How Nonprofits Can Use Text Messaging for Advocacy

nonprofit rally

Nonprofits need to get the word out. Text messaging for advocacy can help.

Spreading the word is one of the primary missions for nonprofits. They’re busy activating supporters, organizing events, influencing public opinion, lobbying government officials and more.

Texting can help spread that message:

  • Higher open rates than email: We’re talking 98% vs. 15-22%. No contest.
  • Immediacy: People respond to texts almost instantly, while it takes a longer with emails. What’s the difference? Try 90 seconds vs. 90 minutes.
  • Larger reach: 91% of Americans have a cell phone within reach at all times. Plus texting can reach all cell phone users, not just smart phone users.

“You might not trust what is coming out of the TV, but you take it seriously when the message comes from a friend.” –Jean Min, OhMyNews

How Advocacy Groups Can Use Texting

So how can nonprofits use texting to spread the message?

  • Get information out there: Share content that drives awareness, whether it’s short and simple content like facts or quotes, or something deeper like links to videos or more in-depth articles.
  • Organize rallies across the country: Use text messaging to arrange nearly spontaneous meetings, events and demonstrations. It’s a digital age and people are responding to world events with digital methods, in Baltimore and around the world.
  • Collect personal stories: Ask people to share. Real stories from real people can be incredibly motivating. Text messaging can make it easier to collect those stories.
  • Put people to work: Use text messaging to give a call to action. Ask people to contact their elected officials or sign petitions. Include the appropriate links or phone numbers so people can act immediately.

For Real?

One great example of a nonprofit using texting is the Washington Education Association. They’re a nonprofit focusing on the issues and politics that impact public education in the state of Washington. As a political action committee, WEA-PAC sends their latest blog updates to their supporters via text message. It’s a great way for them to drive immediate action, giving their supporters specific information and something they can do right now.

But First!

Before you can put text messaging to work spreading the word, you need to build your mobile advocacy list.

Start by setting up your list with a text messaging provider like TextMarks. Then promote your text keyword to all your other channels. Add a quick invite with your keyword and short code to all your print materials, social media sites, email, radio/TV, etc. Be sure to advertise the text group at events as well—your mobile list is a great way for supporters to take the next step and connect with your nonprofit.

(Photo by Mark Klotz: Affordable Housing Protest Rally / Flickr Some rights reserved.)





Interested in learning more about text messaging for nonprofits? Call TextMarks at 800-696-1393 or email us at

Kevin D. Hendricks

Kevin D. Hendricks is an avid reader, a former yo-yo man and a freelance writer living in St. Paul, Minn.

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