To connect with communities when and where it matters most, while raising money for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), Best Buddies was in need of a reliable, customizable, and low-cost channel to boost engagement, grow their community, and quickly hit fundraising goals. Having previously relied on email and social media to communicate with community members and potential donors, Whispir SMS enabled Best Buddies to leverage multiple new opportunities for engagement, including rich messaging, dynamic distribution lists, real-time donation requests, segmented messaging with incentives, and more. See how Whispir SMS helped Best Buddies exceed their goals and create a better experience for their audience.
Better communication is better for everyone
Best Buddies was in search of a better way to reach and incentivize potential donors and meet their aggressive fundraising goals, and keep their community engaged and informed.
Lack of channels
Best Buddies had previously relied on email messaging, which saw very low open rates and did not create the sense of urgency and personalization that they needed.
Speed of engagement
Best Buddies needed a quick method for reaching last-minute fundraising goals while also allowing them to personalize messages based on previous contact data.
One centralized platform
Best Buddies leadership needed an efficient way to support regional charity walks from their headquarters – without being on-location for each event.
Best Buddies wasn’t able to send customized messaging (i.e., from the CEO, local celebrities, etc.) that would resonate with potential donors due to the limitations of email and CTRs.
Best Buddies chose Whispir based on the platform’s ability to better communicate with their audience and confirm that recipients were receiving their messages.
Proven click-through and open rates
Before Whispir, Best Buddies was only able to see deliverability rates, with no way to track physical open rates and click-through rates (CTR). With Whispir’s SMS and smart reporting, Best Buddies is seeing a 6-10% CTR, as opposed to the 1.4- to 1.8% CTR found via traditional email sends.
When it comes to open rates, Best Buddies’ SMS is seeing above industry averages of 90- to 92%. Plus, when part of larger sends of 44,000 - 85,000+ recipients, Best Buddies is seeing CTR rates reach 10%.
Best Buddies needed a way to keep SMS personalized while sending in bulk. With Whispir, they’re able to craft meaningful messaging en masse that speaks directly to each individual recipient and garners higher response rates. How? By automatically leveraging contact details such as name, locale, what Friendship Walk the recipient is attending, and much more.
Plus, Best Buddies can send rich messages that are tailored to their recipient's needs. These SMS messages include a personalized link that takes community members to a unique microsite containing information on local Friendship Walks, event information, fundraising incentives, sign-up pages, on-demand access to the latest promotional videos, interactive event maps, and more.
To date, Whispir SMS only accounts for .3% of Best Buddies’ fundraising total. This allows Best Buddies to send bulk text messaging and meet its goals quicker and easier than ever. This level of ROI has regional walk organizers requesting to throw their funds into text messaging rather than digital marketing.
High volume capabilities
To overcome low open rates and the limitations of email outreach, over the course of four months Best Buddies as an organization was able to send 481,349 text messages via the Whispir platform. Averaging about 100,000 bulk SMS sends per month, this allows Best Buddies to send personalized communications en masse in order to hit aggressive fundraising goals.
Best Buddies’ fundraising teams love the immediacy of SMS, as it allows the organizers to hold last-minute fundraising pushes and leverage engaging sponsorship opportunities. This includes asking potential donors to reach a certain threshold that will be matched by a particular last-second sponsor – a message they can craft and send out instantly to their contact lists.
By adding SMS to their communication’s mix, Best Buddies found a working formula where they utilize social, email, and text just two weeks before the big fundraising event, and without a huge amount of effort, they’re able to hit their fundraising goal. Plus, as SMS reaches audiences quicker and has higher open rates, Best Buddies has also used Whispir to alert Friendship Walk participants of inclement weather so they’re able to reschedule on the fly.
Increase in donations
After raising $3.6 million in 2021, Best Buddies raised $4.68 million by June of 2022, which is an increase of 30% year over year in revenue. In one instance, Best Buddies sent a text message on behalf of a local celebrity, and this helped them raise more than $2,400 in a 4-6 hour period as opposed to the typical $300-400 in the same amount of time.
Additional fundraising efforts
To raise additional funds and boost attendance, Best Buddies was able to send messages to the parents of the children that had registered for one of their walks. The messaging could be customized for different events, asking parents to pledge on behalf of their child and join in on the Friendship Walk, including a link to the donation page within the texts themselves.
More employee engagement
Thanks to the significant year-over-year ROI that Best Buddies is seeing with Whispir SMS, local walk organizers are requesting the use of more and more text message marketing – choosing to divert funds from traditional digital marketing to SMS. This means employees are seeing positive ROI for their efforts and more engagement from contacts.
Best Buddies knew their engagement rates on email and social media wouldn't change unless they adopted a more modern approach to communications. With the ability to engage potential donors via email, social, and SMS, they could reach more people and garner higher click-through rates by ensuring messages were being seen on more channels.
Timely SMS sends often help Best Buddies reach a fundraising goal, but before Whispir, there was no way to see what types of engagement worked, including time of day, day of the week, or audience type. With Whispir, the team can see open rates, track emails, and see the true value of their efforts.
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About Best Buddies
Best Buddies is an international nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that hosts more than 65 walks across the US, including their premiere charity walk – the Best Buddies Friendship Walk. Best Buddies has raised millions of dollars for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).