8 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Texting to Connect With Volunteers and Donors

Group of volunteers outside

Lending a helping hand feels good. Whether you donate your time, your money or both, volunteering with a nonprofit organization or supporting their fundraising efforts with a financial gift can pay dividends in many ways. Knowing that your contributions are helping others in need is a reward unto itself. And giving back or paying it forward—however you look at it—makes our society better.

Because nonprofit groups work with a tight budget, they often rely on volunteers for hands-on help. They also need to solicit monetary donations to purchase supplies and other resources to carry out their mission. For nonprofit organizations to be successful, they must be highly organized, nimble and mobilize large numbers of people, sometimes on short notice. That’s why texting for nonprofits is so effective. Messages are delivered directly into the hands of volunteers who want to get involved.

Reach volunteers quickly with texting software

In the past, nonprofit groups relied on phone calls, emails and even printed materials to inform others about their organization. But with the increase in robocalls, spam and junk mail, consumers started tuning out those marketing efforts. Separating the wheat from the chaff was just too time consuming. To cut through the noise, nonprofit groups began looking for new ways to connect with their target audience—the people who would resonate with the good work they’re trying to do.

More and more charitable organizations are realizing that text messaging can assist them in attracting volunteers and connecting with donors. While some nonprofits rely on their staff members to use their personal cell phones to reach out, a better way is to use professional texting software.

The native messaging apps on cell phones have limited encryption technology which leaves messages vulnerable to outside parties. Using texting software with encryption technology in transit (to ensure that data is being transmitted through secure connections) and at rest (to protect your local data storage) will keep messages from being accessed by outsiders, which keeps your nonprofit and your volunteers protected.

Our cell phones are always within reach and so are your volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of nonprofit groups. They bring excitement, energy and a passion that can move mountains. Text messaging software makes it easy to reach them and keep them engaged. It’s also an effective way to connect with others who may want to join your cause. For most of us, our cell phones are always within reach. That fact alone makes catching the eye of volunteers easier than ever. Emails and phone calls have their place, but text messages get our attention sooner.

It’s important to remember that volunteers provide much more than free labor. They can be strong advocates for your organization and further spread the word about the good deeds you’re doing in the community. They can also bring their friends, family members and co-workers into the fold.

Once volunteers have signed up, sending texts with details about how they can help is often all it takes. While not every person on your list will be able to show up every time, by staying in contact by text they’ll know that they can be reached and that they can also reach out when the time is right.

Examples of SMS texts for nonprofit organizations:

1. Promote your various volunteer opportunities
Get the word out quickly and easily by texting volunteers. Some individuals will be extremely active and want to volunteer their time often while others may volunteer less frequently. Keeping everyone in the loop and aware of the opportunities to pitch in will help boost engagement.

2. Coordinate with your volunteers
Keeping volunteers informed and up to date is easy with texting software. It includes features such as group texting and message templates which speed up the administrative process. Simply create a message with all the relevant details for your event and save it. Then, schedule a date and time for it to be sent when you know the recipients will be most receptive to signing up to help.

3. Confirm attendance
People have good intentions, but they may have forgotten that they volunteered to help with your event, especially if they agreed to it several weeks beforehand. To reduce no-shows, it’s helpful to send a confirmation text 24-48 hours before Volunteer Day with details such as when to arrive, where to meet, and what they should be prepared to do.


4. Answer frequently asked questions

Nonprofit groups attract people throughout the year and many of these volunteers have the same questions. Rather than fielding them over the phone, over email or in person at your event, set up an auto-reply text message to answer the most frequently asked questions. The message can be sent automatically when someone texts a keyword to your text line. (Text “FAQ” to 555-455-5555).

5. Request donations
Asking for a donation is easier and less awkward when done with a text message. You can request that a donor texts a specific keyword (Text “DONATE”) to your text line. Setting up an auto-reply text that thanks them for donating along with a link to your nonprofit’s donation page is all it takes. The process is quick, easy and the donation can be made at a time that is most convenient for them.

6. Let VIPs know about exclusive events
Every donor is important to a nonprofit organization. Whether you give a little or you give a lot, it all adds up and serves the greater good. But sometimes a special event is set up to raise a large amount of money quickly, and a special guest or entertainer is brought in to headline the event. To encourage doors with deep pockets to attend, send a text to the VIPs letting them know that a limited number of tickets are available. A little urgency can do wonders for getting people to take action.

7. Communicate with your staff
Keeping the people on your team in the know is easy with text messaging. Perhaps you have a last-minute task that needs to be taken care of and you know just the person to get it done. Simply open your contacts and shoot them a message. Because we carry our phones just about everywhere we go, worrying that they won’t get your text is never a concern, unlike if the same info was sent via email.

8. Promote your other marketing channels
Texting checks off a lot of boxes when it comes to simplifying how you communicate with volunteers. But there are times when longer forms of communication are needed, such as important content that can only be found on your website. Or, say you want to promote that your nonprofit organization also has a presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Sending a text with links to those resources can help you generate more traffic and create greater awareness for your cause.

Texting software provides better security than personal cell phones

Safeguarding the personal information of volunteers and donors should always be a high priority. Texting software offers security that texting from personal cell phones just can’t provide. Keeping volunteer details and donor information secure is a must for any organization and nonprofits are no exception. Texting software should always be encrypted to ensure that personal and confidential information is never shared with outside individuals.

Not only does texting software make it easy to compose messages, manage contact details, sort responses and measure the effectiveness of outreach efforts, it also allows nonprofit organizations to text-enable their existing landline phone number so anyone can text or call the same number.

The pioneer in text-enabling landline phone numbers

Zipwhip empowers nonprofit organizations to communicate with their staffs, volunteers and others in the most effective and preferred way possible – through text messaging. As the pioneer of business texting, Zipwhip first enabled text messaging to and from existing landline, VoIP and toll-free phone numbers in 2014. The company’s direct network connectivity, intuitive cloud-based software and an enterprise-grade API mean businesses can use any computer or mobile device to securely and reliably reach their core audience, every time. For pricing and more information, visit Zipwhip today!

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