The Journey of an SMS Donor: A Case Study in SMS Growth From Acquisition to Cultivation

In an unpredictable fundraising landscape, organizations are looking to channels that have the capacity for growth and the room for innovation – and, for many of the nonprofits we partner with, a strong SMS program has recently been at the very center of their ability to meet revenue goals and drive year-over-year growth.

In this case study, we’re taking a deep dive into the SMS program of one of our nonprofit partners that saw their strong SMS results help power the overall growth of their program over the past year. For this organization, SMS plays a critical role in rapid response, driving supporters to take action and build momentum during big moments. As their organization expands its reach and impact, the strong SMS program they’ve built has played a major role in their growth.

We’re excited to take a look at how they’ve achieved success over mobile: from acquiring and opting in new prospective donors with The Digital Co-Op, to driving response through an engaging content cadence. And along the way, one element of this organization’s growth has been the support of data-informed SMS list growth through The Digital Co-Op.

How does SMS list growth via The Digital Co-Op work?

The Digital Co-Op uses mobile-specific behavior data to find you the strongest audience for your mission. With massive predictive modeling power and vast amounts of behavioral data from across the entire U.S. digital donor space, The Digital Co-Op connects you with premium-quality SMS leads that are modeled to take action over text, driving strong returns. It allows you to acquire new-to-list phone numbers, rent model-driven phone numbers, or rank your house email file to find the best prospective donors to text.



Journey of an SMS Donor

To highlight the impact of gaining engaged supporters over SMS, we traced the path of one donor, acquired over mobile, in their journey to become a committed supporter donating over multiple channels:

The Strategy

This organization achieved growth through strategic choices along every stage of their SMS program – from acquiring supporters to text, to engaging them with creative content – and along the way leveraged high-volume moments to extend their impact even further.

Here’s how we worked with them to build out their SMS program from every direction:

– Find the right audience to text

With the support of SMS modeling through The Digital Co-Op, this organization was able to build up an audience of people who were actively engaging over digital. By running a monthly model that ranked their active email audience by engagement then appending that list with phone numbers, they were able to add new prospects to their SMS list with the goal of driving opt-ins to their broadcast program.

– Text smarter

An SMS program is most effective when texting is used as an efficient tool during big moments. In moments of rapid response, this organization asked, ”What channel can we use to get a message out first?” With both text and email at their fingertips, they were able to get an immediate message out, and then gauge initial response to decide on next steps.

As a program that sees strong supporter response to messaging around anniversary moments, this organization also pays close attention to opportunities to lean in when they’re seeing strong results. By scaling up during one anniversary campaign and sending more SMS messages when they saw a strong response across all channels, they were able to leverage that momentum to drive results even higher.

– Tell a cohesive story

When starting an SMS program, we always advise our partners to look to their top-performing emails first for inspiration. This organization drove strong engagement and results by pulling from what they saw working well over email and creating SMS messages that paired well with those campaigns, building a cohesive, cross-channel story.

The Results

With the power of thoughtfully cultivated creative, a messaging strategy that leans into major moments to increase response, and list growth through modeled acquisition, this organization was able to achieve:

  • 275% donor growth over SMS in a single year.

  • 110% increase in SMS revenue in that same year.

Interested in learning more about what The Digital Co-Op can do for your SMS fundraising program? Share your email here and a member of our team will reach out!