5 Text Message Fundraising Ideas to Inspire You

Fundraising by Type

Share this article

Would you be surprised to know that my favorite way to donate is by text? Text message fundraising is not new, but it is still under used, despite the fact that a growing number of nonprofit supporters feel the same way I do.  

In fact, our Navigating the Unknown report found that 8.4% of donations were inspired by a text message … and there’s still plenty of room for growth! Text message fundraising grew by 26% in 2019, and hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down since. 

However, text message fundraising can feel tricky. First, you have to figure out if you need text-to-give or text-to-donate. Then you have to craft an engaging message that helps you reach your goals, whether that’s getting new donations or recruiting volunteers for an event.  

To show you just how easy it can be, we’ve compiled five of our favorite text message fundraising campaigns from real-life nonprofits to inspire you. Check ‘em out! 

1. Find a Media Partner to Help You Fundraise  

Capital Area Food Bank’s Feeding the DMV campaign was extremely successful for multiple reasons. First of all, check out the impact statement used! Not only is the amount offered manageable for most donors, but quantifying how many people can be helped with one donation allows your donors to visualize just how far their funds can go. 

Graphic from Capital Area Food Bank's text message fundraising campaign.

They also partnered with a local news station to get the word out about the event. Why does this matter? It’s a way to get free publicity for your fundraiser.  

Even if this was part of a paid sponsorship, they likely got severely discounted rates because many news outlets will offer remnant (leftover, unsold)  space to nonprofits. Just be sure to check the time slots to make sure it will really be a good fit for your nonprofit! 

Second image from Capital Area Food Bank's mobile fundraising campaign with ABC7 News.

2. Make Good Use of Social Media 

Pilgrim Pines held a successful text fundraising campaign over Labor Day. So successful, in fact, that they raised over $150,000 dollars to support their mission!  

Graphic supporting Pilgrim Pines' text fundraising campaign

How? Well, Pilgrim Pines did a lot of things right with their campaign. They started by picking a keyword that’s simple and easy to spell. It’s also directly related to their organization and will therefore be easy for their supporters to remember. 

They also made great use of social media and using video to share impact statements from other supporters. Not only does video content get the most reach on social media, but allowing potential supporters to hear from current real-life supporters can make all the difference in securing that donation. After all, there’s no more powerful form of marketing than word-of-mouth marketing! 

Pilgrim Pines made great use of social media to support their text fundraising campaign

3. Help Your Nonprofit Pivot During a Crisis 

There With Care had planned to host their annual gala in 2020 … until the COVID-19 pandemic upended everyone’s plans. When they need to quickly come up with a new idea, they pulled out all the stops to help them reach their goal and support their mission of serving families and children facing a medical crisis. 

They created a brand new, month-long virtual event called Be There With Care 2020, and incorporated everything from matching gifts to text fundraising to make sure their clients didn’t lose out during the pandemic. While text message fundraising is a great tool to use year-round, it can be especially useful in response to crisis situations.  

Learning to use text fundraising now will help your organization pivot and raise emergency funds quickly in the event of a natural disaster, global pandemic, or other crisis situation.  

Screen capture of There With Care's Be There With Care 2020, which helped them pivot from an in-person gala to a virtual fundraiser after COVID-19 hit

4. Give Your Donors Options With Mobile Fundraising 

Reach Out Honduras has been holding their annual gala for 10 years, but their event had to quickly adapt to a virtual environment like the rest of us did last year. While they continued with their annual auction, they also decided to add other ways for supporters to donate, including through text fundraising! 

Reach Out Honduras incorporated text message fundraising into their virtual gala

While we all try to secure a wide variety of auction items for our fundraisers, it’s impossible to find something for everyone that may be interested in supporting your cause. Adding alternate methods of giving—like text fundraising or an online store—gives your supporters more ways to give. That gives you more ways to reach your goals! 

Reach Out Honduras also does a great job of using mobile fundraising tools to invite people to their fundraiser. They set up a cadence that sent out the original event announcement, and then scheduled period follow up texts to go out up until the day of the event! 

5. Integrate Text Fundraising Throughout Your Program 

Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound has been hosting their Puget Sound Buddy Walk for over 20 years … long before any of us had a smart phone. All that experience means they know how to host a great fundraiser. Even better, they know how important it is to give your supporters multiple ways to support you, which is why they added text fundraising to last year’s event! 

Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound incorporated text fundraising into their annual walk with great success. They raised 130% of their goal!

They did a great job of making sure that their text-to-donate information is easily accessible to all participants by featuring the information prominently on their event website. They also placed it front and center, right under the photo gallery that’s sure to draw the eye right to that text fundraising shortcode.  

The Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound doesn’t just use text fundraising for this annual event though. They’ve incorporated text fundraising into their Fundraising Hubs for galas, and into their auction event! Mobile fundraising can be used in a variety of ways to great, great effect (I mean, check out that 130% of goal reached on their fundraising thermometer!) 

Final Thoughts 

Text fundraising is a simple way to make it easier and easier for your supporters to donate. You can also use text fundraising tools to encourage your peer-to-peer fundraisers, or to send out save-the-dates for your annual fundraising event.  

If you’re ready to get your nonprofit started on text fundraising, here are some great resources to help you plan a successful campaign: 

Share this

You might enjoy