Case Study

Mal Warwick Donordigital & Student Conservation Association

Fundraising — the quintessential numbers game. But with ThruText, a fundraiser and a nonprofit got more than just numbers. Read on to find out how they saw historic ROI on a matchback campaign.


The subject of fundraising provokes one of two responses in people: the urge to run from it, or the urge to run to it. It is a necessary combination of art and science that Mal Warwick Donordigital has masterfully wielded for their clients since 1979. During that time, the channels for fundraising have evolved beyond the occasional mailer and special event. Now, successful fundraising is a multichannel effort that, when done right, includes a strong peer-to-peer texting component that complements and supports other channels.

The Campaign
& Goal

MWD and Student Conservation Association worked together on the Association’s annual cornerstone campaign to raise money from its alumni and supporters alike, with a goal of raising $100,000. The campaign took place over the summer and integrated direct mail appeals with email, organic social media, digital advertising, promotion through SCA’s website, and of course, peer-to-peer texting using ThruText. This campaign had all of the elements that were likely to make it a success. Texting took place during the final week, where previously the audience had already received two direct mailers, digital advertising, organic social media posts, and email. The texting campaign contained an exclusive offer to increase the previous match from 2X to 3X the donor’s gift.

This strategy is a critical part of success in fundraising and aligns with MWD’s philosophy that a multichannel approach means that people understand that an organization is talking to the same person in multiple places, and providing coherent messaging across multiple channels. When messaging is consistent and deployed across multiple channels, the audience is given the opportunity to engage and respond in their own preferred way.

So, how did the audience respond?


Part of the campaign was offering a triple matchback through digital donation efforts, so MWD & SCA tracked giving and response rates across segmented audiences. They measured gift amount, response rates, and number and types of channels. Some powerful takeaways emerged:

  • Response rates across all channels of giving increase when additional channels are utilized
  • Many donors will cross channels to give
  • Peer-to-peer texting with ThruText had the highest ROI of any channel

While the metrics across the campaign were generally very healthy and included some of the highest response rates MWD had seen that year, the most impressive metric of all was the return on investment for Student Conservation Association — 605% ROI on peer-to-peer texting.

There's more to this story than just the ROI itself though, which is heartening for fundraisers looking to understand the how and why.

Audiences were grouped by contacts who had received all combinations of communications along with text messages, and audiences who had received all combinations except for text messages. The audience groups who had received both a direct mailer and a text generated 2.5X more revenue per contact compared to the audience group who had received just the mailer. And the audience who received the direct mailer, email and text generated 3.6X more revenue per contact than the audience who received direct mail and email alone.

While the audience that received the direct mailer, email and text message from ThruText were the smallest in size, they had the highest average of revenue per contact.

Texting with ThruText makes a difference in fundraising.

Not only is P2P texting an easy, accessible, and instant method of communication with target audiences, it’s also a channel with one of the lowest startup and operating costs compared to other forms of communications or marketing.


For those who have some trepidation about reaching people where they spend the most time — their phones — Kate Sienicki Mucci of Mal Warwick Donordigital has this wisdom to share: “It’s low risk, easy to test, and the people you’re contacting are already part of your donor base. Try to contact them in different ways and see what sticks. It can feel strange to want to text someone but you’re already reaching out to them, this isn’t any more invasive than that.”

Of course, Kate’s wisdom is backed up with data. Not only were response rates higher amongst donors who had been contracted via multiple channels, many of those same donors crossed channels to donate.

This tracks with many of our personal narratives of giving as well. Consider receiving an email in your inbox asking for a contribution to a giving campaign. It’s highly likely one might file that information away mentally, mark as read, and move on with one’s day. Later in the evening while doing some online shopping or social media browsing, it’s not an uncommon occurrence to see a digital ad for the same organization that emailed the very same morning — a nice reminder that a silent promise to give at some point was made before marking that email as read. The next day, one might receive a text from the same organization with a link to donate. If donating was always the intention and access is key, it stands to reason that the previous methods of communication raised awareness, made a compelling case, and followed up with a 30-second way to follow through. It’s not intrusive; it’s a keen understanding of how best to reach people, and how to make it easy to take meaningful action.

If you’re ready to take your fundraising efforts to the next level, we’d love to help. Drop us a line anytime, learn more about us, or see our tools in action.

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