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Engagement Texting for Education: A Best Practices Guide

Texting is more than a great tool for fundraising — mixing in engagement texts periodically is a great way to enrich your school's texting program. Read on for our best practices to get started!

Christian Perry

Sales Manager - Education & Nonprofit


While texting is a great tool for educational institutions to use for fundraising, recruitment, and important events, using engagement techniques can supercharge your program and build stronger relationships with students and alumni. Read on for our guide to engagement texting done right.

  • Increases response rates across key segments. The average ThruText response rate falls between 20-30% across all types of campaigns, but for solicitation texts the response rate range is between 10-20%. Increased response rates from engagement texts will result in more interactions with contacts who’ve never donated, and foster ongoing communication with a larger, more engaged audience. 
  • Establishes rapport beyond transactions. Engagement texting campaigns keep your interactions fresh, and help cultivate deeper relationships with your contacts regardless of the date of their last donation. It also generates more touchpoints with your audience throughout the calendar year, which will help keep your organization top of mind. 
  • Provides an additional opportunity for data collection. Each texting campaign is an opportunity to learn more about your audiences, especially engagement texts. Be sure to prompt engagement by ending your initial texts with a clear call to action, and set up survey questions beforehand to track relevant data during the exchanges. Pro tip: use engagement messaging to ask your donors for feedback about what’s most important to them.

Engagement Texting Use Cases

There are tons of places engagement texting might fit into your Fall outreach plans - here are a few texting ideas that will take you from the beginning of fall semester all the way through calendar year-end. 

If you’d like a quick refresher on the basics of setting up texting campaigns, please refer to our help center guides linked here

Events: Back to School Engagement/Homecoming Update

Initial Message: Hi Roberta, Christian here from your alma mater! I’m reaching out to give a heads up that we’ll be offering both virtual and in-person Homecoming Events this fall. Can I send you a link with more information?

Recommended Replies:

  • Yes, I’m interested - Awesome! Looking forward to having you join. Here’s the link to register: LINK
  • No, I’m not interested - No worries, totally understand! If you change your mind and would like to attend online or in-person, here’s the link to register: LINK
  • Already registered - Great, thanks so much, Roberta! Looking forward to having you join us. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
  • I have questions about COVID safety protocols - Totally understand and appreciate you asking! Here’s a link with more information about safety protocols: LINK


Events: Day-Of Concierge

Initial Message: Hi Stacy, Christian here from the great Class of 2011! Happy to have you join our tailgate event today. Our team will be on-site to help answer any questions you may have once you arrive, feel free to reach out via text with those. :)

Recommended Replies: 

  • Thanks, will do - Awesome! Safe travels, we’ll be here if anything comes up.
  • No, I won’t be attending - No worries, totally understand! If you still want to connect with fellow classmates, we’ll be having a virtual meet-up at this link: LINK
  • Asked for directions/parking: Totally! You can find detailed directions, as well as information regarding parking, here: LINK


Stewardship: Thank You/Impact Story

Initial Message: Hi Mark, Christian checking in from your Alma Mater. Thank you again for your generous donation last spring! Would you like to learn more about the impact of your donation? 

Recommended Replies:

  • Yes, I’d love to learn more - Great! Your support really made a difference. Here’s a brief article about the work we did thanks to donations like yours: LINK
  • No, I’m not interested - No worries, totally understand! If you change your mind, check out this article detailing the impact of last spring’s donations: LINK
  • Already read the article - Glad to hear that, thanks Mark! Again we really appreciate your support. Stay tuned for more impact stories on our website: LINK


Informal Surveys: Asking for Donor and Alumni Feedback

Initial Message: Hi Kevin, it’s Christian from your Alma Mater’s annual giving team. We really appreciate your past support, and would love to get your feedback on which initiatives are most important to you. Would you say you’re most interested in: financial aid, faculty resources, or something else?

Recommended Replies:

  • Financial Aid - Thanks for sharing! 30% of our funds raised last year supported students on financial aid, and we’re committed to offering a record amount of tuition assistance this year. Check out our annual report for more information on the programs we support: LINK
  • Faculty Resources and Development - Thanks for the reply! Our faculty and staff are very appreciative of your continued support. For more information on our contributions faculty resources, read our annual report here: LINK
  • Other - That’s great to hear! [Initiative] is very important to our team as well, and we’ve seen donations have a lasting impact there. Be sure to read our annual report for more information on the programs we support: LINK


Getting Organized 

Here's a sample outreach plan, which includes both engagement and solicitation messaging that you can use for inspiration when creating your communications strategy this fall! 




You can learn more and schedule a ThruText demo by visiting getthru.io/get-started. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at education@getthru.io


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christian Perry

Christian has worked across the nonprofit sector, and cares deeply about the issues of education inequality and arts advocacy. He is thrilled to bring that experience to his work with GetThru's education and nonprofit clients. In his free time, Christian enjoys getting outdoors, producing music, and rooting for his hometown DC sports teams.

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