By Emily Rose Patz, Senior Copywriter at DonorPerfect – a top-rated donor management system and fundraising platform for nonprofits.

Text messaging remains a surefire way to get more eyes on your communications. In fact, over 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery. By harnessing the convenience of the mobile phones donors use daily, you can transform your virtual fundraising events into engaging, revenue-boosting opportunities.

Explore the many ways your team can reach all your supporters at once and take full advantage of this powerful nonprofit marketing tool.

1) Promote your virtual fundraising event

Invite guests to your virtual event by sending fun, friendly text messages that spark interest and make it easy for them to register. Be sure you link them to your event registration page and to remind them how important it is for them to participate. For example:

Hey there! Coral Acres Animal Shelter is hosting an online gala March 20. We’d love to see you there!


2) Seek out volunteers

Ask previous fundraising campaign volunteers if they can lend their creative talents and help out with the technology powering your event. Tell them about the ways they can assist your team and provide a link to your volunteer signup. For example:

Hey Lend-a-Paw Volunteer! We’d love it if you could help us with our virtual gala on March 20. Sign up here: [LINK TO VOLUNTEER SIGNUP FORM]

3) Send reminders to guests

Get event registrants hyped before the big day! A day before your virtual fundraising event, remind guests that your event is “just a day away!” On the day of your event, send a text telling them when you plan to go live along with instructions for how to join. For example:

The Coral Acres Virtual Gala is a day away! Look out for your party-from-home kit tomorrow between 8-10am!

Get a sneak peek of auction items: [LINK TO EVENT WEBSITE]

4) Keep guests updated on the unexpected

Last minute changes and glitches can happen! If you need to get the word out about a scheduling change or technical issue, there’s no better way to share the information than with an instant text message. For example:

UPDATE: We’re having some tech issues but will be back online ASAP. For now, enjoy a livestream of our adoptable puppies: [LINK TO SOMETHING THAT PULLS THE HEARTSTRINGS]

5) Offer a text-to-give option

Send a fundraising appeal and donation link to your text message opt-in list once your virtual event begins and let them know your fundraising goal. For attendees not yet opted-in to receive texts, you can create a custom text-to-donate keyword and display it on the bottom of the screen during your event. Text-to-donate enables your attendees to give by phone without having to navigate away from your virtual event page. For example:

1. On-screen at your event:

With your help, we hope to reach our first milestone of $100k which will get us closer to building a vet clinic that will enable us to provide care to animals needing long-term treatment that we simply cannot provide in our current facility.

The first 10 people to donate $25 will earn 25 raffle tickets! To access our donation page:

Text “CORAL” to 501-200-4449

*DEMO: This demo keyword code and phone number are for you to try! They’re powered by DPText. Try it from your mobile phone now!

2. Response when guests text the code:

Thank you for supporting Coral Acres tonight!

Let’s reach our goal of $100k! The first 10 people to donate $25 will earn 25 raffle tickets! Donate here: [LINK TO DONATION FORM]

6) Encourage pledges

Did you know that 49% of pledges are initiated through a text message link? Or that 84% of pledges opened during a fundraising event are fulfilled? It’s safe to say that pledge requests during your virtual nonprofit event are a must! Tell your supporters about the perks of pledging with your organization when you make your ask. For example:

We just hit $5k in 30min!

Special thanks to Helen Miles for her $2,500 pledge, our newest Top Dog!

Learn about our Top Dog major donor perks or make a pledge: [LINK TO DONATION FORM]

7) Gamify your virtual fundraising event

Mobile scavenger hunts via text can make your events that much more memorable, and they’re an excellent way to incentivize guests to take action. Share codes during your event that guests can text to a designated phone number for access to clues. You can even encourage likes, subscribes, and follows on social media by making it part of the game! For Example:

1. On-screen at your event:

The “Where’s Fido” Scavenger Hunt

Here’s how it works:

We’ll give you clues to find 10 specific photos on our social media pages (They could be on our Instagram or our Facebook). And we’ll stand by to see who “likes” all of them first!

Prize: One free pet grooming service from our sponsor, Tip-to-Tail Beauty Salon

How to get started: Text FIDO to 555-555-5555

2. Response when guests text the code:

Welcome to the “Where’s Fido” Scavenger Hunt!

Here’s your first clue: “I came all the way from Greece and met my fur-ever family back in January.”

8) Show your appreciation

Text your guests to thank them for attending. You can also share the exciting success of your event, include a link to a video thank-you, or share a real-time fundraising thermometer.

Thank you for joining us at the Coral Acres Virtual Gala! You helped us raise $102,768!To say thanks and to show you what we’ll do next, we made this video: [LINK TO SITE/VIDEO]

9) Collect guests’ feedback

While virtual fundraising events seem to be here to stay, they require a little trial and error to perfect. Collect instant feedback via text so your guests can help! Create a two or three question event follow-up survey and text it to guests 20 minutes after your event has concluded.

Hi there! What’d you think of the Coral Acres virtual auction? Reply OK to take a quick survey.

Try text message fundraising at your virtual event!

DP Text can power your mobile fundraising campaigns and rally your supporters to take action, whether it’s for your upcoming virtual fundraising event or for virtual volunteering opportunities, texting works!

Thinking about hosting a virtual fundraising event but not sure what to do? We surveyed hundreds of nonprofits who successfully shifted their events online and they shared 25 donor-engaging, money-raising ideas to inspire and encourage you and your team.