The State of Nonprofit SMS: 7 Key Highlights

July 2, 2020  |  Richard Gabrintina

This spring, M+R released its annual benchmarks report on technology trends shaping the nonprofit sector, analyzing data from over 200 nonprofits. The information presented in this collaborative project is a useful tool in guiding organizations and professionals in navigating the world of nonprofit technology and strategy. This year, one particular area of the study should be on every nonprofit’s radar: mobile devices and SMS. Here are the key highlights on the state of nonprofit SMS that every organization should be aware of.

1. Half of all nonprofit website visits came from users on mobile devices. The traffic share for mobile devices increased by 11% from 2018

More and more supporters are arriving at nonprofit websites on mobile devices. This is critical to observe and take note of when considering implementing a mobile text or SMS strategy for your nonprofit. One important question to ask is whether your organization’s website is optimized for mobile devices, to provide a seamless, hassle-free experience for your supporter.

2. Mobile users grew as a share of traffic by 11%, as a share of donation transactions by 17%, and as a share of revenue by 21%

Not only are more supporters are visiting nonprofit websites on a mobile device, they are also donating from their phones. Mobile grew as a share of donation transactions by almost one-fifth and a little over one-fifth as a share of revenue. As this trend will likely continue to rise, nonprofits must ensure that donation forms are optimized and mobile-ready as well. If your donation forms and pages don’t work well on mobile devices, it can detrimentally impact conversions and revenue.

3. The average gift by a mobile device is valued at $63, and mobile users account for a third of donations and a quarter or revenue

Nonprofits should be sure to take notice of the impact that mobile users have when it comes to donation value and overall revenue. This finding suggests that there is an opportunity for nonprofits to plan and build a strategy around mobile giving and mobile audiences.

4. Nonprofit text messaging audiences grew by 26% in 2019, at a time when Facebook audiences grew by just 4% and email list sizes declined by 2%

It’s evident that while other audiences are becoming more and more saturated, nonprofit text messaging audiences are seeing positive growth trends. The combination of the potential giving power and growing audience size signals that mobile audiences, while yet to be a fully tapped source of revenue generation, are worth investing in.

5. While their growth rate far outpaced other channels, nonprofits had just 72 mobile subscribers for every 1,000 email addresses

Although growth statistics are significant, scale should be taken into consideration. Mobile messaging is still a developing channel, and should still be considered just one piece of a cohesive, multi-channel messaging strategy.

6. Text messaging volume increased by 14% overall

More nonprofits are implementing an SMS strategy in their operations and are building nonprofit mobile messaging programs. While having a text program may not yet be considered “standard,” it is certainly heading in that direction. The data shows that more and more nonprofits are working to meet supporters where they’re at: their cell phones.

7. Text message click-through rates were 4.2% for fundraising messages and 9.8% for advocacy messages

While the subscription rate for mobile audiences may pale in comparison to email audiences, click-through rates tell us a different story. Mobile click-through rates for both fundraising and advocacy messages are high, often outperforming other digital channels.

Mobile Messaging is a quickly growing area of importance for nonprofit fundraisers and digital professionals. If you’re interested in building a mobile messaging program for your nonprofit, apply to our Early Adopter Program to start using EveryAction Mobile Messaging to reach your supporters instantly and maximize your impact.