It IS legal for non-profits to text alumni and donors
In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission updated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), increasing some restrictions related to sending texts to mobile phones. The TCPA restricts the use of using automated technology to contact consumers by either voice or text. However, non-profit institutions are exempt from these regulations. The CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) website offers a wealth of knowledge regarding the legal considerations that should be taken into account when communicating with alumni and donors.
It’s a matter of can vs. should
While texting alumni is legal, you should still be mindful of your alumni communication preferences in order to maximize your rate of response. People are much more protective of their mobile phones than of their email inbox. Be sure that you are sending at least 3-6 non-fundraising messages over an extended period of time before asking for their financial support.
Do not abandon other channels
Texting is a big part of a successful multi-channel communication and solicitation strategy, but it is only a portion of the equation. Use texting in conjunction with other effective channels such as your alumni newsletter, emails, social media, and phone calls.