This article covers the purposes and use of the SMS (Short Message Service) module in Get Connected. To ensure that you understand all that is involved in using the module, please read this information closely. Should you decide to add the module to your site, contact us here with your request.
SMS, or Short Message Service, is a way of communicating with a group of people through text messaging. Get Connected administrators can use SMS to make important announcements regarding upcoming events, emergency needs, final updates and reminders, and other items of interest to the community. The process of sending a text message from Get Connected is similar to that of sending an email blast--only your message goes straight to the recipient's phone.
This article covers the following topics:
- Purchasing credits
- Validating mobile numbers
- Creating and sending an SMS message
- Viewing SMS statistics
- Exporting SMS data
- Contact us
There two primary tasks to complete in order to get SMS up and running on your Get Connected Site. First, you must purchase credits; after that, you'll need to validate your volunteers' mobile numbers.
Purchases must be made using a credit card. We accept all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club.
To purchase SMS credits:
- From your site manager panel, click the Communication tab and select SMS.
- Click Purchase Text Credits.
- Enter the required information, including the number of credits you wish to purchase.
Note: Credits are available for purchase at $100 per 10,000 units (messages), with a minimum purchase of $100.
When you select the number of credits to purchase, the amount on the Pay Now button is adjusted accordingly.
- Click the Pay Now button to complete your purchase.
Once you have completed your purchase, your number of credits will appear on the dashboard.
Note: Purchases are processed with securely with Stripe.
Now that you've purchased SMS credits for your site, it's time to make sure your volunteers are ready to receive your Get Connected text messages!
Important: Because many individual plans charge per text message received, we strongly recommend that you allow your volunteers to opt-in to SMS messaging.
The best way to alert existing users of the new system is to send an email blast telling users to (1) go to their profile, (2) add their mobile phone number, and (3) validate the number.
A new user who provides a mobile number when signing up for the site will automatically receive a validation code upon joining the site.
If you're familiar with our email blast tool, then creating an SMS will be old hat for you.
To create an SMS message in Get Connected:
- From your manager panel, click the Communication tab and select SMS.
- Filter your recipient list as you would for an email blast.
Notes: The filter User Data > SMS > is > A Validated SMS User is applied by default.
To view the users selected, click the Total Recipients Selected number.
- (optional) To create a specific list that you can use again, name the list and click Save Recipient List. In the future, you will have the option of choosing this list.
- Type your message into the Create Message Body field.
Notes: Maximum length is 160 characters. URLs are automatically converted to clickable links.
- Click Send Message Now to send the message.
When the message appears in a recipient's mobile phone, it will be accompanied by a six-digit "return" phone number. This number is determined by the system and cannot be changed. Responses to this number will not be processed, so you may want to provide an alternate response number or email address if you are expecting recipients to reply.
The Outgoing History tab provides the following information about each text message that has been sent in Get Connected:
- ID number - This number is automatically assigned.
- Title - This is the title that you provide. To search messages by title, enter all or part of the title in the blank field at the top of this column and press Enter.
In the above example, the site manager has run a search on all messages that include the word "volunteer."
- Sender - To search messages by sender, enter all or part of the sender's name in the blank field at the top of this column and press Enter.
- Recipient - To search message by recipient, enter all or part of the recipient's name in the blank field at the top of this column and press Enter.
- Date sent - Both date and time of day are shown.
- Group - All text messages sent in a batch are part of a specific group. Text messages in the same group will have the same title, sender, and date sent.
- Status - Delivery status of the message.
To view statistics by date range, select a start and end date from the Date Start and Date End fields, respectively. Click Go to apply the fields.
Note: The default date range is one month, ending with the current date.
As mentioned previously, you can search statistics by message title, sender name, and recipient name. To search by more than one criterion (for example, by both sender name and recipient name), enter the search terms in the applicable fields and click the Search button, located at the top of the Status column.
In the example below, the admin is searching for all messages that have "Doug" as the sender and "Elisabeth" as the recipient.
Viewing Statistics by User
SMS statistics can also be viewed from an individual user's account. To view those statistics, go to the user's account information page and click the Sent Texts tab.
To export the results of a search of SMS messages, click the Exports Results link above the data table.
Results are exported into a .csv file that can be opened with Microsoft Excel.
Ready to have the SMS module added to your site? Click here to send us your request, and one of our galactic support agents will be in touch with you soon!