How are non-profits using text messaging?

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NTEN eBenchmarks StudyEarlier this month M+R Strategic Services & the Nonprofit Technology Network released their annual eNonprofit Benchmarks study. The report provides an overview of technology benchmarks for nonprofits using new tools and strategies to mobilize their supporters.

As you might guess, much of the report is focused on email – out of the 40 organizations surveyed for data in the report, only 10 reported on mobile statistics. However, the section focused on text messaging has a few solid takeaways for organizations currently doing mobile (or those considering diving in)!

eNonprofit Benchmarks Study

 

A couple of key points to note:

  • On average, mobile lists are 1.9% the size of an organization’s email list.
  • List churn (the rate at which people drop off of our list) is lower than that of email lists.
  • List growth numbers represent a wide spectrum of success, typically linked to how many resources were invested in building the organization’s mobile list.

Put simply: text messaging is growing rapidly, but is still a tool that’s underutilized by a large majority of organizations. There are many ways groups could be using the tool to take their mobilization tactics to the next level. One group that has consistently used innovative techniques to both build and engage their text message list is Mobile Commons client AARP. The report features a campaign AARP launched using it’s text messaging list to fight for Social Security recipients.

Senator Alan Simpson equated Social Security with a ‘milk cow’ on August 25, 2010 and AARP leapt to action. That same day the organization sent a text message to roughly 44,000 subscribers, alerting them to the news and asking them to call in.

When supporters called in, they heard a recorded message explanation the situation and asking them to record a message of their own about why Social Security matters to them. Within 24 hours the organization had over 870 personal messages from supporters that they delivered to the voicemail boxes of appropriate members of Congress (with the help of Mobile Commons).

This is just a small example of ways to creatively harness the power of text messaging when mobilizing your supporters to take action, donate or engage in your campaigns.

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