Text-Messaging Helps NWF Raise Money, Awareness For Gulf Animal Victims

In June we reported that the National Wildlife Federation had launched a mobile donation campaign to benefit creatures affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Today I’ve heard some of the results of the text-messaging, or SMS, campaign that go beyond raising funds.

While the NWF declined to give exact monetary figures, it has seen a significant increase in year-to-year donations  thanks in part to SMS. The organization saw a 53 percent increase in July 2010 from the previous July, and a 48 percent increase in June 2010 from June 2009, according to Mike Ricci, Vice President of Mobile Solutions for Merkle, the marketing agency that ran NWF’s fund-raising efforts for Gulf animals affected by the April 20 spill. He said that 35 percent of all money raised to help the creatures is due to the “Text WILDLIFE” campaign.

The campaign, in which donors are asked to text the keyword WILDLIFE to the short code 20222, also shows how mobile fits into an overall digital marketing strategy, perhaps driving engagement on other platforms accessible by smart phones. Eighty percent of NWF supporter activity came from new donors opting into an email database. Social marketing techniques drove membership, with a 60 percent increase on the NWF Facebook fan page, from 15,920 on April 30 to 40,206 on August 15; a Facebook cause that has so far raised more than $109,000 with more than 1.2 million page members; and a 40 percent increase in Twitter followers between April 20 and August 15, from 20,234 to 34,000.

It’s still too early to say just how effective text-messaging has been for the NWF fundraiser, which is ongoing. But consider the Red Cross’ SMS campaign, eight months strong, to help victims of last January’s earthquake in Haiti. As we reported a few days ago, the Red Cross said it received donations via SMS from 3 million unique donors, of which 95% were first-time donors; in total, it  helped raise $32 million in relief aid to victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Even if the NWF doesn’t see this kind of money due to SMS alone, text-messaging is an important part of its overall strategy.