How to Use Outbound Text Messages to Boost Donor Retention

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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Various sources report that text message open rates are as high as 98%, while the average email open rate is closer to 20%. That’s a huge difference in message readership! The number one way to keep your donors giving is to keep your donors engaged, and an easy way to accomplish this is through outbound text messaging. Here’s how you can use outbound text messages to boost donor retention.

Keep Donors in the Loop

Many of your donors make a gift in order to solve a problem. Once they’ve given what they can with their first gift, the ball is in your court to reach out and start a conversation. The need you’re addressing likely won’t be solved by that one gift. Maintaining communication with your donors is key to keep gifts coming in. That doesn’t mean making nonstop asks! Instead, it’s all about creating a dialogue. Want to know what motivates your donors to give? With outbound texts, you can send donors a link to a survey to gauge what issues matter most to them.

Give donors the option to opt in to hearing form your organization. Encourage them to enter a cell phone number so they can receive text messages containing news and updates from your nonprofit. Once you’ve got their permission, send deliberate, regular communications. Try sending texts a couple of times per month with relevant updates. That way, when a need arises, your donors won’t be shocked when they receive text messages asking for help.

Incentivize Signing Up for Text Messages

If your nonprofit runs a thrift shop or has connections with local restaurants and retailers, incentivize donors signing up for outbound texts. Having your own thrift store means you can send regular texts offering discounts to those signing up to receive messages. Being able to send people weekly sales flyers or store announcements can keep people on the lookout for your nonprofit’s messages.

If you don’t run a thrift store, try to establish a partnership with local shops that will offer your supporters discounts in exchange for them signing up to your text message lists. Even if you can’t get discounts or incentives from local businesses, making your organization a valuable resource by sending updates on community happenings, sales at local stores, and other announcements can have people anticipating your messages. In this way, you’re offering information as your incentive instead of offering another sort of benefit.

If your nonprofit hosts awesome fundraising events, use outbound text messages to offer sneak peeks of events. To further add incentive to receiving messages, offer promo codes for discounted event registrations for those who have subscribed to messages.

Retain Donors by Offering Text Fundraising

Another way to use outbound text messages to retain donors is to make text-based fundraising tools a regular part of your fundraising strategy. Make giving via text easy and incorporate text giving into your fundraising events. When donors are comfortable with text fundraising, you make the process of giving to your cause easy. When emergencies arise that require funding, send an outbound message including a link to a mobile-friendly giving form or a keyword your donors can text to support a specific campaign.

You could also encourage recurring donations via text. With Qgiv’s Mobile Suite, it’s easy for donors to sign up for recurring gifts. A recurring gift can boost donor retention rates upward of 90%. Compare that with the 40% retention rate for one-time gifts and it’s a no brainer that you should strive for more recurring gifts. Getting retention rates up can be as simple as sending supporters a text with a link to a mobile-friendly donation form for recurring gifts.

Want to learn more about Qgiv’s text fundraising tools? Visit our text fundraising page for more information or request a demo to see these tools in action.


Outbound text messaging campaigns are a simple, inexpensive way to boost donor retention and earn more donations. The key is strategically reaching out to supporters. When supporters opt in, reach out. Do your best to keep them in the loop, reward them for signing up, and provide a convenient way for donors to give.

Want more tips on donor retention? Check out our donor retention email series! This 6-part email course will teach you the key to donor retention as well as actionable tips to boost retention rates at your nonprofit.

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