By 2018, 1 in 4 donors discovered nonprofits they were previously unaware of using mobile devices. And as the use of mobile devices increase worldwide, the number of people who will discover nonprofits and make donations through mobile is only going to increase. According to Classy’s 2020 State of Modern Philanthropy report, mobile represents 60% of all campaign visitors.

With these trends in mind, it’s clear that more people will take action towards a nonprofit through a mobile device now and in the future. And it only makes sense that you have a great nonprofit SMS communication strategy if you don’t have one already. But it’s never easy to come up with great campaigns, start a workable SMS strategy, and follow it throughout. Fortunately, this guide will help your nonprofit get started implementing their SMS communication and the various ways to use it to achieve success.

Nonprofit SMS communication strategy

Before you make use of text messaging in your nonprofit, you need a clear-cut strategy that works. Here’s how to build one.

Strategy 1: know and understand your audience

One of the first steps to implementing a great nonprofit SMS communication strategy is to define and understand your audience. By defining your audience, you’re able to write the best messaging that will enable them take the action you intend for them. Nonprofits can segment their audience into the following categories:

  • Big-time donors
  • Monthly donors – recurring
  • Volunteers
  • Fundraisers
  • Newsletter and email subscribers
  • Corporate sponsors and partners
  • Event attendees

When you’re able to go through this segmentation, you’re already halfway to a great nonprofit SMS communication strategy. This exercise also helps you define each segment’s needs, what motivates them, and the type of storytelling you need to succeed in each segment.

Strategy 2: Define your messaging and value proposition

Just like your audience selection, your message and value proposition are equally important. At this stage, nonprofits need to work on the messaging to send depending on whether your audience are donors, volunteers or corporate partners and sponsors. Nonprofits also need a great value proposition, one that defines your organization goals and mission, and how partners or donors or volunteers can effect change when they take action. Both your value proposition and messaging should be:

  • Short, simple, and straight to the point – no fluff or unnecessary jargon
  • Add the problem you’re out to solve
  • Talk about what makes you different – succinctly.

Strategy 3: Deploy and test your strategy

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The next big strategy after defining your audience, your messaging, and value proposition is to deploy your final message and test its workings. At this stage, your biggest goal shouldn’t be to win your audience over at once, but it should be centered on finding out what works best for them.

Here, nonprofits need to run an A/B test to find out how their messaging and value proposition performs. They could do this by coming up with one or two variations of the final message as a backup if the original message doesn’t achieve the desired results. Some organizations could decide to send all three messages at different times to test the results.

This stage is highly important as it doesn’t only show you which messages work best, it also helps you come up with a final draft or messaging that work and can be used for the long-term.

4 ways to use your nonprofit SMS communication to drive change

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There are various ways to use text messaging in your nonprofit. Let’s explore the most important.

1. Research

While we still use email and online forms mostly for research, the personalization and potential for a wider reach of text messaging makes it a great tool for researching about how your donors, partners, communities, and volunteers see your services and causes.

2. Fundraising

Using text messages, nonprofits can get a large amount of donations from their partners and donors. Some nonprofits send donation links to donors and partners through text messages. All they need to do is click on the link that leads them to the right donation page. This helps with future fundraising as nonprofits can, in the future, create a payment short code for donors and partners to use for donation without going to a dedicated donation page.

3. Nonprofit marketing

Or should we call it awareness? Nonprofits have a lot of awareness to do, right from launching campaigns for a cause to creating awareness about a certain menace in society.

4. Build personal relationships

For nonprofits with many volunteers, text messaging is a great tool to communicate with them. Because of its personal nature, SMS also makes volunteers feel more connected to your nonprofit on a personal level.

5. Event management

Many nonprofits hold events throughout the year – from workshops to conferences. Text messaging is a great tool for nonprofits to send special messages to participants and also send them reminders of meetings, conferences, and workshops.


No matter your area of expertise as a nonprofit, there are various ways you can use text messaging to create awareness, build a marketing list, and fundraise. With our nonprofit SMS communication guide, you’re ready to get started.