 ways a mass texting service fits into your nonprofit marketing plan or strategy
- Free copy and paste nonprofit text messaging templates
- Answers to frequently asked mass texting for nonprofits questions
By the end, you’ll know how to maximize texting as part of your nonprofit communications plan.
Read on to learn how to meet your communications, engagement, donation, and fundraising goals.
Why Texting is an Effective Way for Nonprofits to Communicate with Supporters, Volunteers, Stakeholders, and Donors
SMS marketing for nonprofits is a powerful communication tool. It combines high open rates, immediate reach, personalization, convenience, and targeted engagement.
Below are six reasons why texting helps nonprofits connect with their supporters, volunteers, donors, and stakeholders.
1. Texts have high open rates compared to email and phone calls
Text messages have high open and engagement rates. The open rate for SMS text messages can be as high as 98% compared to around 20% for email.
Additionally, people are almost five times more likely to answer text messages than emails. And 53% of emails end up in spam folders, compared to only 3% of texts.
What if you’re calling contacts from an unknown number? Well, 1 in 4 people won’t even answer the phone or listen to your voicemail.
2. Texts are more convenient and accessible than email and voice
Compare the advantages and benefits of texts, email, and voice; people often prefer texting because it's more convenient.
Don’t get me wrong. There will always be a need for email and voice in your nonprofit marketing strategy. You can even use tools like Zapier to integrate texting with your existing email marketing campaigns and text-enable your CRM.
Texting is discrete and far less obtrusive than a phone call. And texts are easier to send and receive compared to email. It takes the pressure off the recipients to set aside time to answer your call or compose an email response.
Text messages are also supremely accessible. Some 5.1 billion people use mobile devices globally and nearly every single one of their phones is text-enabled.
This makes it easy to engage with everyone in your community, regardless of what kind of phone they have.
3. Texting feels more personal than email and just as conversational as voice
It’s easy to customize and personalize text messages and create a sense of personal connection.
Texts give nonprofits an opportunity to deliver concise and personalized messages, making supporters feel valued and engaged.
The conversational nature of text messaging also fosters a sense of intimacy. This can help to build stronger relationships with your audience.
4. Nonprofits get more immediate and direct reach through texting
Mass text messaging for nonprofits makes it easy to reach people directly on their mobile devices. This direct access increases the likelihood of engagement.
Text message marketing for nonprofits also requires recipients to opt in. This naturally leads to higher levels of interest and engagement.
By actively subscribing to text lists for updates, supporters show they’re wanting to engage with your organization. You can use this to more accurately gauge the likelihood of further support or event attendance.
5. Texts make it easy to include prompt and effective calls-to-action (CTAs)
Text messages can include clear and actionable requests, such as donation appeals, volunteer sign-ups, or event registrations.
The simplicity and immediacy of text messages make it convenient for supporters to respond quickly and take a desired action.
6. Mass texting services for nonprofits make it easy to segment and target specific groups of contacts
Just like email, most text marketing platforms offer segmentation capabilities. This allows your organization to categorize and group community members based on specific criteria such as location, interests, or donation history.
Texting also enables nonprofits to send more targeted messages tailored to each segment.
More targeted, specific, and personalized messaging that’s relevant often leads to higher conversion, engagement, and donation rates.
How to Get Started With a Mass Texting Service for Nonprofits
There are many text messaging services for churches and nonprofits, including MessageDesk. But the trick is choosing the right platform based on your organization’s needs.
Below is a step-by-step guide for evaluating your options and getting started.
1. Select a texting service for nonprofits
The first step to starting a nonprofit texting campaign is to sign up with a text marketing platform.
As you get started, there are several key features you’ll want to look for when evaluating solutions.
The first key feature is high-volume, carrier-verified, mass texting—also known as 10DLC.
Planning to send large-scale SMS marketing campaigns? You’ll want texting software for nonprofits that supports mass texting.
This is how you stay compliant and get near 100% message delivery rates. Without this, you can only send a limited number of texts, and delivery isn’t guaranteed.
Note: MessageDesk’s text message broadcasts do support high-volume, carrier-verified 10DLC messaging.
The second grouping of features you’ll want to look for often come with shared team SMS inboxes. These include:
- Team routing and management features when you receive text messages
- Text message scheduling and automation
- Support for templates, tags, links, and media
- Keyword-based autoresponder texts
- Contact list management and custom fields
- And integrations (depending on your messaging needs)
2. Create a free account
Once you've selected a texting platform, get started with a free account. This gives you time to get answers to questions and test the platform's capabilities.
Note: you’re always free to try MessageDesk for 14 days, free.
3. Select an SMS phone number
Now that you have a free account, you can text-enable a new or existing business phone line.
If you want to text from an existing business number or landline, submit a number porting request. Just keep in mind that it might take between 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your nonprofit business number upon submission.
MessageDesk also offers a range of additional options when it comes to phone numbers for texting. These include both local text numbers and toll-free SMS numbers.
4. Import your contacts and segment them into groups and lists
After selecting your text number, you’ll need to import all your contacts into your text messaging platform.
MessageDesk allows you to import all your contacts using a CSV file or through a Zapier integration. You can also categorize your lists and groups with custom fields and other unique contact information.
5. Create templates with tags, media, and links
Once you upload your contacts to your texting service, you can now compose your messages.
Templates ultimately allow you to create more personalized texts. This allows you to optimize your nonprofit messaging for deeper engagement with your audience.
It’s also possible to pre-save templates for different types of nonprofit text message marketing for events and various campaigns.
5. Compose and schedule text message broadcasts
Composing a broadcast in MessageDesk is simple. All you need to do is create or select the group of contacts you want to send to.
You can then add exclusions and preview your message before you hit send.
6. Set up automated text messages
Nonprofit texting services like MessageDesk make it easy to automatically send texts when someone texts your phone number with a keyword.
“LEARN,” “HELP,” “DONATE,” “UPDATES,” or “EVENT” are all examples of autoresponder keywords.
You can also set automated texts to send when you or someone on your team is away or unavailable. These “out-of-office texts” aren’t based on a keyword. They’re based on a timeframe that you set.
7. Integrate a text-to-give platform for charitable giving with Zapier
With SMS for nonprofits, you can run a whole host of campaign types.
But most likely, you’ll want to connect and integrate your nonprofit texting service with other tools. This is where you can use Zapier to connect MessageDesk to 3000+ other tools and services.
With Zapier, integrating MessageDesk is easy. You can:
- Add, update, and sync contacts with MessageDesk
- Add a contact to a group on MessageDesk
- Send a text message when an action happens in another app
- Enable easy mobile donations with text-to-give
8 Ways a Mass Texting Service Fits Into Your Nonprofit Communications Strategy + Nonprofit Texting Templates
Mass texting for nonprofits gives you the advantage of immediate engagement. It’s great when you need to communicate with volunteers, send event reminders, or even ask for donations.
Below are additional ways your organization can use a nonprofit texting platform. I’ve also included free copy/paste text message templates.
1. Collect donations with text-to-give and text-to-donate campaigns
Text-to-give and text-to-donate campaigns can play a key role in your fundraising strategy and marketing goals.
The best text-to-donate campaigns integrate with fundraising software. This makes it easy for donors to text keywords that trigger an automatic response. That response can then start the donation collection process.
With text message donations for nonprofits, you can send higher volumes of carrier-verified text broadcasts. This can help you collect donor information and further encourage people to give or donate.
Your messages should contain details about your campaign and donation instructions or a link to a donation form.
2. Event reminders and registration confirmations
Personalized reminders sent directly to your subscriber’s phone number are the best way to improve your event attendance.
Consider sending fundraising event registration confirmations and reminders through text. Your messages should contain all the relevant details about the event, including the date, time, and location.
You can also provide a link where people can access tickets or register for an event.
3. Communication with volunteers and promotion of volunteer opportunities
Texting is an effective way to interact with volunteers about upcoming promotions and events.
You can also include a link. This can point volunteers toward finding more information about an event and even how to sign up to participate.
4. Follow-up thank you messages and membership renewal
As people send donations or become members of your organization, you can respond with thank you or renewal text messages. These messages show them that you appreciate their support and help build strong relationships.
Consider including a call-to-action at the end of your messages. A CTA can invite message recipients to further engage with your charity or organization.
5. Action alerts and impact updates
Text alerts are an effective way to simultaneously reach a large group of people with an alert or update.
After you send your text broadcast you can monitor engagement like delivery and click rates in real-time.
6. Grow text lists and use texting for volunteer sign-ups
You can use text-to-join mass texting to send a sign-up link to all your members and volunteers. That way, you ensure that the sign-up information doesn't end up in their email's spam folder.
Texting sign-up information can also be more effective than just having information online. Your volunteers and members may not remember to check your website or miss a social media post with sign-up information.
Additionally, consider putting a click-to-text link on your website to drive text list subscriber sign-ups.
7. Survey and feedback requests
Nonprofit and charitable organizations can get valuable feedback with text surveys, polls, and votes.
These text messages are an effective way to learn what members, donors, and volunteers thought about an event or service. You can ask what they enjoyed and what they want to see changed in the future.
You can also use text surveys and polls when planning an event. They can help you understand people’s preferences.
8. Communication with staff, employees, and internal stakeholders
SMS is an effective way to update and coordinate employees, staff, and other internal stakeholders.
Frequently Asked Mass Texting for Nonprofits Questions
Below I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions regarding texting as a nonprofit.
Have a question that’s not listed?
You’re always free to reach out to the MessageDesk team or to meet with a messaging expert.
Are there any free texting platforms for nonprofits?
Unfortunately, there is no free mass texting service for nonprofits. Even platforms like Google Voice don’t offer exclusively free text messaging for nonprofits.
Individual stakeholders can get a free phone number for nonprofit communication, but Google Voice limits access to additional features.
Keep in mind, some texting services (including MessageDesk) do offer discounts exclusively for nonprofits.
How much does it typically cost for nonprofits to implement text messaging services?
The cost of implementing text messaging services for nonprofits varies. It's based on factors like the service provider, subscriber volume, message volume, additional features required, and your choice of phone number.
You’ll want to research different providers, compare pricing structures, and ask about nonprofit-specific pricing options.
What types of messages can nonprofits send through text messaging?
Nonprofits can send various messages via text. These include: donation appeals, event notifications, volunteer recruitment, advocacy calls-to-action, impact updates, thank you messages, urgent alerts, membership renewals, surveys, and news updates.
What's the difference between a group texting service for nonprofits and a mass texting service for nonprofits?
A group texting service for nonprofits limits messaging to specific groups of contacts. A mass texting service focuses on broadcasting messages to larger target audiences.
Group texting does allow for some segmentation and personalized messaging. But mass texting efficiently reaches a broader range of recipients.
Consider your communication goals and the level of targeting needed when creating a nonprofit marketing plan. This can help you choose between the two types of services.
Final thoughts and next steps
A text messaging platform can revolutionize donor, member, and volunteer communications and help increase engagement.
Ready to start texting your nonprofit’s audience? MessageDesk is here to help with a smarter, simpler text messaging solution.
Feel free to start a 14-day free trial with MessageDesk.