How to create a successful fundraising campaign with SMS

7 April 2016


Utilising text-messaging is an effective and cost efficient method to encourage people to make a donation, due to its simplicity and convenience. In 2014, more than £115m was donated via SMS, and £124m was forecast for 2015. Historically donors were reluctant to giving more than £3 via SMS however people are now more trusting to text-messaging and £10 donations are becoming increasingly popular price point. Viral campaigns on social media last year such as the #IceBucketChallenge led a huge wave of people donating via text-messaging.

Whilst text donation can be a huge benefit to charities, there are many other benefits from utilising SMS, such as event promotions and campaigns. Below, we’ve outlined the 5 main steps to follow when you’re thinking about a text messaging campaign.


The first, maybe most obvious aspect of the text campaign is the message. What is it that you are going to say to your audience? Perhaps it’s an upcoming fundraising event that you want to promote, or maybe you’re updating your audience about the success of a past event that they were involved in. Whatever the message, you need to think through the purpose and the possible outcomes. Is there something specific that you want users to do once they’ve received your message? If the answers yes, make sure to include a clear call to action.

Now you’ve got your message sorted, who are you going to send it to? Reduce opt-out rates by ensuring your contact database is segmented correctly, people are not going to want to receive information that is not relevant to them. For example, if you ran a previous fundraising event, send updates to everyone that attended and follow up with future events that they may find interesting.

Timing is key when it comes to sending text-messages. If you’re sending a message about an upcoming event, make sure you send it early enough for people to sign up, as well as giving them time to train for the event if required. Similarly, if you’re promoting an event such as a jumble sale, give enough notice to your audience so they can collect up some items to donate. You can schedule messages in advance which saves you the time and hassle from sending them on the day.

What is your overall goal from sending your text campaign? You need to carefully think what you want recipients to do once they have received your message. If you want them to sign up to your event, you can include a shortened link to the applications page. If the message is just an update of a previous event, perhaps the call to action could be to share on social media with a certain hashtag. Not only will this reflect well on them for helping out a great cause, but it will also raise brand awareness for your organisation.

Once you’ve got the content, decided who you’re sending it to, and when and why you’re sending the message, you need to think about the success metrics. How will you measure the success of your campaign? Maybe this will be based on the amount of users that sign up to your event, or it could be the amount of people that turn up to your fundraiser. Whatever you decide is your success metric, make sure you have planned how you’ll measure this. For example you can get people to sign up to your fundraising event by using a short-code and keyword, then use TextAnywhere’s simple reporting tool to view the amount of respondents who have signed up. By doing this, you’ll be able to see how successful your text campaign was, and what could be improved next time around.

Converting single donations to monthly?

Following up with a telephone call to one-off donors to convert them to regular donations is a common practice. However this can be an invasion of privacy and misuse of personal data as permission may have not been given by the text donor. Give the option to text donors to subscribe to monthly donations via a short-code keyword service, making them feel less pressured into donating. You can implement STOP and SKIP notifications, which allows donors to opt-out whenever they want or if money is tight that month they can skip their donation without stopping all together. Take a look at ICO rules for marketing messages here.

For more information on how your not-for-profit can benefit from implementing SMS please feel free to contact us on 0845 122 1302 or email [email protected].

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