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Tips For Bulk Texting

by Clay Harmon

Engage Supporters With Bulk Text Messaging

Did you know 82% of text messages are read within the first 5 minutes, making text messaging the most effective method to reach your audience when you have an important or time-sensitive message? In the fast-paced landscape of COVID-19, it’s likely your organization needs to communicate urgent bulk messages, so we are going to walk through some best practices to make sure you build trusted, long-lasting relationships through text with your supporters.

What is Text (SMS) Messaging In Aplos?

Aplos’ Bulk Texting is simple to use, and allows you to send a personalized text message to a single contact or segmented list of your contacts all at once. Instead of an obnoxious group text where people get bombarded with responses, your recipients will get a single text from you. Then they can reply back to your organization’s number, and you will receive their reply in your inbox. But how can you use bulk texting to send meaningful communications?

Tips For Making Text Messages Meaningful

Tip #1: Make sure any message sent through Bulk Texting is expected and wanted.

This feature can truly enhance the relationships with your supporters, so the best text messages are ones people ask to receive. If texting is new to your organization, include a short survey for your supporters in your next email inviting them to let you know what kinds of informational messages they would like to see.

Here are some examples of expected, timely messages your people may request: 

  • A reminder that your church service is starting, with a link to watch the livestream
  • A notice to volunteers when you have the new volunteer opportunities posted
  • Updates for committee and board members of new meeting times or places

Collect feedback and fulfill your recipients’ informational needs. This will have them looking forward to receiving text messages from your organization.

Tip #2: Don’t go overboard.

People can easily unsubscribe from your texts if you are messaging too often or not sending them information they want. If you have a lot to say, it’s best to put it in an email.

Tip #3: Focus on valuable, timely information, not fundraising.

Text messages are covered under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which means there are legal limitations for any organization using an automation tool (like robocalling or bulk texting) to solicit donations. Set the expectation with your supporters that messages from your organization are informational in nature, not fundraising asks. This will protect your supporters, who may otherwise confuse the information you are providing with a phishing campaign to get money from them.

Interested in receiving gifts by text? Check out our article for how to use Text to Give.

Not set up to send bulk texts yet?
Add it to your Aplos subscription, or check out our Bulk Texting Guide in the Aplos Support Center.

Steps To Launch Text Messaging With Aplos

Step 1: Prepare your system.

  • Update your contact list to confirm you have mobile numbers entered and marked as mobile.
  • Ask people what kinds of messages they want to receive. Set up a Google Form to get their preferences so you have a high-quality list.
  • Put those who have requested text updates into a Static List in Aplos for easy campaigns.

Step 2: Send your first message.

Make sure your first message is very relevant to who they are and their relationship to your organization.

When you send this first message in Aplos, recipients will also receive an auto message to notify them that your organization is messaging them, and they can reply STOP to opt out of texts. It will look like this:

AUTO MESSAGE: ORG NAME is using this number to send periodic updates. Msg & Data rates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel.

In your first message, you have 160 characters, so make them count. Some examples are:

  • Thank you for registering for our event on 3/30. Unfortunately, we must reschedule for a future date. Please see our email for more details.
  • Thanks for requesting notifications on our service times. We will send you a message with a link on Sunday morning.

Step 3: Check to make sure every message is expected, valuable, and wanted.

Regular text message communication can help build strong, trusted relationships with your supporters, but only when those texts are expected, wanted, and relevant to their relationship with your organization. The types of messages you can send depends on whether you have Express or Implied consent. 

Promotional Messages: Contacts Must Give You Express Permission

Promotional messages meant to increase sales or promote your product or awareness about your organization requires express consent.

Example: We served 500 meals today. Thanks for your support of XYZ Organization!

Your contact asked to be text messaged with promotional content, meaning they:

  • Opted in using an online form              
  • Verbally asked you to add them to your text message list
  • Completed a paper form clearly stating they’d like to receive text messages from your organization

Transactional Messages: Contacts Gave You Implied Permission

Transactional messages are necessary for folks to engage with your organization. They require implied consent.

Example: Thanks for signing up to volunteer! To view your volunteer details and assignment, click this link: [LINK]

Example: Thanks for registering for our event on Tuesday. Here is the link to the map for directions. [LINK]

Implied permission may apply if:

  • You have an existing business relationship from the past two years (the contact registered for your event, signed up to volunteer, is your client, etc.)
  • You have had text message communication with them in the past two years

Contacts Without Permission For Messages

Never message contacts in the following categories:

  • A mobile phone list you have purchased, rented, or received from a third party
  • Mobile phone numbers for people you have not contacted in more than two years
  • People who have not given you implied or express permission to text message them

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