21NTC Session

Carpe DM: SMS Acquisition, Growth, and Retention


The average American spends over three hours a day staring at their phone – and, outside of holding the world’s recorded information and all the cat GIFs one could ever dream of, these devices represent a tremendous opportunity to break through the competition and meet your audience where they already are online. 

In this session, you’ll hear from Anne Lewis Strategies and Sandy Hook Promise about how the organization was able to acquire more than 100,000 new SMS subscribers in under two months – subscribers who have shown a response rate 15 times greater than their email counterparts. You’ll learn a variety of ways to acquire these ultra-committed supporters as well as the right content mix and cadence to continue sending to ensure your mission is never left on read.

Session Type

60 minute session

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the benefits of seizing the moment now to put your organization on the leading edge of the SMS channel
  • See how existing channels and user flows can be optimized to acquire new SMS subscribers
  • Develop content strategies to keep newly acquired SMS supporters opening and interacting with your blasts

Target Audience

Marketers and organizations looking to tap into an incredibly valuable audience of supporters


Case StudyMobileStorytellingText/SMS


Aaron Teskey

Vice President

Anne Lewis Strategies

Aaron Teskey, vice president and director of digital advertising and acquisition, leads an ads team that has acquired millions of dedicated supporters and donors for dozens of organizations of all sizes, including some of the largest nonprofits and high-profile political campaigns like Biden For President.

Through his extensive fundraising and analytics experience, Aaron has helped Sandy Hook Promise acquire nearly 6 million supporters and build a multimillion-dollar online digital program from the ground up to support the organization’s mission to protect children from gun violence.

Previously, he developed strategy for and managed the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute’s websites, microsites, social media, email marketing and online advertising. He utilized his technology background to streamline and optimize list growth, online fundraising and marketing efforts using a data-driven approach. Aaron is a summa cum laude graduate of The George Washington University.

Penny Muldoon

Digital Director

Sandy Hook Promise

Penny Muldoon brings nonprofits’ digital aspirations to life through her work envisioning strategies, delivering on ambitious projects and producing creative content. She has expertise in executing online strategies to increase donations, brand awareness and engagement. She has had award-winning success, including Clio, Webby and People’s Choice awards, in driving digital engagement for leading nonprofits.

Penny was an early adopter of SMS as an emerging fundraising tool in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake of 2010 and has been using SMS in campaigns ever since.

Committed to helping children, her nonprofit experience includes Americares, Save the Children and most recently Sandy Hook Promise, where she works to end school shootings and prevent violence.

Duncan Stewart

Digital Strategist

Anne Lewis Strategies

Digital Strategist Duncan Stewart helps develop cross-channel strategy and oversees day-to-day execution for email, SMS, and digital advertising programs for a variety of political and nonprofit clients, including Save the Children, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and Sandy Hook Promise. Duncan graduated from Miami University with a degree in political science.



March 23, 2021


1:00pm – 2:00pm