Why You Should Text Your Donors

As the town crier for donor love, I like to suggest free and inexpensive ways to steward donors with a personal touch.

When I suggest texting donors, a lot of people respond as if I just suggested something wildly inappropriate. I run into equal amounts of ageism and righteous indignation. Most people who scoff at my suggestion are in the 45 – 55 age range and while they may have some belief that texting a donor is socially intrusive the reason they give why this won’t work for them is “my donors do not text”.

I beg to differ.

Think older people are technophobes? Here are a few stats to change your mind:

  • Texting is the most popular feature on a smartphone
  • 94% of seniors (adults 70 and older) are sending text messages weekly, with a daily average of 11 messages. (Experian)
  • 95% of texts from businesses are read within 3 minutes of being sent (Forbes)
  • SMS open rates average 98%
  • You are 8 times more likely to get a response from a text message than a voicemail or email
  • When it comes to sales, 90% of leads prefer to be texted, compared to called (FranchiseHelp)
  • In 2017 texting surpassed email as the most popular tool for staying connected among people aged 50 – 70 years old 
  • 86 percent of people older than 50 connect with other people through text messaging

A recent study from Bloomerang found that organizations that reached out to their supporters over the phone, in personal 1:1 emails, by text message and (virtual) in-person interactions had higher revenues than those who didn’t.

Texting is the status quo. It is the 21st-century version of a phone call.

Why should you text your donors?

Your odds of your donor reading your text are a whopping 98%.

Let’s face it, the chances of them reading your email might be as low as 20% (if you’re lucky) and odds of them answering your phone call might not be better.

How should you text your donors?

Allow me to be very clear: I want you to use texting for donor stewardship. Yes, it is possible to do text to give campaigns but I’m not talking about that: I’m talking about donor stewardship.

What should you say?

Imagine making a gift to the ARC and getting this text thank you.

What if it was the anniversary of your first gift to your favorite animal care organization and they sent you this text message?

What if you were an avid bird watcher and monthly donor to Audubon and you get this text message from them to see how you were faring in the pandemic?

What tools can you use?

My favorite thing after delighting donors is helping fundraisers save time and make their jobs easier.

My favorite tool for text stewardship is Textology.co.

The great thing about using texting to steward donors is how easy it is. Of course, you can text your donor from your own mobile device but you can save tons of time using affordable tools to send individual text messages like the examples above to donors from the convenience of your desktop using a landline. It’s as easy uploading a contact list and Textology’s system will let you know if you have your donor’s mobile number or landline. Then you can copy and paste the same message, sending it individually to each donor on your list. There is no mass texting in this platform because this is 1:1 communication. The nice part of that is your donor never gets any opt-in messages from the carrier.

Textology allows you to send and respond to text messages from any computer phone or tablet using your own email. This means you can send donors text messages from your desktop and reply to them, not from a mobile device, but from your own email. It still shows up as a text to your donor.

Want to give it a try? I was so intrigued with Textology.co that I picked up the phone and called them when I heard about them (that’s just the kind of inquisitive person I am!) The CEO, Justin Baer answered the phone. Justin will give you a free 30-day trial to try Textology for yourself.

Disclaimer -> I am paid $0 if you sign up. I just like saving time and delighting donors as much as you do.

Now that we live in a virtual world, we’re 100% reliant on technology to get our messages through and rehumanize our connection. How will you show up in a way that engages your donors and helps you deepen your relationship with them?

I hope you’ll try texting for donor stewardship. Let me know how it goes!

Want some help delighting your donors? Download a copy of Rachel’s “Virtual Guide to Donor Cultivation” It’s loaded with time-saving technology tools, 11 ways to thank a donor after a gift, and 21 virtual stewardship ideas to delight your donors.

Author information

Rachel Muir

Rachel Muir

Founder at Girlstart

Rachel Muir, CFRE transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.

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