The annual M+R Benchmarks Study is out and there’s plenty of great nonprofit data to dive into. Over the past few weeks I’ve looked at online fundraising and email data. Today I’m going to take a look at text messaging and your nonprofit.

Text Data To Learn From

Text is the forgotten child of the nonprofit sector. We’re so busy with direct mail appeals, in-person solicitations, email and social media fundraising, it’s easy to neglect a medium which actually could bring in fantastic results for your organization.

Data: Nonprofits had 50 mobile list members for every 1,000 email subscribers.

The takeaway: That needs to change! 90-95% of people open text messages within three minutes of receiving one. No other platform has that kind of open rate. When your organization texts someone, odds are they’ll open it.

Why that’s important: Your goal should be to build and strengthen relationships with donors and prospects.

When’s the last time you asked the people in your database how they preferred you communicate with them? I’m willing to bet that more people than you think would opt for texts.

Text is one-to-one communication. It’s personal. It can lead to a conversation. Isn’t that what we want from our marketing efforts?!

With limited time and attention spans, your direct mail appeals and emails might not be bringing in the return on investment they should (and you should be working hard to boost your mail and email conversion rates!) Short, targeted messages which educate, keep people informed and mobilize them to take action? Definitely something to consider.

Data: Mobile message click thru rate (CTR) is 6.5% for fundraising messages, 10% for advocacy messages.

The takeaway: The average CTR for email? 2.66%. Now look at the text data and tell me: Where might your organization get more bang for its buck?!

Why that’s important: Not only do people consistently open text messages but they’re clicking on the links organizations are sharing with them. More clicks on those links = more chances to convert them into a donor, advocate, volunteer. (Which means you should be measuring how effective your landing pages are in terms of overall conversion rate.)

One word of caution: Text is very personal. Someone gave you their phone number which is not a given. Use it with care! Text bombing those who opt-in to receive text messages will just raise your unsubscribe rates. Text when necessary and consider the message.

Unlike direct mail or email, keep your texts short and to the point. No one’s reading a 200-word text. Tell people what you’d like them to do and include a link. Plain and simple.

Text is great for encouraging recurring donations, event promotion, text-to-donate and much more. Your online donation page should offer an opt-in option for people to sign up to receive texts from your organization. Also include it in emails. Give people choices of how they want to hear from you.

Next week I’ll look at social media marketing and fundraising data.