With the wide use of mobile phones in New Zealand, something like 90% of us have them, it would make sense for charities to be tapping more into the use of mobiles to communicate with donors; but this has to be done gently or it could backfire.

Backfire? Yes, I subscribed to an online poll a while back and could select certain charities I wanted to learn more about; within days I was being inundated with calls and messages thanking me for my support (I hadn’t given any, I’d only shown an interest), these calls and text messages turned me off so much that I requested being removed from their databases.

Where mobile can work tremendously is with Text to Donate campaigns, we see these almost weekly in some shape or form, they are a quick and easy way for people to make a donation, they can do it anywhere at any time.

When people do a text-to-donate they can expect to get a call from the organisation thanking them for their support and asking if they would like to become a regular giver. Nothing wrong with this, unless the people doing the calling are from an agency and don’t know all the ins and outs of what the charity is doing.

So, if you are doing text-to-donate campaigns and using an agency, ensure they know the key information, brief them on it and don’t expect them to have the time or possibly the inclination to search for the information themselves. Some key information I would suggest they know is what your campaign dates generally are, when you are holding a special event etc; I’ve seen first hand where an agency didn’t know that they were calling people on the annual appeal day – this, in my mind was a wasted opportunity; how many donors were lost because of this lack of information?

If you do text-to-donate campaigns, remember that this opens up another opportunity for you to stay in contact with your donors/supporters; you can quickly send a broadcast text to your database with an urgent call to action, or you can use texting to send brief updates about your campaign, about a planned event and more; but do respect that recipients have the right (and you the obligation) to be removed from your system. Don’t delay with removal requests, failure to do them in a timely manner could result in damage to your organisation by disgruntled supporters talking about you in a negative way on their social media platforms.

If you want to know others are saying about texting supporters etc, this article from Nonprofit Quarterly is well worth a read.

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