[GUEST POST] Using Broadcast Text Messaging to Boost Event Recruitment and Fundraising

While COVID first comes to mind when we think of the decline in peer-to-peer event fundraising, peer-to-peer event revenue has declined among the top 30 events going back to 2017. 

As nonprofits tackle crowded inboxes and email deliverability challenges, it’s becoming harder to reach and engage event participants via email. With social and digital ad ROI declining sharply, nonprofits need innovative ways to cut through the clutter to recoup lost participants and increase event revenue.

One emerging channel nonprofits are turning to is text messaging, as four  out of five nonprofits now either have a text messaging program or plan to start one. Not only does text messaging have a 99% open rate, but 90% of texts are opened within the first three minutes of being received.

Text messaging can help nonprofits overcome email’s limited reach and deliver recruitment, coaching, and timely messages to participants. 

Types of text messaging platforms

There are two types of text messaging platforms:

  1. Peer-to-peer texting – also known as 1:1 texting. This often involves clicking a button for each person you text.

  2. Broadcast texting – also known as 1:Many texting. This involves clicking a button once and texts are sent to many people – whether that’s 1,000, 10,000, or 100,000+ people. 

Peer-to-peer texting is often better for smaller nonprofits with local events. When there are fewer participants, it’s less work for staff to text event participants one-by-one.

Broadcast texting is usually better for events with larger audiences, as it would take event staff a long time to text thousands of participants individually. Broadcast texting allows event staff to text thousands or tens of thousands of participants with a single click.

Nonprofit texting for national and multi-city events

For national, multi-city events, peer-to-peer texting can create a lot of duplicative work and challenges across local offices that can lead to texts never being sent. For example, a nonprofit may ask 30 local offices to each send their own recruitment and coaching texts to their local participants one-by-one. Not only is this duplicating the same work across 30 local markets, but staff turnover and other staff priorities put important recruitment and coaching texts at risk of never being sent. When texts aren’t sent, it can negatively impact registered participants and overall revenue.

Using broadcast text messaging for national, multi-city events can significantly reduce staff work, save time, and ensure texts get delivered. Each recruitment text can be sent to tens of thousands of people (or more) across all local markets with a single click of a button. 

For national events that have different dates across local markets, using a broadcast text messaging tool that has event scheduling capabilities – like Tatango – can help automate participant text journeys. For example, the March for Babies uses broadcast texting to send an automated participant welcome series after registering and a participant coaching series leading up to each local event date. 

Sending a participant welcome and coaching text series using peer-to-peer texting would take local event staff likely over 125 hours. Using broadcast texting with event scheduling functionality reduces staff time to just a few hours to send a participant welcome and coaching text series.

Types of event broadcast texts

As email performance wanes and nonprofits continue to try to recoup lost participants after COVID, texting can help get important messages quickly in front of participants, including:

  1. Recruitment texts – If more participants receive timely recruitment messages, that can lead to not only more registered participants, but also more participants registered earlier who have more time to fundraise.
  2. Coaching texts – Sending coaching texts shortly after a participant’s registration can prompt event app downloads sooner, leading to more money raised. Using texts to drive app downloads is a strong mobile-first approach to coaching participants, as those participants are already on their mobile devices when they see a text message.

    In addition, coaching texts that include a short video, image, or longer content can also help connect participants to your mission and help them with fundraising.

  3. Last-minute event tips – To raise more money, events need to retain more participants each year. Whether participants return may largely depend on the event experience they have leading up to and at the event. If participants are unaware of event logistics like parking, water station locations, or when food is available, it can hurt their event experience. Broadcast text messaging can ensure these critical updates are received at the right time at the event by participants and can elevate their event experience. And happy participants are more likely to return next year.

Learn more about using text messaging for event recruitment and fundraising

Find out more about using texting to maximize event engagement and increase event revenue, in the on-demand webinar, Using Broadcast Text Messaging to Boost Event Recruitment and Fundraising, which was a session at the 2023 Peer-to-Peer World virtual conference. View the recorded session and other sessions from the conference. 

By Mike Snusz, Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience, Tatango

With 20 years of fundraising experience, Mike Snusz currently works as the Director of Nonprofit Experience at Tatango. His goal is to help nonprofits maximize the impact text marketing can have to raise more money.

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