There are many scenarios in which schools may need to send important messages, and SMS messaging is a far more reliable method of ensuring the messages are received than email blasts, phone trees and pamphleteering. Furthermore, the technology behind bulk text messaging for schools provides data on message open rates. With this information, schools can use alternate communication channels to contact individuals who have not read a message advising them of an important event.
The Clery Act for Schools and SMS Messaging
One particular scenario in which bulk messaging SMS for schools is particularly effective is compliance with the Clery Act. The Clery Act is a federal statute requiring all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about certain crimes on their respective campuses. Participating institutions are also required to provide timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.
Due to the number of students and employees that carry mobile devices at all times, bulk messaging SMS for schools is the perfect solution for quickly warning large groups of people of imminent danger. The safety of individuals can be assured by monitoring message open rates, security personnel can be coordinated by SMS messaging and concerned parents kept up-to-date with happenings. Importantly, bulk text messaging for schools will continue to work when data networks are overloaded.
Other Uses of Bulk Messaging SMS for Schools
Bulk messaging SMS for schools has many more practical uses that can contribute to their efficient operation. Rather than printing and distributing term dates, exam timetables and details of social activities, students can be sent text messages with all the information at their fingertips. Bulk text messaging for schools can also be used to send students links to where they will find course information, or prompt them to make an appointment with their tutor.
Schools and SMS messaging is a good combination to advertise the dates for future parent/teacher meetings, to ensure that permission slips are received, to request donations, and to inform parents of absenteeism or outstanding fees. Teachers and school administrators can be given notice of future staff meetings via SMS for schools, while individual teachers can use the bulk text messaging service to conduct remote Q&A sessions with their students prior to examinations.
How Bulk Text Messaging for Schools Works
In order to take advantage of bulk messaging SMS for schools, it is necessary to have access to an online bulk messaging platform. Access to a bulk messaging platform can usually be arranged via a service provider who will allocate the school a username and password. Once logged in, the person sending the message simply has to upload a list of recipients, compose their message and click send. Within minutes, the selected recipients will be receiving the message wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
It has already been mentioned above that the platform tracks and reports on analytics such as open rates, and there are many other features of a bulk messaging platform that can increase the impact of each message and encourage engagement. For example, images, video and audio files can be attached to bulk text messages, messages can be personalized with the recipients´ names, or they can include a survey that the recipients are invited to participate in.
Creating Groups within Schools and SMS Messaging
Naturally, it is not necessary for everybody at a school to receive every message. If, for example, if the SMS for schools service is being used to advise football players of the next practice session, it is not necessary to send that message to every student, parent and faculty member. Consequently the facility exists on the bulk messaging platform to divide a database of contacts into groups, and sub-groups within those groups.
This can be done manually or by having students, parents and faculty text a separate keyword to a short code (for example “text ´tutor` to 313131” or “text ´student` to 313131). The platform then automatically sorts the school´s database into groups according to the keyword. Sub-groups, for example students studying different courses, can be created using sub-keywords - extensions of a keyword with a secondary keyword used to distinguish sub-group from sub-group.
For example, students studying politics could text “student politics” to the short code. Students studying philosophy could text “student philosophy” to the short code, and so on. Every student still remains in the main “student” group, and safeguards exist to ensure students in multiple groups do not receive duplicate messages. In this way, students only receive text messages that are relevant to them and schools avoid unnecessary costs.
The Legal Requirements Governing SMS for Schools
There are several legal requirements governing schools and SMS messaging. The most important is that bulk text messaging for schools is a “permission-based” activity. This means that every student, parent and faculty member must opt-in to receive messages from the school. Considering that SMS for schools could save a student´s life or reassure a parent about their child´s well-being, there should be little opposition from anybody about opting into a school´s SMS messaging service.
However, some individuals may have concerns about how their details are managed and the frequency at which they will receive messages. The regulations regarding personal privacy and spam texting are contained within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act - an Act that all schools operating a bulk text messaging service have to comply with. It is also a good idea to be familiar with the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct, which contains many best practices applicable to SMS for schools.
Further requirements for schools and SMS messaging have been compiled by the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA). This organization represents the phone companies that carry and deliver SMS messages, and their guidelines stipulate the content that cannot be contained within text messages or within material attached to text messages. Although it is unlikely that any educational institution would breach these guidelines, it is recommended that schools be familiar with them.
Find out More about Bulk Text Messaging for Schools from EZ TextingEZ Texting is a leading provider of bulk text messaging services, having helped thousands of organizations establish their own messaging services over the past decade. Our team of friendly and experienced Client Success Managers can provide any information you need about group texting for schools or setting up a bulk text messaging account. Our team can also help you with integrating a text messaging alert system with existing in-house software.
If you would like to explore bulk text messaging for schools further, we invite you to try our free SMS for schools service. Although not a suitable permanent solution for larger educational institutions, our free trial provides the opportunity to experience bulk text messaging for schools in your own environment, with no set-up costs, no credit card required, and no obligation to commit to a higher level of service at any time.
Our invitation to try our free SMS for schools service includes access to a fully-enabled bulk messaging platform with full monitoring and reporting capabilities, a demo keyword to invite students, parents and campus employees to join your database, and “Click-to-Join” forms you can place on the school´s website or Facebook page to encourage more people to join your service. Bulk messaging SMS for schools is an effective and inexpensive way of communicating quickly with students, teachers, and faculty employees.