Flexible SMS dispatch: organizations benefit from universal availability
Charitable organizations need to be well-organized, flexible, and equally effective at maintaining contact with helpers and those they want to help. Like all organizations, they benefit from means of communication that are personal and easy to use. SMS can play a decisive role in meeting these requirements. In particular, the fact that SMS reaches a wide range of social classes and can be received without additional effort makes it a strong partner for organizations of all kinds. In this article we would like to show you in more detail in which cases the SMS dispatch helps NGOs the most.
Simple collection of new contacts
Do you use workshops, conferences and other events to attract interested parties to your cause? A simple and effective way to collect the contact details of all those who would like to be kept informed is to have them write a message to your number. You can then assign the contacts to a group specific to the event thanks to the messages received.
The advantages here are obvious.
You don’t have to put in extra effort and hand out slips of paper to the audience, you simply incorporate the appropriate phone number into your presentation. Since your future recipients will contact you first, you can be sure that your messages are appreciated. However, be sure to still point out to your recipients how they can unsubscribe from your messages.
Also, since they have already written a message to your number, they can save it. This means that they know which number they can expect messages from and that they know they can trust the content of this message. This is an important factor, especially in times of SMS phishing.
Do you want to send SMS to several thousand people at the same time? By connecting to a flexible and scalable SMS gateway, you can also send a very large number of SMS at once without having to worry about reliability.
Organizing volunteer work
Are you planning an event and need to coordinate your volunteers? Especially when it comes to last-minute changes, SMS should be your tool of choice. Unlike many other messengers, with SMS you don’t have to worry about a lack of data protection if you use a reputable and GDPR-compliant SMS gateway.
Moreover, with SMS you reach all volunteers with cell phones equally well, regardless of which operating system is running on their phone and which apps they can or want to install. In short, you can contact all volunteers without any extra effort – even at short notice. With your own inbound number, you can also receive text messages to manage cancellations or change requests.
Reminders of upcoming activities can also be conveniently pre-scheduled via SMS and thus sent at the perfect time. Among other things, this is useful if you want to give away leftover slots for projects in case of no-shows. By the way: The no-show rate decreases rapidly when participants receive an SMS with a reminder in advance.
In addition, due to their personal character, SMS are also suitable for simply saying thank you to your volunteers! With placeholders, you can easily personalize your SMS so that all volunteers are addressed with the correct name.
Due to the personal nature of SMS, short messages are also suitable for attention-grabbing and particularly immersive campaigns. Conceivable here are, for example, personal messages from those affected by your cause, up-to-date information of developments from a current project, or even accompanying text messages in multimedia campaigns that retell entire life stories.
Of course, it is also important here that the recipients are informed in advance that they will receive text messages from you and what kind of content awaits them. Make sure to explain to recipients in the double-opt-in SMS whether they can expect potentially disturbing content, whether it will be possible to interact with the messages, and other details that might be important to your campaign. Keep in mind that these types of campaigns can cause a high degree of immersion, so your recipients may react in ways that you did not see coming. Also, make sure that recipients can unsubscribe from receiving SMS messages at any time.
A possible attention campaign – Short diary entries of a child.
Sharing important information
Sharing certain information is of course important in various situations and use cases. At this point, we distinguish between information that you share via SMS but that is accessible via the Internet (online) and information that you share via SMS because the recipients may not have Internet reception (offline). We also look at an example of how sending out information via SMS has already been used successfully in the field.
Want to share questionnaires, flyers, eBooks, or other resources with your recipients? Add a link to your website in your SMS and let recipients participate in a survey there. Alternatively, use our attachment function to provide your recipients with a direct playback and download option for your files via SMS. This option lets you benefit from multimedia content in a familiar medium. It is also possible to protect the files with a password.
Besides the reminders and marketing messages mentioned above, you can, of course, send other information via SMS. On the side of your supporters this could be an SMS announcing the achievement of a donation goal, on the side of the supporters an SMS could contain dates for the next distribution of donated clothes or donated food. However, another important application example is the sending of SMS in order to announce potentially dangerous situations, for example due to extreme weather, earthquakes or attacks.
In the field
A nice and positive example: In 2014, the non-profit development organization VSO used SMS in an educational campaign. For 20 weeks, teachers at a school in Papua New Guinea received a daily SMS with an English story to cover with their students. This was intended to make it easier for teachers to teach English and for the students to improve their English reading skills, as the participating school lacked access to English teaching materials.
The evaluation of the trial is promising: the reading proficiency of the classes whose teachers had received the SMS was significantly higher than that of the comparison classes at the end of the trial period. Teachers also saw the experiment as positive. They said that the information via SMS had contributed to an improvement in their teaching conditions.
So, as you can see, compact short messages are not only particularly suitable for internal and external communication and for marketing. Some organizations also use SMS for even more specific information campaigns. In the mHealth sector, for example, pre-scheduled SMS are used to remind people of vaccination appointments. In other successful campaigns, SMS were sent to educate recipients about specific diseases or to provide important information on how to have a healthy pregnancy.
In addition, SMS provides a way for people to ask questions about health issues. People in isolated or cut-off areas can thus easily text their organization’s contact person or the responsible doctor straight away, even if they are physically far away.
Flexible SMS messaging – organizations benefit in different ways
Any type of organization can benefit from the use of flexible short messaging. The benefits for NGOs are as varied as the possible areas of application. SMS can reach a wide variety of recipients all over the world and can also be used in a GDPR-compliant manner effortlessly . The personal touch of SMS not only ensures that they are read particularly quickly, but also establishes an extraordinary relationship with the recipients, so that unique marketing campaigns are possible.
SMS is therefore suitable for organizational purposes, but also for marketing messages and for use in the field. Sending SMS messages provides organizations with a flexible and reliable communication channel that they should definitely take advantage of.
Header: iStock.com/SDI Productions, edited colors.