Raise 60% more by coaching your participants through text notifications

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices March 16, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe, Michelle Steed, Ed Lord

In online peer-to-peer fundraising, email has been the traditional communication tool for organizations to communicate with their participants. Organizations rely on it for recruiting, for communicating event details and for motivating their participants to fundraise. But when it comes to coaching, our latest research shows that text is a much more effective tool. Here’s the proof:

Fundraisers who opt-in for text notifications raise 60% more than those who don’t.

In DonorDrive, our Fundraising Motivation Engine® is a built-in coaching system that automatically coaches participants through notifications that are triggered by a their fundraising activity (or even their inactivity.) Here’s how a triggered notification works: When a participant hits 50% of their fundraising goal, DonorDrive can automatically send them a message congratulating them for making it halfway and encouraging them to keep going. The participant can choose to receive these notifications by email or by text. 

How DonorDrive clients are using text for coaching

While manually sending text messages for coaching your participants can have a positive impact, we’ve found texts automatically triggered by participant and donor behavior are very effective in motivating better fundraising. Here are a few examples of triggered notifications that our DonorDrive clients have set up and are having excellent success with:

  • When a participant registers, a “thank you” text is sent. This opens an immediate communication channel with the participant.
  • When a participant receives a donation. This often inspires the participant to respond to the donor with a thank you.
  • When a participant hits 100% of their goal. This sends a “congratulations” message and encourages them to increase their goal.

Coaching captains

It’s normal to think of team captains doing all the coaching, but we’ve found that coaching your captains through text has a huge impact on their team’s success. Here are some of the automatic notifications that captains receive in DonorDrive.

  • When a member joins the team. This is a great opportunity for the captain to send a “thank you” message to the new member or to introduce the new member to the team.
  • When the team receives a donation. This is useful for the captain to send a message rallying the team.
  • When a team participant receives a donation. Captains often use this opportunity to inspire some competition among team members.
  • When the team hits a percentage milestone towards their goal. As with individual participants, team success encourages more team success and can inspire competition between teams.

These are just a few of the possibilities of coaching that’s triggered by the actions of supporters.

Why text in DonorDrive is so successful at coaching

While email continues to be the major path for participants to solicit donations in peer-to-peer, behavior-triggered text messages are now the most effective path to coach participants to send more of those emails. So why is text-based coaching working so well?

  • Everyone uses text. While 100% of Millennials use text, a study by Pew shows that 98% of those 30-49 and 92% of those 50+ also text regularly. SMS is now an accepted communication standard for any participant with a mobile phone.
  • Text is more likely to be seen. While email averages an open rate of about 20%, the viewing rate for text is 98%. 90% of those messages are read within three minutes. 
  • Text is more likely to get a response. The brevity of SMS makes it more practical for a digital conversation via mobile. Even quick communication at work is now done by instant messaging, not email. It’s hard to imagine that email is now considered “slow,” but our world is getting less patient. People tend to use text for the immediate and the urgent, while email is relegated to things that can be handled later.
  • Text is still a personal communication channel. Email is a catch-all for everything from personal email to business communication to marketing messages, but text is still very much a personal communication channel. We almost always read a text in its entirety the moment we get it (even when we're interrupting a meeting to do it.)
  • Messages are immediate and specific. A notification through DonorDrive congratulating a participant for hitting 50% of their goal pertains to something that just happened. It’s not a random motivation message.
  • Those are the mechanics of it, but perhaps more importantly—action-based notifications give participants an easy path to react immediately. They recieve and read a message based on an event that has just happened and they can respond right now by talking about it on social media or increasing their fundraising goal right from their phone.

We’ve built ease-of-use for donors, participants and staff at the core of DonorDrive. The stats show that when you make fundraising easy we’ve made it easy to be a better fundraiser.