SMS Isn't Dead, It Could Be the Key to Fundraising Success

September 24, 2019 Brian Isaac

SMS has been around for over two decades, so you could be forgiven for overlooking its effectiveness. With a multitude of digital communication channels and an increasing number of instant messaging apps readily available, it’s easy to assume that it’s a dying medium, lacking innovation and results, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! SMS is still an exciting and evolving digital communication channel with new innovations emerging every day.

According to We Are Social’s 2018 Digital Report, mobile usage is higher than ever, with Australia sitting within the top rankings around the world when it comes to smartphone usage. In fact, we use our smartphones so often that State of SMS report (2017 – 2018) found that people check their phones more than 50 times a day on average. Not only that, but we’re also highly responsive, with 82% of SMS recipients opening an SMS within five minutes of receiving it.

With levels of engagement and responsiveness like these, it seems that the majority of us now consider our phones to be an appendage of our bodies. With this in mind, here are three reasons why your nonprofit should consider utilising SMS for your next fundraising event.

1. It’s timely

Our digital solutions team have provided SMS communication support to hundreds of fundraising campaigns, sighting its timeliness as one of the biggest contributing factors for its success.

“One of the main reasons why SMS is so effective is because, with SMS, people will immediately check their phones. They don’t need to login to their email account or visit social media profiles to receive your message – it’s instantaneous and timely.”

– Becky Arthur, Digital Campaign Coordinator

2. Opt-out rates are low

Opt-out rates for SMS are significantly lower than that of email communication. In fact, Everydayhero’s SMS communication campaigns have an incredibly low opt-out rate of only one to two percent.

In our experience, the most successful SMS campaigns tend to be: welcome messages, prize and incentive information, or dollar matching offers. Our digital solutions team run a weekly ‘welcome’ SMS campaign for the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart campaign resulting in a supporter page activation rate of 70 percent.

3. It’s low-cost

Another great feature of SMS communication is that it’s a relatively low-cost activity, making it easy for small or under-resourced nonprofits to give it a go, without having to make significant investments.

If you would like to learn more about pricing, get in touch with our Digital Solutions team.

Overall, SMS is a highly effective method of communicating with your supporters. However, there are some limitations that should be considered before implementing it into your next fundraising campaign:

You will have to say more with less

SMS is designed to be short and snappy so it’s probably not the best channel if you need to convey a lot of information. Each SMS is restricted to 160 characters and we typically advise against sending messages that are longer than two SMS messages – your supporters will not be receptive to reading a novel-length SMS message.

Tracking is difficult compared to other channels

SMS does not enable you to track open rates the same way you would with email communications, however, there are ways to work around this. One example would be to track SMS delivery rates and measure the number of donations made within an hour after the SMS was sent.

It works best for large-scale events

SMS is not typically recommended for small events. If for example, your event has 20 participants, it would probably be more effective to give them a call rather than run an SMS campaign.

Interested in trying SMS communications for your next fundraising event?

Let our digital solutions team guide you: click here to learn more about our SMS services. Having worked across hundreds of fundraising campaigns, we’re experts in optimising copy for SMS content, audience segmentation, and fundraising data integration to create a personalised experience for your supporters.

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