Getting Started with Optional Text Messaging
Note: The Broadcast News and Text Messaging features are not available during the Free-Trial period.
Text messaging has never been easier — no more monthly plans — now you can purchase text messaging credits to send text messages to your members, as you go, and when you need them.
Text messages sent thru Broadcast News are a one-way communication tool. Members will not be able to "reply" to your messages.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to text messaging in no time. Only Directory Administrators can send text messaging through Broadcast News.
The 4 steps to being on your way to sending your first text:
- Purchase text messaging credits.
- Complete your text messaging settings.
- Set up your Contact List.
- Send a Text Message.
Step 1. Purchase text messaging credits.
To purchase text credits, you'll need to visit the MY ACCOUNT page, then go to Text Message Credits.
Select the text credits you wish to purchase and complete the information on the screen, including your payment information, and then click Buy Credits.
Step 2. Complete your text message settings.
Under Text Message Settings, enter a custom name so that those who receive a text message will know who it is from. We recommend a concise name of less than 10–15 characters because all text messages are limited to only 160 characters. The more characters you use for your name, the less space you have to write your actual text message.
Complete the information on the screen and SAVE.
Step 3. Set up your contact list (under Family Member 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 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), who are 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 with the individual family record will receive your text message
IMPORTANT: We are not able to send text messages using Broadcast News to phone numbers on the family record.
IMPORTANT: We are not able to send text messages using Broadcast News to non-US phone numbers, including Canadian numbers.
Step 4. Send a text message
After you have purchased your credits and completed your settings, you are now ready to rock and roll! Go to Broadcast News and begin typing in the 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. Any opt-outs that you receive will be listed in your contact list. Just click on the magnifying glass next to any contact list for more information about individuals and their status.
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, choose Select Contacts & Send. Here you can choose to send to your entire directory or select one or more groups to send to.
Next, schedule and send the message. Scheduling a text message will delay the delivery of a text message to a time 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 for scheduling 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.
When choosing the option Send Text Message as soon as possible, your text is added at that time to the queue at our text message provider. The time it takes to send depends on how many are in the queue ahead of you.
Your text will be sent to the queue immediately, but the text messaging can take 15-20 minutes for all text messages to be sent. While your text is in the queue, you will see it listed under the Scheduled tab.
Once the message is sent, it will move under the Sent tab.
That's it! Unless of course, someone complains that they aren't receiving the text message blasts. If that happens, please read our troubleshooting guide for more tips here.
Watch this short video for more information on quick messaging and text messaging: