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Boost donations: Text message best practices for fundraising

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We have all experienced that dopamine rush when we get a text notification. You eagerly check your text message, but it turns out to be just another spam message asking you if you'll be voting this year.

Now imagine, if that message felt like a genuine attempt at connection from your favorite nonprofit. They’re reaching out to let you know how much they value your support and update you about the work your donations are doing in the community.

Are you more likely to engage with a spam text or a compelling attempt at genuine connection?

But how do you write a compelling text message that feels like more than just another fundraising ask? We've all been there. With the right approach and a sprinkle of creativity, text messaging can be transformed into an engaging and effective fundraising tool!

Let’s look at Fundraising Text Message best practices and see how personalization can increase engagement, why brevity is crucial in maintaining donor attention, and explore the power of a clear call-to-action.

Table of Contents:

Benefits of fundraising text messages

With text messages, your nonprofit can tap into a powerful channel to connect with donors. Let’s look at a few of the benefits of fundraising text messages for your nonprofit.

High open rates

Statistics show that receiving text messages has an impressive 98% open rate within the first five minutes. That means nearly every fundraising campaign message you send out gets seen almost immediately.

With a 98% open rate within the first five minutes, nearly every fundraising text message you send gets seen.

Quick response times

The beauty doesn't stop there. The average time for a response to a text is roughly 90 seconds. Does any other medium boast such immediacy? When supporters receive texts asking them to join your cause or make donations, they're more likely to respond because their phone is already in use.


Text messages are also incredibly versatile. They work great as reminders for event registration or pledges to give. Texts are great for sending quick updates about a project or connecting donors to your newsletter. And of course, you can also use texts to ask for donations and volunteer signups.

Choosing the right text messaging partner

When it comes to your nonprofit's text messaging needs, selecting the right partner is key. But what should you look for? It's not just about SMS marketing or having a cool mobile suite. You need something that fits the specific needs of your nonprofit.

Ease of use

You wear a lot of hats, so software that requires a lot of time and effort for you to use is likely not the best fit for your nonprofit. Look for a fundraising text message partner that is user-friendly.

Compatibility with your nonprofit CRM

If you can automatically track text messages within your nonprofit CRM, this simplifies your workload. A text partner should sync with your CRM automatically updating constituent records and keeping track of responses. This helps you have a clear picture of what is happening with your constituents, so you can plan effectively for future outreach.


Does your text partner track open rates, click-through rates, and response rates? The ability to see basic analytics helps you better understand your constituents and what resonates with them.

Gif of a guy pointing to his head like he's thinking. It says can't be told data is wrong if you don't track it. Which is true, you won't know your fundraising text messages aren't working, if you aren't tracking them.

If you know that certain language leads to more responses, but fewer conversions vs. another option that leads to more conversions while getting fewer responses, then you can choose which best fits your nonprofit’s goal. This allows you to better tailor your marketing efforts from real data instead of anecdotal evidence or your preferences.

Best practices for text message fundraising

Yes, the text message open rates are impressive. But high open rates alone don't guarantee success. So what key factors do you need to consider when writing your outreach text messages?

The power of text message fundraising lies in its simplicity and immediacy. Let's look at some key strategies that can help make your text message campaigns work effectively.

Crafting personalized messages

Personalizing your fundraising text messages makes them more effective. Tailoring content to donors' interests or previous interactions can increase engagement and donations. Try including their name or referencing past contributions in the message.

Personalizing mass text messages

The right software solution will let you send mass texts that are segmented to different groups and feel personalized.

Effective text message marketing isn't just about sending messages—it's about sending the right ones. Using standard text messaging tools, you can tailor your content to each supporter, increasing their engagement and likelihood of donating.

Importance of brevity in messaging

Have you ever opened a message and realized it was too long, so you closed your message to come back to it later, only to forget to check it? In general, a long text message is not going to keep your donors’ attention.

Brief but compelling is key when crafting fundraising texts. With mobile devices at hand constantly, people often skim through their messages quickly. So make sure every word counts.

Creating a clear CTA

To create a clear call to action (CTA), you need to know what actions you hope your donors take after reading your message. Once you know what action you want them to take, you can start to write your CTA.

Your CTA should be specific and easy to follow. Avoid vague or overly complex instructions that may confuse your donors. Instead, use concise language that clearly outlines the steps they need to take.

Bernie Sanders saying "do something" just like your fundraising text messages CTA should.

Consider adding urgency to your call to action. By emphasizing the importance of acting quickly, you can motivate donors to take action while your nonprofit is fresh on their minds. A phrase like "Act now" can create a sense of urgency that encourages immediate response.

A clear CTA should provide a clickable link that leads directly to the desired action. This reduces obstacles and streamlines the process for your donors, making it as convenient as possible for them to support your cause.

Remember, a compelling call to action is not only about inspiring action but also about making it as straightforward and hassle-free as possible for your donors.

Timing your messages

You should also consider timing when planning out your campaign. Sending targeted messages at appropriate times can help increase response rates and drive traffic toward donation pages or social media platforms.

Well-timed messages increase constituents’ connection to your cause. One way is through event registration updates. Let's say a donor signs up for an upcoming charity run—why not send them training tips or countdown texts? It makes them feel more connected to the cause while also keeping your organization top-of-mind.

But remember, too many messages can turn donors off. Sending too many messages starts to feel overwhelming and reduces the likelihood that donors will engage with your messages. Striking a balance is key for maximum impact.


When it comes to Fundraising Text Message best practices, we've covered a lot of ground. Personalization, brevity, and clear a call-to-action are your keys to success.

The power of text messaging in fundraising is undeniable - high open rates, quick responses, and targeted messages. It's about making every word count.

Selecting the right software for your nonprofit’s texting needs can also make all the difference. Look at click-through rates and consider user-friendliness, too.

Above all else: remember you're reaching out to real people on their mobile devices – make each message meaningful!

Are you using a donor development platform that let’s you send text messages and automatically tracks your donor data?

Nurture your donor relationships with DonorDock - a donor management platform built for nonprofits like yours.

Fundraising text message FAQs

How do you write a fundraising text?

To craft a solid fundraising text, keep it personal and brief. Use compelling language to convey your cause and include an easy-to-follow call to action.

What is the best message to ask for a donation?

The best messages share your nonprofit's impact, tug at heartstrings, express gratitude in advance, and make giving simple with clear instructions.

What is the best practice for SMS opt-in?

Gaining consent before texting is key. Make sure folks understand what they're signing up for by providing concise details about the frequency of texts and content type.

What do you say in a donation message?

In your donation appeal, state why their help matters. Detail how funds are used and describe tangible outcomes that result from their generosity.

Elisha Ford
Content Writer
Written by
Elisha Ford
Content Writer

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