In today’s world where impersonal messages proliferate on several media channels and devices, receiving a message that is genuine and heartfelt is somewhat of an impossibility.
Quickly scan your email inbox or your text message history—how many of these are generic in nature? The answer, in all probability, is most, if not all. So if you’re a nonprofit organization looking to truly connect with each of your supporters, donors, and volunteers, and mobilize them into taking an action, how would you do this?
Sending a template email or a broadcast text isn’t going cut it because people have become well-versed in ignoring messages that are obviously automated.
This is where peer-to-peer (or P2P) texting comes into the fray. Through this channel, nonprofit organizers can have one-on-one conversations with each of their supporters simultaneously. This not only ensures a solid degree of personalization but also helps in rallying your troops for your cause and motivating them to take an action.
How does peer to peer texting work?
Here, your volunteers send out your initial batch of texts to a particular contact list which you’re looking to engage. You can send out all the texts at once to each individual contact. These texts are pre-populated with your initial message and automatically personalized for each contact with their names. Once the individual replies start coming in, your volunteers would engage in a back and forth conversation with them, gradually building a connection with them, and nurturing them towards taking a particular action.
The main aspect which differentiates p2p is that it’s extensively focused on relationship-building as opposed to other generic forms of texting where supporters are aware that they are just another name in a contact list.
Why should my nonprofit be using P2P?
Whether it’s mobilizing supporters to attend a rally, getting them to sign a petition, or encouraging them to give a testimonial, peer-to-peer texting is an extremely feasible way to do so. Besides, this tool works because of its:
- High open rate of 99%: This pretty much ensures all your supporters actually open and read your message. This helps you create maximum engagement through greater attendance at your rally or events.
- Average response rate of 90 seconds: This easily helps in facilitating a conversation between your text banking volunteers and your staff ensuring that a seamless flow in interactions is maintained.
- Response rate of 32%: This means a considerable chunk of your supporters would actually respond to your texts so you can mobilize them better.
- Accessibility: A majority of US adults (77%) own a smartphone. This confirms that several of your supporters are using smartphones too which makes it the most convenient medium of communication for them.
How can I use peer to peer texting to mobilize my supporters?
If your nonprofit has an important event coming up, you’d want to make sure you generate maximum attendance to create the most impact. In this case, conversing with supporters and volunteers through SMS to keep them in the loop makes the most sense since you can individually interact with each one of them.
Making the Initial Communication
Send out texts to all your supporters to inform them about the event or rally you’re organizing and give them a compelling reason to attend. For instance, your conversation would look something like:
“Hey Jon, I’m Linda from Hope Society. We’re organizing a rally to protest the rampant deforestation which has been taking place under the current government. The rally takes place on October 22nd at Hyde Park. Please check out this link for more information about the rally: bit.ly/2kGhKAT Can we count on you to be there and show your support in making our city a greener place? 🙌”
“Sure, I’d love to. Is there anything specific you’d like me to do at the event?”
“Great! I’m glad you asked Jon—can you hold a yard sign at the rally as a sign of protest? We’d be providing these at the entrance itself.”
“Cool, will do. 👍”
In this conversation you achieved three things:
- You informed Jon about the upcoming event and its purpose
- You got Jon to confirm his attendance
- You got Jon to take another action i.e. holding the yard sign at your rally
And you did all of this in a conversational manner!
By sending these type of messages to your contacts, you can interact with them while assigning specific tags to them and answering survey questions based on their replies. For this particular instance, you’d have a list of possible answers which Jon could have given: yes, no, or maybe.
Since he answered in the affirmative, you’d mark it with a yes in your on-screen survey form.
And since he is ready to hold a yard sign, you’d assign a tag to his name as well; could be something like yardsign_holder. By seeing the number affirmative responses and the number of contacts with the yardsign_holder tag, you have a solid idea of the number of people who’d be turning up to show support and the number of yard signs you’ll have to provide. This data shows up in your CRM as well.
So now, you can segment your lists based on whoever is attending your event and then follow up with them with reminders and any other additional information. With p2p, you can personalize your follow-ups since you have a context of your previous conversation history with each contact. This is because it shows up right in your interface! If you’ve made any notes about the contact, that shows up too. In the follow-up conversation, you would remind them about the rally and answer queries that may pop up.
“Hey Jon, Linda here. The big day’s tomorrow! Remember, 6 pm Hyde Park—the yard signs will be placed in a stall at the right as you enter the area. We have free food too, so don’t miss out!”
“Free food? I’m getting my friends too! Can they hold yard signs as well?”
“Of course! The more the merrier 😀”
By referencing your previous conversation, you’re showing them that you remember your previous interaction. This gives a big boost to your relationship since you’ve essentially personalized your communication tailored around the interest of one particular contact.
Once your campaign is done and you’ve mobilized your supporters in the desired way, you should then send texts thanking them and detailing the impact of their actions. This is an important part of your nurturing process and goes a long way in ensuring your supporters get mobilized the next time you organize a similar event.
Whether it’s signing petitions, attending rallies and events, or fundraising for your cause, peer-to-peer texting will help humanize your communication. Use this tool to get supporters to truly connect with your cause and mobilize them accordingly.
Shaunak Wanikar is a content writer and social media marketer at CallHub. He contributes to writing articles on the CallHub blog as well as partner websites. An engineering graduate with a penchant for movies, football, and books.