Maintaining An Honest SMS Program

There’s a reason campaigns are texting you so much right now: texting programs raise money! But at what cost?

In case you need a reason to avoid sending spammy and scammy text messages, here are three:

1) Fear is motivating, but so are anger and frustration and joy and enthusiasm, and the feeling of belonging. When you tap into the same emotion over and over, your audience becomes numb to it. Instead of scaring people, your text program has the potential to build lasting, powerful relationships.

2) Bad texting practices are an existential threat to texting as an effective channel. If you’re anything like me, your phone inbox is filled with unsolicited, ineffective, and non-compliant messages right now. Donors and supporters are starting to tune them out, and that’s bad news for campaigns and organizations that rely on texting to bring in grassroots dollars. On the flip side, when you send engaging, compliant messages, you’re not only helping your own organization — you’re reinforcing texting as a useful tool for the long run.

3) The consequences of using bad tactics are dire. Our phones are an extension of our bodies, and the reality is that texting feels really personal, even invasive. When your texting program is a nuisance, in a best-case scenario, you run the risk of alienating one-time supporters once and for all. In worse cases, especially if your program runs afoul of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or CTIA requirements, you could be facing debilitatingly large fines (potentially thousands of dollars PER PHONE contacted) or a full program shutdown (see: the Trump campaign, whose spam-laden SMS program was fully shut down by mobile carriers in the summer of 2020).

There are thousands of ways to use texting to enhance your supporter outreach. I strongly recommend choosing to use the tactic with long-term movement building in mind. Need help running an ethical SMS campaign that gets results? Book a free strategy call with us today.