Christmas should be appeal heaven for nonprofits

Between the people who want to give and the people you want to help, Christmas should be appeal heaven. Seasonal periods are also an opportunity to refill the coffers through seasonal asks or gifting campaigns. Except it sometimes feels like you’re fighting a cage-match of competition, with the prize being donors generosity and attention. The fact of the matter is that 77% of charities are starting their Christmas appeals over November-December and there aren’t enough donors to go around to support fundraising targets.

EDM, direct mail, call centres, and social media will still deliver good results, but too often it’s the same one-way message in many formats which lead to ‘donor fatigue’. Lets us not forget we are targeting comms to humans with limited attention spans and capacity to absorb information. 85% of people want to say something back when an organisation talks to them. However, traditional channels mean they won’t even hear you in the first place! Smart NFP’s are making use of uncluttered channels like chat and SMS. SMS has had a bit of a renaissance lately, getting almost triple the open rate email does, at 94%, which makes sense when you think about how easy it is to check and respond to texts.

Artificial Intelligence is Key

But just leveraging SMS to deliver campaign comms isn’t enough. On average, conversion rates rise by 19% when you use personalisation. Donors don’t like feeling marketed to, they want to be treated as real people, they want to be thanked, and they often need conversation. Trying to talk to everyone requires automation but talking to a robot is the exact opposite of what donors want – unless the robot can learn and speak like a person. The need for automated, yet personalised marketing is driving the recent surge in popularity of AI backed marketing and technology (martech) platforms in marketing departments. Whether it’s creating the content, segmenting contacts, or directly handling communications, AI is key to simplifying business processes.

We’ve been working hard at RunGopher to deliver a fresh and unique platform that integrates AI and natural language processing with automated SMS, allowing non-profits to automate thousands of conversations without losing the personal touch. This new breed of conversational SMS drives growth outcomes such as lead capture, lead nurture, call scheduling, web traffic campaigns, expired credit card alerts, web promotions, NPS surveys… the Gopher is a very clever bot!

Out-of-the-box conversations include online donations, volunteer acquisition, meeting scheduling, volunteer retention, donor welcomes, dormant list engagement, donation upgrades, and much, much more. Plus, marketers can combine conversations to create nuanced Journeys based on trigger events and can use CRM and API integrations to build fully automated SMS funnels which complements and enhancements the results of parallel channels in the donor journey!

Results for UNHCR and Oxfam

The Gopher’s SMS conversations create synergy. UNHCR finding their email click-through rate doubled, and overall conversion rate trebled, when they added RunGopher to their marketing channels.

In fact, UNHCR’s Rohingya crisis appeal using RunGopher’s Donation conversation (which includes a tracked weblink with a branded URL) contacted 130 000 people – and delivered ROI of $2.22!

And how about Oxfam? Their trailwalker event needed volunteers, and they had databases full of phone numbers. RunGopher’s Tell a Friend conversation helped them reach out to existing volunteers to bring in friends and got them around 350 new volunteers. In fact, Oxfam tested their sales team against the Gopher… The Gopher delivered 3 times the registrations at a quarter of the cost!

Watch an explainer video, learn about the Journey, or check us out here.


RunGopher automates SMS conversations using AI to create natural interactions which engage customers and simplify marketing. They offer a variety of out-of-the-box conversation templates, specifically designed to welcome donors, re-engage volunteers, collect online donations, and much, much more. Chat to them today by emailing or visit their website