Beyond Texting: NPOs Using Unique Strategies and Technologies To Enhance Results
Most organizations across the globe are familiar with how different communication methods can be leveraged to reach out to potential and existing advocates. SMS/text messaging continues to prove itself as the most effective and preferred communication, and many organizations are aware of the results they can achieve with text messaging as a stand-alone outreach. What is trending and seeing powerful results is when text messaging is used in cooperation with other forms of outreach, creating an integrated text messaging program. Below are some of our best use cases of how text messaging can enhance other strategies:
- Food & Water Watch Utilizes mConnect – Creating a call-to-action is an effort best supported by text messaging. But a more robust mobile campaign can help subscribers take the next step more easily. For example, when Food & Water Watch wanted to empower their subscribers to take action against fracking, the next best step was to have their voice heard by utilizing five different VoIP lines, delineated by:
- A number for their on-the-ground canvassers to distribute
- A number in their email outreach
- A click-to-call box on a Facebook page
- A dedicated number for their coalition partners to use
- A number to use as part of a text broadcast to their mobile list
This allowed Food & Water Watch to best track where interest was coming from. Most importantly, all calls led to the White House. Because they overwhelmed the switchboard with over 6,000 calls, those receiving a busy tone could opt to leave a voicemail. This inspired hope that these calls would still be heard instead of discouragement that they’d been drowned out. A CD was hand-delivered then delivered to the White House with these voicemails, amplifying the impact further. Because these calls were integrated with text messaging, subscribers could easily click to call the number, making it as convenient as possible to take action. They were also encouraged via SMS to pass the text along to 3 friends, raising awareness and enrollment.
- The Nature Conservancy Tweaks Opt In Forms for Mobile List Growth – A great challenge for anyone starting a text messaging campaign is jumpstarting their mobile list. The Nature Conservancy prioritized growing their list, and with just one tweak, they gained 25,000 subscribers in one month! Even more impressive, their conversion rates didn’t change. So how did they do it?They simply added mobile numbers to their existing opt-in forms. This very simple and wildly effective tweak brought them great success because of what we already know: People want to be contacted via text message. By simply providing them the opportunity to opt-in, their list grew by 800%. Because subscribers gave their number willingly, the conversion rates remained the same.
- OxFam Enrolls Volunteers at Events with Text Messaging – OxFam’s has an incredible mission to end poverty on a global scale, but they know it takes local volunteers to make this happen. With such an inspiring mission, it was no surprise that people who came to their events were deeply moved. Some even described the event as “life-changing.” But while potential volunteers were deeply affected by what they saw, OxFam found it challenging to cultivate relationships with them. Organizers were armed with forms to fill out, but they were found to be clumsy, easy to lose, and lengthy. So, OxFam began to incorporate text messaging into their physical events. Not only did they gain thousands of new subscribers, but they also developed life long-lasting relationships through SMS. For a medium that is knocked for being impersonal, OxFam utilized it for one of the most human uses possible while proving that using a digital method like text messaging at a physical event can make an incredible impact on your results.
- truth Mobilizes Young Activists to Take a Stand Against Big Tobacco via SMS – The truth campaign is committed to stopping big tobacco from manipulating young people into smoking with deceptive practices. When they wanted to turn teens into activists by inspiring action, they knew to turn to text messaging. Not only is it the most effective form of communication, but the teen demographic uses text messaging within their daily lives. The truth campaign’s intention was to target mega-chain Walgreen’s and ask them to get cigarettes off of their shelf. With a major shareholder meeting on the horizon, truth rallied their troops via SMS and other digital channels. They aimed to get 1,000 signatures on a petition about the issue. By integrating it with social media, coalition partners, and e-mail, they reached 5,000 signatures in just one week. 55% of the signatures arrived via SMS! While this proved to be the best way to promote advocacy, integrating it into a broader digital campaign maximized the effort. This highlights that a huge advantage of text messaging is its ability to integrate so seamlessly with other existing marketing materials.
So while we know that text messaging is a great tool on it’s own, we’ve seen that it’s even more effective in tandem with other strategies, including phone campaigns, opt-in/paper forms, physical events, and social media.