Getting Started with Optional Text Messaging
Note: The Broadcast News and Text Messaging features are not available during the Free-Trial period.
Follow these 4 simple steps and you’ll get your Texting Plan up and running in no time. Only Administrators can send bulk text messages to your entire directory or to groups within your directory.
The 4 steps to being on your way to sending your first text:
- Add a Text Message Plan
- Set up your Unique Text Message Name
- Set up your Contact List
- Send A Text Message
Step 1. Add a Texting Plan
You can add a texting plan to your account by going to Step 8 - Broadcast News or under the My Account menu and scrolling down to Add or Change Text Message Plan.
To add a plan, select the approximate size of your church and how often you will be sending out a text message. These plans are simply estimates and you will not be charged hidden overage fees if you are over by 1 member or accidentally send an extra text.
Our pricing for text messaging plans is as follows:
If your church has around 200 members or less:
$3.99 a month for 1 text message blast a month
$15.99 a month for 1 text message blast a week
$119.99 a month for 1 text message blast a day
If your church has around 201-1,000 members:
$13.99 a month for 1 text message blast a month
$55.99 a month for 1 text message blast a week
$419.99 a month for 1 text message blast a day
Step 2. Set you your Unique Text Message Name
This unique name will be added to the beginning of every text message to help your members identify where the text is coming from.
We recommend a concise name of less than 10 - 15 characters because all text messages are limited to only 140 characters. The more characters you use for your name, the less space you have to write your actual text message.
If you choose a name such as "FIRSTCHURCH" here is an example of the welcome message your members will receive:
Welcome to FIRSTCHURCH Alerts. 1 text blast per month. Reply STOP to cancel. Call 1-800-992-2144 for support. Msg&data rates may apply.
Step 3. Set up your Contact List under Family Members Details
The contact lists for Text Messaging are created from the phone numbers entered within the Individual Family Member's Details (not the family record).
In order for an individual’s phone number to appear on this list, the “Allow Text Message” option must be selected for each family member with a cell phone.
To add a phone number, click on the family you wish to edit under Step 1 - Families, then click on the Adult / Parent or Child listed in yellow. This will bring up the Edit Family Members Details page. Enter the phone number and check the box to "Allow Text Message"
Group lists include the phone numbers of the individual (not family) members belonging to that particular group. If you have a group selected for a family, all individual family member phone numbers (who have “Allow Text Messages” selected), included on the family record will receive the Text Message. If you have a group selected for a single individual, only that phone number associated on the individual family record will receive your text message
NOTE: We are not able to send text messages using Broadcast News to phone numbers on the family record.
NOTE: We are not able to send text messages using Broadcast News to non-US phone numbers (such as Canadian).
Step 4. Send a Text Message
After you have set up your plan and name, you are now ready to rock and roll! Go to Step 8 - Broadcast News and begin typing in your first text message you wish to send to your members.
Keep in mind, when you send your first text message, a welcome message will also be sent to each recipient to let them know they have been opted in to receive text messages from your organization. The welcome message will include Help and Opt Out instructions. A recipient can reply STOP at any point to stop receiving text messages.
After you have completed your message, you can then choose to send a test message to yourself to be sure everything is A-Okay.
If you're happy with your text message, select "Select Contacts & Send". Here you can choose to send to your entire directory or choose one or more groups to send to.
Scheduling a text message will delay the delivery of a text message to when you think more members will be available to read. Evenings are often the best time to remind members, so this feature is super handy to be able to schedule a text in advance while you're in the church office. Just be careful, it's not very easy to cancel a text message when scheduled.
Send now will send the text message out immediately.
That's it! Unless of course, someone complains that they aren't receiving the text message blasts. If that happens, head on over to "Troubleshooting Text Message Issues" to help your members not miss a single text.