2 min Read
October 18, 2013

Using text messaging to achieve your mission

We talk a lot about engaging audiences here at Big Duck. And one of the tactics that continue to grow in use and popularity is texting. Whether you have a mobile strategy or are just starting out, it’s time to embrace smart phones as an important communications channel.

Last month, I had the pleasure of learning how to use text messaging to achieve your mission from pros Sam McElvie, head of mobile strategy at Mobile Commons, and James Servino, ‎online fundraising and advocacy manager at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Sam and James had a lot of tips, tricks, and trends to share with participants at our monthly 501TechNYC meeting (a local meetup for NTEN members and their friends).

You can view their slides and watch the video further down in this post. One of my favorite parts of their presentation was learning about a few incredible examples of nonprofits that have really rocked mobile.

  1. HRC’s Mobile Buyer’s Guide – Text the keyword SHOP + (name of store) to 30644 and find out how high (or low) that company scores on supporting workplace equality.
  2. Reform Immigration for America – Text the keyword JUSTICE to 69866 to get involved in local and national immigration reform.
  3. New York City Department of Education – Text the keyword NYCSCHOOLS to 877877 for updates on school openings/closures, reminders, and tips for families on school resources.
  4. Do Something’s Phone Baby campaign – Earlier this summer, the cutting-edge nonprofit used texting to allow more than 120,000 teens “impregnate their friends’ phones” with phone babies to increase understanding of teen pregnancy.

What about fundraising? Well just a week or two after the event, I received an engaging text from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Using a simple quiz question, IRC quickly taught me about their work and one of their programs in less than a minute.

Two days later, IRC sent me another text. This time it was to finanicially support the very program I just learned about:

“Support refugees building new lives in the U.S. Donate to New Roots by midnight TONIGHT to have your gift DOUBLED:

Phone survey and call pages

Not only did I love the one-two combination of action + ask, the donation form I saw when I clicked on the link really impressed me. You can see the mobile-optimized version in the image below, but try the link from your phone and your laptop/PC to see the difference. Not only is the form responsive and designed for a mobile, but they also make it easy to call in your gift, should you prefer to give by phone.

So without further ado, dig into the slides and watch the video. I’m sure you will learn a thing or twenty!

Special thanks to Lane Beauchamp and Mo Brady of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for donating their awesome video skills and filming the event.

If you are in the NYC area this Fall, join us at one or both of our next events:

You can also join our merry group of nonprofiteers on Facebook—it is open to all. 

Have you seen a great example of nonprofits using texting to reach and engage its community? Share it in the comments below.