How To Start Conversations

There is no one size fits all approach to texting alumni and donors. Just as with direct mail, email, phonathon, web sites, and any other form of communication, you should incorporate your school’s unique voice into your text message campaigns. 

And because text message conversations can go in lots of different directions, you’ll want to develop response scripts that will be most appropriate for your unique goals and context. With that said, we know that it helps to get some inspiration. So here’s some scripts for different types of texting campaigns you can use as a starting point.

Texting Tips

When it comes to developing your texts, we’ve got a few general tips: Keep it casual, be true to the medium and avoid formal salutations/last names

  • Keep it casual. Be true to the medium and avoid formal salutations/last names
  • Keep it brief. You can always give more information in replies.
  • Utilize custom fields. They will help you to personalize your messages (ex: pledge amount, graduation year, last gift date, last gift amount, ask amount)
  • Ask a question. It’s the best way to prompt a response and start a conversation!

Below are some sample scripts for various scenarios you may end up texting.

Giving Day

Initial Message

Hi Dave, it’s Emily and I’m a current student at UC. It’s our Giving Day today! Can we count on you to help us reach our goal for the class of 2012?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will give - Great! Thanks so much for your support, Dave! You can make your gift here: LINK
  • No, won't give - No worries, totally understand! If you still want to follow along with updates on how our class does as the day goes on, here’s a link-- LINK
  • Already gave - Oh great, thanks so much, Dave! If you want to stay in the loop on how our class is doing, or share with other friends, here’s the link: LINK. Thanks again!

Athletics Challenge

Initial Message

Hi Kelly, Darrell here from UC and it’s time for our Loyal Tigers Challenge! Can you help us beat the Spartans another year in a row by making a gift?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will give - Thanks, Kelly! You’re awesome! You can make your gift here: LINK. Go Tigers!
  • No, won't give - No worries, totally understand! If you still want to follow along with updates on the challenge and who’s winning, follow UC on Instagram @UCTigers!
  • Already Gave - Oh great, thanks so much, Kelly! Feel free to post about the challenge with the hashtag #LoyalTigers and tag your friends!

Pledge Chaser

Initial Message

Hi Joe, Emily here from UC! Thanks again for pledging $100 during Phonathon! Can I send you a link to complete your gift?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will give - Great! Thanks so much for your support, Joe! Here’s a secure link to make your gift: LINK
  • No, won't give - Thanks for your response, and for chatting with us on the phone! If you change your mind, you can always go online and make your gift here: LINK
  • Already gave - Oh, my apologies on that! I just checked and it looks like your gift hadn’t been processed yet, which is why you got this text, but thanks so much for sending it!

LYBUNTS Ask

Initial Message

Hi Clare, this is Dave from UC! I just wanted to thank you for your gift of $100 made last year on 11/7/17. Can we count on you to renew your support this year?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will give - Great! Thanks so much for your support, Joe! Here’s a secure link to make your gift: LINK
  • No, won't give - Thanks for your response, and for your past support! If you change your mind, you can always go online and make your gift here: LINK
  • Different Amount - Great! Thanks so much for your support, Joe! A gift of any amount makes a huge difference. Here’s a secure link to make your gift: LINK
  • Already gave - Oh, my apologies on that! I just checked and it looks like your gift hadn’t been processed yet, which is why you got this text, but thanks so much for sending it!

Senior Class Gift

Initial Message

Hey Zoe, I’m Emily, a student volunteer for our 2020 Senior Class Gift! Our gift makes the UC experience possible for future Tigers. Can I count you in to donate $20.20?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will give - Amazing, thank you Zoe! Here’s the link to give: LINK. We are super close to reaching our goal, so share with friends who haven’t given if you can!
  • No, won't give - Thanks for the reply, Zoe, I totally understand! A gift of any amount makes UC possible for future Tigers, so if you change your mind, here’s the link: LINK
  • Different Amount - Of course, a gift of any amount has a huge impact on future Tigers! Here’s the link to give!

Update Contact Info

Initial Message

Hi Bob, this is Hillary and I’m a current Student at UC! We are reaching out to alumni from the class of ’95 for updated contact info. Can I send you a link?

Recommended Replies

  • Yes, will update - Great, thanks so much for the response, Bob! Here’s the link to update your information: LINK. Looking forward to staying in touch!
  • No, won't update - Thanks for letting me know! If you change your mind and want to get contacted by UC in the future, here’s the link to update your information: LINK

Other Common Recommended Replies

In addition to solicitation-specific scripts, we recommend creating a few global Recommended Replies to have on hand. Sometimes your alumni and donors will write back with questions unrelated to your campaign, and it helps to be prepared! Here are a few examples:

Recommended Replies

  • Why are you texting me? - Thanks for asking, Bob! We’ve heard from many donors that they prefer to hear from us via text. If you’d rather not receive text messages, just let me know and I’ll take you off our texting list!
  • Where did you get this number? - We got your number from the UC alumni and donor database. If you prefer not to receive texts, let me know and I’ll take you off our texting list!
  • Should I save this number? - Thanks for texting with me! No need to save this number—I’m writing to you as part of my texting program, so this isn’t my personal number. If you have any questions, let me know and someone from the office will follow up with you by phone.

Questions About Current Events/Campus Happenings

In addition to general questions like the ones above, sometimes your constituents might write back with questions about current events happening on campus. Just like with writing a phonathon script, we recommend anticipating these types of questions and having a response ready just in case. If possible, you can include a link to direct them to further information.