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Catholic Answers Increases Text Subscribers and Conversion Rates With Classy and Rally Corp

Mission

To serve Christ by explaining and defending the Catholic faith

Challenge

Find a new medium to interact with donors and keep them engaged throughout the year

Solution

Leverage Classy’s seamless integration with Rally Corp’s text-to-donate solution to communicate with supporters, meet them where they are, and grow individual giving

A whole world opened up because Classy’s capabilities were far above and beyond anything that our previous tool offered.

– Dave Matheson, Director of Development

Text-to-Donate Results:

519

active text subscribers

15

proactive texts sent during the year

80%+

conversion rate

Catholic Answers is a media ministry and the world’s largest database of reliable information about the Catholic Church’s doctrine, tradition, and beliefs.

Finding The Right Tech Solutions

Catholic Answers was previously using an all-in-one fundraising solution but felt it wasn’t meeting their needs anymore. In 2018, the team made the decision to find a more effective platform to optimize online fundraising, which has become a bigger piece of the puzzle year after year. Classy’s robust integration with Salesforce and Double The Donation was an additional benefit, so Catholic Answers quickly made the switch. 

In 2020, the team was interested in learning more about text-to-donate after seeing how impactful it was for other nonprofits. Rally Corp, a human-centered text messaging solution for nonprofits and trusted Classy partners was the perfect fit for integrating all subscriber and supporter data directly with Classy.

Reaching Donors Where They Are With Text-to-Donate 

After turning on Classy’s integration with Rally Corp, the next step was to grow the organization’s subscriber list.  The Catholic Answers team recognized that their supporters were looking for faster ways to donate, so they started promoting the new program during their radio show on the Catholic Radio Network, at conferences, and on social media, slowly but surely building a strong subscriber base. 

This new channel for giving makes it easy for a supporter to make a donation. They simply text CATHOLIC to 24365 and immediately receive an autoresponse with a link to a Classy donation website where they can then make a donation.

Text-to-Donate Example Flow

It was important for Catholic Answers to ensure the text-to-donate channel wasn’t just a means of solicitation. To engage supporters beyond a financial ask, the team also sent information about upcoming events or well wishes during holidays. They’ve even received texts back, thank yous, and emoji responses from subscribers.

Supporters have expressed appreciation for the fact that we interact with them via text in ways other than simply letting them know of an opportunity to give.

Dave Matheson

Director of Development

By providing a more meaningful, relationship-centered texting strategy, Catholic Answers has seen an 80%+ conversion rate from text-to-donate. 

Testing Texting on Giving Tuesday

Catholic Answers began testing proactive outreach to their established list of subscribers during Giving Tuesday 2020. Similar to the way consumers expect to receive several touchpoints from brands on Black Friday, donors also expect the same level of communication from nonprofits on Giving Tuesday. Therefore, Catholic Answers took advantage of this perfect testing opportunity and sent out a text to their subscriber list, offering a brand-new way to give.

The autoresponse linked to a Classy crowdfunding website where supporters could make a donation. Thanks to the generosity of their supporters and a large matching gift, Catholic Answers’ first Giving Tuesday with text-to-donate raised 123% of its goal

Biggest Texting Solicitation During Quarterly Radio Drive 

Every quarter, Catholic Answers hosts a radio fundraising drive that takes place over the course of three days for two hours per day. Supporters can go to catholicanswersradio.com or call in and the Catholic Answers staff will process the donation through Classy. The radio drive is the organization’s most intensive use of text-to-donate throughout the year.

There’s a lot of traffic during our radio drives, and on a lesser platform than Classy, it would put a lot of stress. We can’t afford for the platform to be down at any point and Classy is robust enough to handle that traffic.

Dave Matheson

Director of Development

In May 2022, Catholic Answers started utilizing Classy source codes to effectively track donor behavior and identify whether or not the in-app notifications and text-to-donate messages resulted in donations, thus justifying the outreach. 

The source codes showed that 60% of donors who responded to either a text or in-app notification initiated a recurring donation, compared to a typical average of 40% of total donors to a radio drive initiating a recurring donation.

Refining Giving and Texting Strategies

Looking ahead, the Catholic Answers team is hyper-focusing on broadening its reach, targeting supporters more effectively, refining messaging, and making giving easier and more efficient across all channels with Classy.

When it comes to texting, the strategy is expanding as well. In the future, they want to find a way to utilize geolocation to engage with supporters and meet them where they are, such as reaching out to locals when a Catholic Answers speaker is giving a talk at a parish or conference in their area. 

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