For years, churches have relied on traditional face-to-face fundraising to raise revenue for their operational costs, youth programs, and charitable work. However, as new technology innovations have become available, organizations have been able to take a more modern approach to raising funds and connecting with their audience. Of these new innovations, the most notable way to leverage technology and reach donors directly is through text-to-give.
Text-to-give is an accessible and convenient way for donors to give to your organization and for your church to reach donors quickly with donation appeals. Rather than having your emailed donation appeal get lost in your congregation’s spam folders or your direct mail get overlooked, text messaging reaches supporters exactly where they are. In fact, studies show that text messages have a 99% open rate and a 90% read rate within just three minutes of sending.
By leveraging text-to-give, your church can connect with your supporters wherever they are and encourage giving around tight fundraising deadlines. Explore these top tips to effectively reach your congregants with text-to-give:
- Invest in a texting service for churches.
- Market your text-to-give campaign.
- Send compelling donation appeals.
With the right strategies and tools, your church will be in great shape to steward relationships with donors and promote giving year-round. Let’s begin!
Invest in a texting service for churches.
A dedicated texting platform for churches will come with all the tools you need to run your text-to-give fundraiser with ease. Tatango’s guide to texting services for churches recommends looking for text software with the following key features:
- Automation. If you have hundreds or even thousands of church congregants, it would be nearly impossible to individually text all of them. Instead, rely on a text fundraising platform with automation capabilities so you can power off messages to all of your congregants at once. Plus, with schedule-send, you can draft these messages in advance and have them sent at a specific time.
- Segmentation. Segmenting your contacts list based on factors like donation frequency, recency, and amount can help you create highly relevant text messages for your audiences, increasing the likelihood that they’ll read your message and take the intended next action. Look for software with robust segmentation abilities so you can segment your contacts on a variety of factors that make the most sense for your organization.
- Security. A secure text messaging platform will protect your church from data leaks and keep your private information, including congregants’ contact and donation information, safe. Specifically, the ideal text fundraising platform will come with automated logout, two-factor authentication, and secure sending so that only your intended staff can manage your text messaging campaign.
- Ability to handle fast messaging speeds. When you’re working around tight fundraising deadlines, you need a reliable way to reach donors quickly. Work with a text messaging platform with the capability to send messages to thousands of recipients and ensure they receive the texts just a few moments after your hit send.
Reflect on your church’s fundraising goals, and then look for a platform that can help you best meet your needs. A church-specific platform will come with these tools and more to promote your text fundraising success.
Market your text-to-give campaign.
Once you have a text fundraising platform, you’re ready to build your contact list and get the ball rolling on your text messaging campaign. The best way to get the word out about your text-to-give campaign is through leveraging a multi-channel marketing strategy. NXUnite’s guide to marketing recommends tapping into the following channels:
- Social media. Generate engaging content that highlights your text-to-give fundraiser on your social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For example, you could create a video showing someone opting into your campaign with step-by-step instructions. This can help remove the mystery of the process for churchgoers that haven’t used text-to-give before and encourage them to sign up for texts.
- Your church’s website. Shout out your text-to-give option on your church’s donation page so churchgoers can keep this method in mind the next time they want to give. Make sure to call out its benefits, such as the added convenience of donating right from your phone and the ability to receive updates and alerts from your church.
- Direct mail. If many of your churchgoers represent an older demographic, they might not be actively following your digital updates on social media and your website. Direct mail is a great way to connect with these supporters and bring attention to your text-to-give campaign. Clearly outline how they can get started with text-to-give and consider including a QR code that will take supporters to a dedicated text-to-give page on your website where they can learn more about this option.
Remember to keep your audience in mind and create content that is most likely to inspire them to opt into your campaign and give. To do this, reflect on your different demographics and where your audience is most likely to see your marketing materials; then, use these insights to craft a marketing strategy that makes the most sense for your congregants and will appeal to them.
Send compelling donation appeals.
As you grow your contact list, your church can start powering off donation appeals to your congregants. However, you don’t simply want to ask churchgoers to give without providing context or emotional reasoning behind your request. Instead, your requests should be thoughtfully crafted in order to resonate with churchgoers and effectively motivate them to push your church’s mission forward.
Follow these tips when sending donation appeals:
- Place donors as the hero of your story. By placing donors as the hero in your church’s story, you can encourage giving for your operations, youth programs, charitable causes, and more. For example, let’s say your church runs a food pantry for individuals in need. You could briefly describe your pantry program and then write “By donating $20 to our food pantry this holiday season, you’ll help 5 families receive warm meals on Christmas.” This lets donors know exactly how their funds will make an impact and motivates them to act.
- Use high-impact visuals. Adding a visual element to your text messages can help grab donors’ attention and make them more likely to act on your text. Continuing with the food pantry example, you might share an image of your volunteers hard at work distributing food or even beneficiaries who are grateful for your support. This helps churchgoers emotionally connect with your donation appeal, increasing the likelihood that they’ll feel moved to give.
- Stick to one call to action. Avoid including too many next steps in your text messages, as this can overwhelm donors and prevent them from taking any step at all. For example, if you’re running a food pantry and need donations and volunteer support, ask for these requests in separate messages so donors can digest what you’re asking.
Remember that your text messages shouldn’t just ask your donors for things. You should also update churchgoers on your fundraising progress and thank them for their ongoing support.
After donors give, send a text message that references their specific contribution and how it made an impact on your mission. You can do this easily with automation tools from the right text messaging platform.
Reaching your congregants is easy, convenient, and effective with text-to-give. Do your research to find the ideal text software for your platform so you can reach supporters at any time with your updates and donation requests and feel confident that they’ll readily act on them. As you run your campaign, remember to track metrics like clickthrough rate and number of unsubscribes so you can adjust your content strategy as needed. Good luck!