Episode 4 | Does texting effect giving? Why you should do more texting and less emailing

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Join us, hosts Katie Allred and Josh Taylor, as we talk about texting and its effect on giving. Text to give—is it a trend or is it here to stay? In this episode, we discuss the primary benefits and disadvantages of using text to give.

Our friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous. If you Tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too. Did you hear that? Online giving AND a church app—FREE. Just tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need a church app.

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Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications podcast, the podcast that celebrates church communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communication strategy needs, and this podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of ChurchCommunications.com.

Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications podcast. I’m Katie Allred, and as always, I have my friend, Josh Taylor here with me.

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, Katie.

Katie Allred:                 Hey Josh.

Josh Taylor:                  Hey.

Katie Allred:                 How’s it going?

Josh Taylor:                  It’s good. How are you?

Katie Allred:                 I’m okay.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah?

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. Just hanging in, talking about giving.

Josh Taylor:                  Enjoying your summer?

Katie Allred:                 Enjoying my summer, you know? It’s coming to a close way too quickly.

Josh Taylor:                  Yes, it’s going fast.

Katie Allred:                 Which is the worst.

Josh Taylor:                  It is.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, but anyway.

Josh Taylor:                  It’s been busy.

Katie Allred:                 Today, we are talking about texting and giving.

Josh Taylor:                  You just got a text.

Katie Allred:                 Did you just get a text?

Josh Taylor:                  I’ve actually been watching your phone blow up with texts.

Katie Allred:                 The whole time?

Josh Taylor:                  The whole time. It’s …

Katie Allred:                 I’m really sorry.

Josh Taylor:                  It’s just constantly going off.

Katie Allred:                 Really? Do you think … Am I really that popular?

Josh Taylor:                  I don’t know. Either that, or you’re on a bunch of text marketing things, which-

Katie Allred:                 I think it’s email.

Josh Taylor:                  Oh, it might be.

Katie Allred:                 I think I’m getting a ton of email.

Josh Taylor:                  You totally messed up my segway then.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, I mean … Or, yeah, it could be texting. You’re right. What’s your segway?

Josh Taylor:                  So how often people text, check their texts …

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  So texting and the church, using texts in church, I don’t think churches use texting enough. In fact, I would say probably most churches are not using texting at all.

Katie Allred:                 I completely agree. Let’s be honest here, though. I feel like most marketing things, like most companies aren’t using texting to the full advantage that they could be.

Josh Taylor:                  No, absolutely. One, I think we forget that we can do it because we’re so focused on social media, or we’re email marketing, that we forget that we can do text marketing.

Katie Allred:                 Like that texting … Texting’s a whole thing, right?

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 That’s important. We’re going to just jump into some texting statistics, and just how it affects the church. Okay, so the number one stat here is that texting is the most widely used and frequently used app on a smartphone with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. That means 97% of us understand how to use texting.

Josh Taylor:                  My 85 year old grandmother texts me more than she calls me.

Katie Allred:                 That’s awesome.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. So yeah, I believe 97% of people are using texts on their phone.

Katie Allred:                 Right, and then people worldwide send 8.3 trillion text messages in just this year alone. That’s almost 23 billion text messages a day, or 16 million text messages per minute.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 So over six billion text messages are just sent in the US each day.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. Here’s the one that I think matters the most to churches.

Katie Allred:                 Yes.

Josh Taylor:                  Text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate. I think 20% is generous.

Katie Allred:                 Oh yeah, for sure. I think 16% is actually the going rate for a non-profit.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. That matters to us because a lot of people, they’re getting the push notifications and texts on their phone. My wife can go for days without checking her email; but she can’t ignore a text.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  That is a really effective way to get your message in front of people, to get them to at least see it and read a keyword, which means structuring your texts is really important, too, to make them actually want to read it when they open up the notification.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  But that’s a super effective marketing strategy is to use texting. I think most churches are barely using it, if using it at all.

Katie Allred:                 Right. Yeah, and there’s definitely a lot of different ways that you can use it. One of those ways is giving. Just using it as a call to action on your Sunday morning, using … like setting up a keyword for a specific campaign, or even for just general giving, just figuring out ways that you can communicate why text to give even exists, I think is really important.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I think people prefer to text today than talk on the phone. Honestly, for some people, especially with millennials and probably younger, you can text them a welcome.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  They’re totally fine with that. You’re not giving them a phone call. In fact, I usually hate talking on the phone. I would rather text.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  So you could probably just shoot them a text on that Monday and say, ‘Hey thanks so much for visiting us yesterday. Here’s a link to our website,’ and do that instead of an email. I think that’s a great way to invite especially younger new visitors in.

Katie Allred:                 Do you think there’s a way that texts give … or to text your congregation to give that isn’t hokey? That isn’t like just a cheap way of asking people for money?

Josh Taylor:                  I think it depends on the context and depends on what you’re trying to do. For me, I am to the point, let’s get to it. If it were me getting a text, I would just want to say, ‘Hey, if you want to give online quickly and conveniently, here’s the link to do that.’

Katie Allred:                 Well, too, I think setting up a story, right? You can even send a picture in a text message, right?

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, that’s true.

Katie Allred:                 You can easily send pictures now, too, in most texting platforms. You can send a picture and just say, ‘Hey, this week we’re supporting our friends at Light of the Village,’ or whatever ministry you’re supporting. ‘Here’s a picture of the things that … we’re giving 20 backpacks,’ or something like, ‘If you want to help us out, we’d really appreciate it.’ We set this up on Sunday morning. Let’s just remember to be faithful to give this week.

Josh Taylor:                  It’s a great way to increase engagement and investment during the week, and not just happening on your church days, whether that’s Saturday, Sunday, whatever it is.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Want a giving solution that inspires generosity without blowing through your budget? Kindrid is offering a totally free, zero dollar per month online giving account for our Church Communications listeners. That’s right you get online giving for free.

Josh Taylor:                  Look, this is a special offer, so act fast. Go to Kindrid.com/ChurchCommunications to join. That’s K-I-N-D-R-I-D dot com slash Church Communications, and you can join there.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, so Kindrid believes generosity is one of the most powerful witnesses to the gospel. It transforms communities. We believe that, too. That’s why they created this deal. They make it affordable for you to equip 100% of your church to participate in your vision.

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Katie Allred:                 Yeah, we can’t wait. …

Katie Allred:                 Text messages, most of them are read within five seconds.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, that … unless you’re doing a podcast.

Katie Allred:                 Unless you’re doing a podcast, then they might be read like within 10 seconds.

Josh Taylor:                  But yeah, I mean again, it’s a really effective way to get your message in front of people. It’s a really effective way to engage people quickly, to make sure that they at least open it and see whatever you’re wanting to get them to see. On these stats, these stats have been around for a while. For some reason, the church is just not tapped into texting. I mean even push notifications, if you have an app, I think that’s probably the most underutilized feature in an app or online giving platform is push notifications; which is similar to texts.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. They even have this 2012 study found … So 2012, right? So this is kind of old, kind of dated, but it said that the text was the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction out of all other customer communication channels. Texts earned 90 out of 100 points, while phone earned 77 out of 100, and Facebook earned just 66. So being able to text back and forth with your church, I think would be really important for just … I don’t know, congregation satisfaction.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I think so. I think it’s underutilized. Churches need to do more of it, and be conscientious of how you structure. I don’t think they need to be long texts.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  We don’t send texts back and … In fact, we make fun of people when they send us a text that’s super long, and say, ‘Hey, thanks for sending me a biography.’

Katie Allred:                 Right, the book. Yes.

Josh Taylor:                  They need to be to the point. They need to be quick. We use texting for convenience. We use texting for quick responses, and so consider that as you utilize your texting; but find a software that does texting really well, and start utilizing it in your church.

Katie Allred:                 Have you ever texted with a company?

Josh Taylor:                  Yes, I have.

Katie Allred:                 Okay.

Josh Taylor:                  Usually it’s some sort of a survey.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, usually a survey.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Like they’re asking you to do a survey?

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, they’re asking me to do a survey, and [crosstalk 00:08:57] it’s usually like a why or and, yes or no. You just text back a letter, and they send you another question, you text back ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Katie Allred:                 I have texted with a customer support before through [Chocko 00:09:11]. That was a really interesting … I have never once chatted with support via text message before. I’ve done it through the online things, right? They have the chat bubble or whatever. Well, they emailed me back and they were like, ‘text this number,’ which I thought was funny. Instead of emailing you back and forth, they were like, ‘text us, and we’ll connect you with a support rep.’

Katie Allred:                 So I texted them, and I was like, “This is what’s going on with my shoe.”

Katie Allred:                 They were like, “Send me a picture.” So I sent them a picture. It was like a normal texting conversation, like with a person.

Josh Taylor:                  Actually, yes, I have done that with one, because I had a customer … I had a order that was messed up.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  I had sent them a screenshot, or took a picture of it, and texted it to them. So yeah, I have done that before. It was super convenient.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, yeah, yeah; then at the end, they were like, “And fill out this form, whatever, here you go.” That was it. The end, and whatever. I was like wow, that was so much more personable, I felt like, though it was exactly the same process that they had before.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 It wasn’t like … We’ve all chatted with chat support or a ticketing system online. It’s not like it’s any different. However, it felt more personal because I was doing it on my phone, for some reason.

Josh Taylor:                  I think for most churches, we’re going to be using text to one, to send out online giving opportunity or to remind them about an event that’s coming up. We’re probably not going to be too engaged in back and forth texting with that.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  If you do get into that, you need to be careful with it because even for me, I hate having long conversations through texts because often times, you don’t have the tone of the person, which makes a big difference.

Katie Allred:                 Right.

Josh Taylor:                  So sometimes you might be getting into deep spiritual conversations with people, and doing that over texts, can sometimes be dangerous because obviously tone and all that context matters, so you need to be able to hear the tone of people’s voices, too.

Katie Allred:                 I think it’s a great place, you can at least start the conversation.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 You can ask for prayer requests. I think that’s always really helpful is to ask for prayer requests. There’s a church locally here in town that does that weekly. I always appreciate the fact that they’re at least caring to ask.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 Two, if you want to look at a group or a company that’s doing texting weekly really well. You might send out an email newsletter every week. I think email newsletters are fine, but I think the text newsletter might be the next thing, right?

Josh Taylor:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katie Allred:                 I think a company that does it really well is actually a local company here in Mobile. It’s the Mobile Run Down.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 They send a text out every week, and it’s just … It’s a short text that says, … I think it said like, ‘Fourth of July this week. Got plans?’ Then it had a link over to their main webpage that has all the list of events. You could easily do the same thing for your church. You don’t have to always put together this whole graphic. You can send them over to your website that’s already done, or even at the University of Mobile, they had a weekly run down that was just a … They just made like a Microsoft Word document that had a list of all the dates and events of things that were going on, on campus. It doesn’t have to be. I think we over-complicate things when we’re communicating things to our congregation. I don’t think it has to be that complicated.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, I would encourage you, if you have text to give capabilities, or texting capabilities through your church, maybe a software or online giving portal that you use, in the next two weeks, send out a text with your newsletter; so maybe your upcoming events, or reminding people about something that’s coming up, and see one, what’s the open rate of that? How much more successful it is. I’d be interested to know what that is, and if you’re using texting already, let us know how it’s going for you versus email, or some other method that you use to communicate, and let us know how successful you’ve been, and how … what are the creative ways that you use texting for your church? Start this week, or maybe in the next two weeks. Send out a newsletter just with your top three biggest events letting people know about them, and see what the response that you get is.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  Cool.

Katie Allred:                 Cool.

Josh Taylor:                  So start using texting. It’s underutilized, and I think it will make a big difference almost immediately in the response that you get from folks.

Katie Allred:                 Thank you for joining us today. You can find us on ChurchCommunications.com. Find us on our Facebook page, our group. You can give us a five star review on iTunes if you’re feeling really nice today. We appreciate you just joining us. So thank you.

Katie Allred:                 Our friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous. If you tweet @_Kindrid. Again, that is @ underscore K-I-N-D-R-I-D, _Kindrid, and tell them why you need a church chat, they’ll make sure you get one of those, too, for free. Okay, did you hear that? Online giving and a church chat for free. Just tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need church chat. Go and do it now. What are you waiting for?

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, thanks for listening to the Church Communications podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, ChurchCommunications.com. You can also join us on our Facebook group, just search for Church Communications on Facebook. We would love for you to leave a five star review on iTunes.


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