Ever more people want to communicate with their mobile devices, and they want to communicate on their mobile devices with text messaging. The distinction between those under about 25 and those older is striking − with the. But even those who actually make calls with their cell phones find text messaging a convenient way to share practical information quickly.
Nonprofits are (slowly) starting to take advantage of text messaging as a means to encourage engagement and to inspire giving. One of the first crises/campaigns to get noticed for its use of text was the the American Red Cross’s response to the earthquake in Haiti. But many charities are working up ‘text lists’ to rival their ’email lists’. The question is, how can a smaller nonprofit easily send out messages to its constituents without contacting them individually?
If you’re still not sure text messaging is in your future, consider some of the takeaways from:
- Lists grew at a rate of 49.5 percent annually.
- The annual churn rate for text lists was 30.7 percent. The benchmark text message unsubscribe rate was 0.69 percent.
- The response rate for call-in advocacy text messages was 4.7 percent – nearly six times the 2009 benchmark response rate of 0.82 for call-in advocacy emails.
Yes, that’s six times the response rates expanded in just one year. And whose email list is growing almost 50% a year?
As your nonprofit develops its text-messaging bank, consider software packages like ‘GroupMe’ to send emails to all of them or some various subsets of them to share pertinent information quickly. GroupMe is a free app for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 Phones, and even those remaining SMS phones that are so 2008. One of the features we find particularly enticing is that you create “open groups “of recipients who enter into an open chat room (even if they don’t have the app), but (if they do have the app) you or anyone on the list can send a direct or “closed message” to any individuals on that list.
GroupMe might not yet be robust enough to be used by the SPCA, but for regional nonprofits and charities, it could be an excellent starter app to get your organization to reach out and text someone about upcoming events or to get them involved in immediate concerns for them and for your nonprofit.