Relationships are vital to nonprofits, be they with volunteers, stakeholders, or donors. And establishing and maintaining relationships is possible only through conversations that foster a sense of harmony and trust. But having these personalized conversations on a large scale can be overwhelming for nonprofits.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) texting can alleviate this problem. P2P texting focuses on a personalized approach rather than a generic or robotic one. It helps plant the seeds of relationships, then nourishes them with engagement and individualized attention, cultivating a strong and sustainable bond.
P2P texting also helps nonprofits in other aspects of their campaigns. Here are four ways nonprofits can use this form of text messaging to get their campaigns up and running smoothly.
For Organizing Events and Initiating Action
If your nonprofit has an event coming up, you’ll need support for organizing it. You can use P2P texting to talk to volunteers, informing them of the event and explaining how they can help. The advantage here is that a back-and-forth conversation can easily take place. You can answer queries that crop up, something that is harder to do with another medium such as email.
Once all your volunteers are in the loop, use P2P texting to generate awareness about the rally or event and drive attendance. Text your contact list the details about the event and give them compelling reasons to attend. Since regulations in the United States limit the number of messages sent per hour, your organization can increase the number of texts you send by renting several numbers at once and then conversing from those numbers; this is especially useful for large campaigns where a huge number of contacts needs to be reached out to. This approach is extremely effective in getting more people to actually come out to show their support.
If you want your supporters to hold yard signs at an important rally, you could send an initial message like:
“Hey Mateo, while you’re at the rally, would you be open to holding a yard sign as a sign of protest? You won’t have to make it yourself, we’ll provide it for you!”
When you get a response (affirmative or otherwise), you can conveniently mark it in an on-screen survey form with a list of possible answers. By collating these responses you get an estimate of the number of people willing to hold yard signs at your rally and have a fair idea of the number of signs you’ll have to provide. You’ve also deepened your relationship with your supporters and can definitely target them for outreach if you’re organizing a similar event in the future.
The human element present in these type of conversations is what makes P2P texting so effective. You’re essentially having one-on-one conversations on a large scale with each individual discussion personalized for that specific contact; volunteers send out initial texts to a targeted list and then start engaging in personalized conversations simultaneously, as the replies start coming in, one by one.
This aspect of P2P texting makes it so appealing, as opposed to sending generic texts to contacts which have a good chance of being ignored.
For Fundraising and Thanking Donors and Volunteers
Effective fundraising require good relationships with donors and potential donors. But this can be a tough ask, especially if you have many people giving to your nonprofit.
Use P2P texting to engage potential donors in conversation and build a relationship before making your ask. You can send out several texts at once, and have one-on-one interactions with individuals as the replies come in. Use texting to solidify and maintain your bond with current donors, so that you can retain them for the long run.
If your contacts are in another location or city, you can use a number with a local ID to increase your response rate—potential donors are likely to talk to you if they think you’re texting them from the same area as opposed to another location.
A big part of fundraising is thanking your donors to express sincere gratitude for their contributions. P2P texting makes this part of your donor engagement strategy much simpler. Send thank-you texts from time to time, along with a friendly follow-up conversation to show you haven’t forgotten their contributions. It’s good practice to send these texts to one-time donors or to those who didn’t contribute large amounts. You may be able to convince them to donate again.
You can also use P2P texting to thank your volunteers. They probably form the backbone of your nonprofit, and their efforts should be recognized too.
You’ll need to recruit volunteers for different purposes. Again, P2P texting is a viable means of making this process convenient. Once you have an interested candidate’s details, you can converse with him or her via text and address queries, concerns, or suggestions. You’ll build a relationship with them even before they’ve become a part of your nonprofit.
Say you’re holding an event for potential volunteers. You can text them the venue details and time and use RSVPs to estimate the number of people who are attending. You can even segment people in your contact list based on their preferences, or the type of work they would be doing, with surveys that automatically sync with your database. This segmentation is extremely helpful for future communications, as you can send individualized texts based on recipients’ roles in your nonprofit.
You can send recruitees something like this:
“Hey Rachel, all the new recruits are meeting up at Central Park on the 5th of this month at 5 pm. It’s going to be a fun and light session for everyone to get to know each other. You in? :D”
To which the reply may be:
“Hi, yes I’m in! Will there be activities as well?“
You’ll answer any queries your contacts may have, thereby building a relationship that can help overcome any initial barriers.
Peer-to-peer texting is extremely useful in collecting feedback from your volunteers, donors, and supporters to help you gauge your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. After initiating a conversation, you can follow a multiple-choice question format, with subsequent questions being triggered automatically according to the responses you get. With these surveys, a lot of the replies or questions you send are repetitive, so you can always store the responses as a block of text, and send them with a click. With personalization, the name of the recipient is added, which helps maintain conversations when you’re texting hundreds of people at once.
Alternatively, you can initiate a detailed survey where your respondent has to type out the answers to your questions. Here, the surveyor actually takes the time to ask questions and unearth specific pain points, concerns, queries, or suggestions the survey takers might have.
The advantage of using P2P texting for eliciting feedback is that respondents can readily answer questions even if they are on the go. Also, by conducting surveys with all of the people in your contact list, you can gain a thorough understanding of what your nonprofit requires to perform better and more efficiently.
If your software supports segmenting, you can even add your contacts to a different list and then reach out to them later. If a supporter is unhappy with the way you run your nonprofit, you can obtain his or her reasons while adding the contact to a separate list. Later, when you’ve made the necessary changes, contact the members of this list via text and see if they’re happy with the progress. This way you can maintain a bond with your supporter base and show you value others’ opinions and are ready to act upon the suggestions you receive.
To summarize, P2P texting offers nonprofits two main advantages:
- It helps build and maintain relationships with people important to your nonprofit.
- It helps maximize engagement, as a personalized text message is harder to ignore than an email or a phone call from an unknown number.
Hopefully, this article has shown how nonprofits can use this powerful tool to benefit their campaigns in different ways.
Shaunak Wanikar is part of the marketing team at CallHub. Along with writing articles on the CallHub blog and partner websites, he also dabbles in social media marketing and creates infographics, product demo videos, and landing pages through WordPress. Shaunak is an engineering graduate with a penchant for movies, football, and books.