A text messaging service for non-profits enables organizations to contact large groups of people simultaneously. It is most often used as a mass texting service for non-profits to advise their members of important issues, engage them in conversation and connect with them via a practically universal channel of communication - SMS text.
Many people will have been exposed to mass SMS text services even if they do not subscribe to a text messaging service for non-profits. Many retail businesses use SMS text messaging to market their goods and services due to 98% of the population having access to a mobile device on which SMS text messages can be received.
SMS text messaging is also considered to be one of the most intimate and immediate channels of communication. People only have to hear the ringtone of an incoming text message to reach for their mobile devices. Consequently, more than 90% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes of receipt.
Practical Uses of Non Profit Text Messaging
There are many examples of how non profit text messaging can be used in order to advise, engage and connect. Local action groups can quickly send text messages to their members warning of inclement weather of its way, to seek opinions on community issues, or to connect with the “Text Generation” when job opportunities exist.
Political parties can often use mass texting to advise voters about forthcoming meetings, cancellations or last minute venue changes. They can seek feedback on proposals, solicit opinions on policies and encourage individuals to become more active in political circles. Non profit text messaging for political parties can also be used to encourage supporters to get out and vote on Election Day.
Non profit text messaging can have spiritual applications too. Faith-based organizations can share inspirational Bible passages with their congregations, request prayers for members of their communities, or use text messaging service for non-profits to reinforce the message delivered in the previous week´s sermon - or prepare their congregations for the following week´s sermon.
How a Text Messaging Service for Non-Profits Works
A text messaging service for non-profits works via an easy-to-use online platform. Organizations wishing to send mass text messages to their members simply register with a text messaging service provider, and the service provider assigns them a username and a password to access the online platform. Once logged in, the user uploads a list of contacts, writes their message, and clicks send.
Within minutes, the organization´s members will be reading the message on their mobile devices with delivery rates and open rates recorded by the platform. The platform also receives replies. One of the purposes of these features is so that, in the event of an emergency, organizations can see who has received their message and who needs to be contacted via an alternative channel of communication.
As mentioned above, there are many other uses for a text messaging service for non-profits in addition to emergency text blasts, and one of the many other useful features of a mass texting service for non-profits is the option to schedule messages in advance. This feature allows organizations to compose their messages when it is most convenient, and then schedule them to be sent when they will have the greatest impact.
Building a Mass Texting Service for Non-Profits
When starting a mass texting service for non-profits, organizations have to build their lists of members from scratch. Because of the potential for spamming and fraud, it is not possible to buy lists of cellphone numbers - members have to be invited to join the non profit text messaging service and then opt in before being able to receive any text messages.
The simplest and most inexpensive way of building a list of members from scratch is through the use of shared short codes and keywords. Shared short codes are basically shortened cellphone numbers that members are asked to send a simple keyword to - for example, text “join” to 313131”. When a contact texts the keyword to the short code, they are added to the organization´s database of members and opted in to receive future text messages.
Keywords can often be included in a subscription package or rented from a text messaging service provider. The service provider can also supply “Click-to-Join” subscriber signup widgets that can be positioned on an organization´s website or Facebook page, or sent in a Tweet to followers. Once the database of members starts to grow, it can be sorted into groups for easier management according to the roles or interests of the organization´s members.
An Example of Group Management in a Mass Texting Service for Schools
There are several benefits associated with effective group management. By sorting a database into groups, organizations can save money by sending text messages to only those people for whom they are relevant. This also reduces the number of members opting out of the text messaging service because they are too frequently receiving text messages that are of no interest to them.
In terms of a mass texting service for schools, the organization´s database can be sorted into students, parents and school employees. Within these groups, sub-groups can be created for students studying different subjects or for school employees in unrelated roles (teachers, administrators, security, etc.). Typically a mass texting service for schools will have mechanisms in place to prevent members that appear in more than one group or sub-group from receiving multiple identical texts.
With this system of group management, schools can remind students of extra-curricular activities, send reports and permission slips to parents, or advise teachers of the next board visit and have a record of who has received and read the message. One of the benefits of a mass texting service for schools is that students can no longer claim they were unaware extra training had been arranged for after their lessons.
Generating Engagement with a Mass Texting Service for Schools
A mass texting service for schools is also a good example of how organizations can generate engagement - particularly among younger members of their communities. Depending on the nature of the organization, multimedia (MMS) messaging can be a great way of generating engagement by sharing pictures, audio and video files. However, for most organizations, polls have the maximum impact.
Polls are simple to construct when using a text messaging service for non-profits. Organizations simply ask a question in the body of the plain text message and request that their members reply with a keyword indicating their preference. For example, a mass texting service for schools could poll its entire membership on whether there should be longer school days and longer holidays, or shorter school days and shorter holidays.
The school´s students, parents and employees could be given the option of texting either “long” or “short” to the shared short code, and the results of the poll would be compiled in the online platform. A poll of this nature would likely attract a high level of engagement and interest from outside media. For many organizations, media and social media coverage and this type of poll would encourage more members to opt into the text messaging service for non-profits.
Running a Text Message Service for Schools and Complying with the Law
A text message service for schools - or indeed any text messaging service for non-profits - has to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. This Act stipulates the regulations for operating a non profit text messaging service to prevent spamming and fraud. It also contains rules for building a database, giving members the ability to opt out of the mass texting service for non-profits, and the frequency and number of messages that are sent.
Even though individual organizations may not be involved in any form of marketing, it is also essential to be familiar with the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct includes guidelines about personal privacy standards that are applicable to a text messaging service for non-profits. The “Code” has been prepared with assistance from Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon in order to avoid the necessity for further regulation of non profit text messaging.
A further set of guidelines for non profit text messaging services has been prepared by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The CTIA is comprised of the telephone companies that carry and deliver SMS text messages. Within their guidelines, the transmission of pornography is prohibited, as are any messages containing profanity or hate speech, and any content endorsing illegal drug use or violence. Although not usually applicable to a text message service for schools, it is recommended that every organization operating a non profit text messaging service review these guidelines.
Free Mass Texting for Non-Profits from EZ Texting
EZ Texting is a text messaging service provider with years of experience in helping organizations build and operate a mass texting service for non-profits. We would like to invite your organization to try free mass texting for non-profits using our “Free and EZ” plan - a plan with no set up costs, no credit card required, and no obligation to upgrade to a higher level of service at any time.
To find out more about what our free mass texting for non-profits offers, do not hesitate to call our team of Client Success Managers. Our Client Success Managers will be happy to answer any questions you have about a mass texting service for non-profits and guide you through the process of setting up an account and accessing the online platform from any Internet-enabled device.
If you are not yet convinced about the merits of non profit text messaging, please take a few minutes to browse through our case studies below. Our case studies illustrate how EZ Texting´s non profit text messaging service has benefitted several very different types of organizations who had very different motives for implementing a text messaging service for non-profits.
Groups Already Using EZ Texting´s Non Profit Text Messaging Service
Viking Cooking Schools
Viking Range Corporation, a leading home appliance company, has a cooking school with 16 locations throughout the U.S. Over 70,000 students, from kids and parents to business professionals, attend the Viking Cooking School each year. Viking Cooking School used EZ Texting to implement a couponing program for current and prospective students.
Students for the National Equality March
Students for the National Equality March collaborated with the NoH8 Campaign, as well as the Service Members Legal Defense Network, to create a "flash protest" opposing the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which denied lesbian and gay Americans the opportunity to serve openly in the U.S. military.
Water is Basic
Water is Basic was founded to empower the local leadership in Southern Sudan to bring clean water to their people. In Southern Sudan, about 70% of the population does not have adequate access to safe water. Water is Basic was created in collaboration with Sudanese leaders and provides them with the equipment they need to drill wells. It is the organization's vision to see a well drilled in every Sudanese village.