January 26, 2010

SMS fundraising campaign for breast cancer

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Beth KanterGiven the visible success of the Haiti text-to-give campaigns, SMS is bound to become one of the tools in an organization’s fundraising bag, if it isn’t already.

This week I heard about Drew Olanoff’s latest fundraising campaign, a text-to-give strategy on behalf of Boarding for Breast Cancer. Here’s how it works:

Every time someone texts “tp4bc” to 60611, the textPlus mobile address, textPlus will donate $1 to Boarding for Breast Cancer, a non-profit, youth-focused education, awareness, and fundraising foundation whose mission is to increase awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the value of an active lifestyle.

textPlus, a mobile app, offers users free texting with group text capability.  What’s cool is that Drew’s employer GOGII is the mobile app developer behind textPlus, a free group texting application available on the iPhone and Android platforms.

This is not the first time Drew Olanoff has taken to the social web to fundraise for cancer. Last May, after Drew was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he launched a charity called blamedrewscancer.com, which donated $1 to the LIVESTRONG foundation for every person who followed @DrewFromTV, the Twitter handle of comedian Drew Carey. The charity has raised $15,000 to date and is a great example of personal fundraising that leverages the power of social media.

If you’re looking for information about to design and implement an effective SMS campaign, Allyson Kapin has a post that includes tips, as well as a description of some of the challenges.  Her tips include:

If your nonprofit is thinking of launching a mobile fundraising campaign, it’s critical that you develop a multi-channel marketing and outreach plan to spread the word and maximize donations. For example:

  • Start with emailing your online activists and donors and place your shortcode and keyword front and center. Include a “Forward to a Friend” link and a “Share This” app on the landing page so people can promote it to social networks too. Reinforce this in a follow up thank you email as well.
  • Leverage social networks. Tweet the “text to donate” campaign. Ask followers to pass it on. Post it to your Facebook Fanpage and any other social networks your organization is active on. Report back on key milestones. The American Red Cross has done a terrific job in the last 72 hours of reporting how much money they are raising via mobile, the work they are doing on the ground, etc.
  • Paid advertising such as banner ads, keywords and text ads are excellent and fast ways to promote your campaign to millions of people and grow your list at the same time.
  • Follow up with your donors. Tell them about the progress you have made towards reaching your fundraising goals. Explain how their money is being spent. Share some personal stories by people who have been impacted by their donations.

Has your organization incorporated text-to-give in its fundraising bag of tricks? What have you learned about implementing these campaigns? What are the best specific blog posts and resources out there on SMS fundraising?

Cross-posted from Beth’s Blog.Beth Kanter is CEO of Zoetica, a consultancy for nonprofits. See her profile, visit her blog, contact Beth or leave a comment.

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