Imagine your nonprofit has been fighting for a certain law to be passed for months, and it’s being voted on tomorrow. This is your final chance to convince legislators to pass the law, and you need as many supporters as possible to call their representatives and advocate for it. How can you get the word out fast?
The answer is texting. Text marketing allows you to send urgent messages to the right people and know that they’ll be opened quickly. 90% of people open texts within three minutes, making texts the perfect way for your nonprofit to drive advocacy. To see results, follow these four best practices:
- Segment your supporters
- Write urgent calls to action
- Include surveys in your strategy
- Use texts to show your appreciation
Whether your organization needs supporters to contact legislators, sign petitions, or raise funds for your cause, texts can convince them to act quickly. With these nonprofit texting tips, you’ll empower your supporters to participate in advocacy in no time.
1. Segment your supporters
To make sure your texts go to the right people and avoid recipients opting out of your messages, it’s crucial to segment your supporters.
First, create a list of all the advocates in your community. Add anyone who’s signed a petition, volunteered as a peer fundraiser, or showed an interest in advocacy. Then, create smaller, more specific segments within that group so you can send more relevant messages to those in each segment. These might look like:
- Supporters who have volunteered multiple times in the past few years
- Advocates who live in your organization’s local district
- Students and other young supporters who participate in advocacy often but don’t have the means to donate
- First-time donors who may be interested in advocacy
- Supporters who engaged in advocacy in the past but have since lapsed
With specific segments like these, you’ll be able to make your texts more personalized and therefore more likely to resonate with recipients. Increase personalization even further by using supporters’ names in texts and mentioning the specifics of their engagement or donation history.
You can do this easily by using an SMS marketing app that integrates with your CRM. For instance, if you use Salesforce for Nonprofits, look for an SMS app that’s native to Salesforce. This way, your SMS tool can automatically pull supporter data from your CRM into your texts, like the last advocacy event they participated in or their previous donation amount.
2. Write urgent calls to action
One of the top benefits of using texts for advocacy messages is the ability to send urgent communications that supporters will read right away. But to truly take advantage of texts’ speed and encourage recipients to act now, you also need to infuse urgency into language.
As you write text messages to inspire advocacy, focus on your calls to action. Make sure each text’s call to action is:
- Straightforward. Supporters should be able to immediately understand what you want them to do without having to think about it. Keep your calls to action clear and concise, like “Call your representative today” or “Donate just $15 here.”
- Emotionally compelling. Your supporters participate in advocacy because they care about your cause and want to help you make a difference. Think about the reasons why they care, and use language that evokes those emotions to inspire them to act.
- Easy to follow. Make it easy for supporters to take the next step by including links to your website, petitions, registration forms, or email scripts. Your advocates are more likely to act quickly if they don’t have to hunt down the right page or information on their own.
You only have 160 characters to make your case for why recipients should take action, so you need to make them count. That doesn’t mean character limits should stop you from using nonprofit communication best practices like storytelling, though. Get creative, and always bring the focus back to how supporters can personally make a difference.
3. Include surveys in your strategy
Another key benefit of text messages is that they make it easy to have one-to-one conversations with your supporters. Most readers won’t respond directly to bulk emails because they can feel too formal, but they will shoot a quick text back to your organization.
Encourage your supporters to respond by sending text surveys, polls, and other requests for their feedback. These kinds of messages will keep your advocates engaged and show them that you value their opinions. Plus, surveys and feedback requests often work better via text and can encourage faster responses than they would on other communication channels.
For example, Mogli’s list of the best SMS marketing apps explains how some apps allow you to create automated text surveys that don’t even require supporters to exit their messaging app. The process works in a few simple steps:
- You create a set of questions and potential answers in your SMS marketing platform. The survey can be as simple or complex as you need it to be.
- When supporters start the survey, the platform uses automated branched messaging to guide them through, using their previous responses to determine what question to ask next.
- Your SMS app immediately adds supporters’ answers to your database.
While engaging advocates, these surveys help you collect valuable data about your supporters, such as their interests in different aspects of your cause. You can then use this information to better understand your support base and improve the relevance of future messages.
4. Use texts to show your appreciation
According to eCardWidget, regularly appreciating your volunteers helps increase their motivation, retain their involvement, and build community. Even if your advocates don’t volunteer hours of their time, any small action they take helps further your cause and deserves a heartfelt thank you.
Ideally, you should show your appreciation for advocates in multiple ways, such as sending handwritten notes and shouting them out on social media. But a simple thank-you text is a great place to start!
These texts can be short and sweet, and you can keep the tone casual. Use these sample texts as inspiration:
- Jamie, thanks for signing our animal rights petition! America’s endangered birds thank you ❤️
- With your help, we showed local legislators that our community won’t be silent. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for joining the fight!
- Darren, you raised $700 for the Scottsdale food pantry! We can’t thank you enough for supporting community members in need
Since text exchanges happen quickly, plan to send these short thank-you messages as soon as possible after the supporter takes action. Then, you can spend time crafting a more in-depth appreciation email, letter, or even video to send at a later date.
Texts are the perfect way to personally engage your nonprofit’s advocates in your fight for change. Just remember to strategically plan your messages so you don’t overwhelm them or cause donor fatigue. When you strike the right balance, your advocacy texts can make a world of difference.