Nonprofit Marketing: Your Guide to Text Messaging

The most successful nonprofit organizations have been using text messaging for years. A powerful marketing and communications tool, text messaging gives nonprofit marketers the leverage they need to send important updates, reminders, and notifications.


Sample MMS Message

If you’ve already invested in text message marketing and need a quick refresher or you’re getting ready to launch your very first text messaging campaign, we’ll give you all the expert insight you need to deploy and manage an effective nonprofit text marketing and communications strategy.

Use this insider intelligence to maximize your effectiveness as a nonprofit text message marketing executive, or administrator.

The Ultimate Guide to Text Messaging for Nonprofit

Sample Text messag

As an industry-leading text message marketing provider, we understand that nonprofit marketing and communications comes with its own unique challenges — limited marketing budgets, difficulty finding the right marketing channels, and more. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of nonprofit organizations just like yours to create hyper-personalized and value-driven text messaging for supporters.

In this ultimate guide to text messaging for nonprofits, we’ll show you what text message marketing is, how it works, and why more and more leading nonprofit organizations are choosing text message marketing and communications over any other channel.

What is Text Message Nonprofits?

Among leading marketing and communications channels — email, social media, video — text messaging remains one of the most cost-effective and value-driven methods for attracting supporters, building awareness, and more. The savviest nonprofit organizations are using text message marketing and communications to send important reminders, notifications, and alerts right to users’ phones — it’s that easy!

Any successful text message marketing and communications program begins with a Keyword and Short Code. There are two distinct forms of text messaging marketing:

Short Message Service (SMS)

Supports alphanumeric messages of 160 characters or less. Potential use cases for SMS marketing include emergency notifications, coordinating nonprofit volunteers, and more.

Sample Text Message

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

Supports multimedia content including images and video, as well as text messages greater than 160 characters. Potential use cases for MMS marketing include promotional videos, visual project updates, and more.

Sample Text Message

The benefits of text message marketing extend to both nonprofits and supporters alike. Enjoy the following benefits of text message marketing:

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    Today, supporters expect highly personalized marketing messages and communications. When you create a custom marketing message for your supporters, you’re building a more authentic relationship with those supporters. This type of relationship leads to increased engagement, donations, etc. Other marketing and communications channels simply can’t compete with the deep personalization capabilities that only text messaging offers.

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    Most nonprofit supporters are always on-the-go. Sending a simple text message reminder or notification is an effective and convenient way to reach supporters when they’re dropping the kids off at soccer practice, running errands, and more.

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    Creating your first text message marketing campaign is easy. Most text message marketing service providers will even guide you through the entire process — from start to finish. Moreover, text message marketing doesn’t require any specialized technical knowledge or know-how. When you need some extra text marketing help, customer support teams are usually ready to answer your questions and concerns.

Successful Text messaging for Nonprofits

Before setting off on your text message marketing journey, there are a few key components of any successful text messaging campaign that you’ll need to gather and organize. Most text message marketing service providers will give you direct access to these and other powerful text marketing components.

The key components of an effective text message marketing program include:

Audience Insights

Committing to deep audience analysis before outset will position your nonprofit organization for text message marketing success. Take the time to understand your target audiences’ unique preferences. What are they looking for in a text marketing and communications program? Gathering audience intelligence will help you to craft text marketing communications that align with your supporters’ wants and needs.

Related: Is Your Mobile Message Hitting the Right Audience?

Create Group

Keyword and Short Code

When used in tandem, a Keyword and Short Code encourages supporters to opt-in to ongoing text marketing and communications. A Keyword is a series of words or phrases supporters text to a numeric Short Code. Here are a few examples to guide your efforts:

  • Text ‘JOIN’ to 818181 to join our mailing list.
  • Text ‘SUBSCRIBE’ to 818181 to receive weekly nonprofit project updates.
  • Text ‘MORE’ to 818181 to learn more about our mission and values.
  • Text ‘DONATE’ to 818181 to support our new project.

Related: What Are Short Codes and Keywords?

Keyword Join

Text Messaging Provider

A text messaging provider serves as the backbone of your text marketing and communications program. In most cases, text messaging providers grant you access to powerful features and toolsets designed to streamline your text messaging activities. There are hundreds of text messaging providers to choose from and finding the right one for your unique nonprofit organization starts with an intimate understanding of the unique value that each provider guarantees and delivers.

Related: Getting Started With EZ Texting

All Features

Reporting Dashboard

A text messaging reporting dashboard gives you direct access to deep analytics and reports. The savviest text message marketers use these insights to manage their text marketing activities, iterate, and develop high-powered and results-driven promotions, alerts, notifications, and more. In most cases, the reporting dashboard will give you access to open rates, opt-outs, and more.

Related: Analytics for Contacts and Campaigns

Reporting Dashboard

Get Started With Text Messaging for Nonprofits

After you’ve gathered the necessary components, follow these simple steps to launch your first nonprofit text message marketing and communications campaign:

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    1. Advertise Keyword and Short Code

    Add Keyword and Short Code to email signatures, social media channels, and offline sources including pamphlets, newsletters, and more.

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    2. Organize Contacts

    As supporters opt-in, organize contacts based on their opt-in source, donation amount, text messaging frequency, interests and more. Additionally, as a best practice, it might be a good idea to separate nonprofit volunteers from donors. This kind of organization ensures that you’re sending the right kinds of text messages at the right time.

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    3. Deploy Text Messages

    Now it’s time to send your text messages. As a best practice, always include a call-to-action. What’s the next step that you want recipients to take?

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    4. Analyze Results and Iterate

    Finally, analyze text message performance and use those insights to craft more engaging and targeted campaigns in the future.

Examples of Successful Text Messaging for Nonprofits

  • Water is Basic Logo

    Water is Basic

    Water is Basic was founded to empower the local leadership in Southern Sudan to bring clean water to their people. About 70% of the population does not have adequate access to safe drinking water. Water is Basic was created in collaboration with Sudanese leaders and provides them with the equipment they need to drill wells. Water is Basic partnered with EZ Texting to keep their donors and supporters updated each time a new well was drilled. Within the first four months, Water is Basic added more than 150 donors to its text message marketing contact list.

    Read Water is Basic Mobile Marketing Case Study

  • Students for the National Equality March Logo

    Students for the National Equity March

    Students for the National Equality March collaborated with the NoH8 Campaign, as well as the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, to create a “flash protest” opposing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. The organization’s text marketing notifications attracted more than 1,200 people to the student-led protest.

    Read Students for the National Equality March Text Messaging Case Study

  • Viking Cooking Schools Logo

    Viking Cooking Schools

    Viking Range Corporation, a leading home appliance company, has a cooking school with 15 locations throughout the United States. Over 70,000 students, from kids and parents to business professionals, attend the Viking Cooking School each year. Viking Cooking School used EZ Texting to initiate a couponing program for both current and prospective students. A recent text filled eight class spots, valued at $79.00 each. A single text message that cost less than $15.00 to spend resulted in an additional $632.00 in revenue!

    Read Viking Cooking School Mobile Marketing Case Study

EZ Texting Makes Text Messaging for Nonprofits Easy

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The benefits of text message marketing and communications extend to both nonprofit marketers and recipients. Armed with a high-powered and results-driven text marketing tool, nonprofit organizations are well-equipped to deliver more personalized, targeted, and engaging text communications to supporters and community members.

In your search for a text messaging partner, prioritize industry-leading service providers like EZ Texting. Our service is trusted by more than 50,000 businesses, enterprises, and organizations worldwide. EZ Texting customers have sent more than four billion text messages — and counting! Are you ready to begin your text message marketing journey? For more information, call (866) 676-2180. EZ Texting offers a variety of affordably priced and flexible pricing plans built for any-sized nonprofit organization.