Texting Service to Reach Students

Hi Compass Community!

Our foundation is considering purchasing a text service so that we can better reach our students (our student advisory committee keeps stressing that this is better than email). I’m going to start doing some research on what options we have, but does anyone have recommendations for a texting service?

Julia

tamikafisher

Comments

  • Hi Julia,


    This sounds like a good idea! I'm interested in the responses that come in. ;)

    Tamika

  • edited February 17

    Hello @JuliaDaSilva and @tamikafisher! We have used a provider called SendHub for just over two years, and which has worked very well for our needs. We use it solely for the purpose of scholarship communication, and use the functionality SendHub calls "Groups" to allow people to opt in to one (or more) of three groups: Students, Parents, Counselors. As far as I know you can have as many Groups as you want, so at some point we could branch out to Grantees or Board Members or other groups as needed.

    It's easy to set up and the backend management is straightforward. If you have an existing list of contacts, they can be uploaded via CSV and assigned to Groups.

    The contract is monthly, and we have been able to temporarily "downgrade" the service in off months since we have just one scholarship cycle a year and don't need to message these folks year round. Customer Support is prompt. Our onboarding process was enhanced by having a dedicated support person for our account (looks like that might not be provided anymore, however).

    Pricing is based on the number of messages you send per month. https://www.sendhub.com/pricing/ It's not cheap, but was comparable to other providers we looked into when considering the service.

    It's easy to compose a message and assign to the "group" you'd like to reach, and the messages can contain links, emoji, attachments. You can create message templates so if you'll be sending the same type of message repeatedly (pretty likely with scholarship communications) you don't have to start from scratch every time. You can schedule the messages, also nice for scholarship stuff since you might want to send a reminder after hours.

    There is a SendHub app so you can manage and respond to messages from your phone; I have not personally used that extensively so can't speak to its effectiveness or usability compared to the desktop version.

    Not related to SendHub itself but we found a guide to configure the HTML on our website so that if someone is viewing from their smartphone, they just click a button to autopopulate a text which, when sent, signs them up for our text communications. Here's a screenshot of what that looks like on our scholarship resources page:

    and here's a link to the guide that helped me make this work: https://answers.eztexting.com/hc/en-us/articles/360030255013

    Would be happy to share more if you're interested! Good luck!

    Jennifer Smith | Engagement Director | Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

    946 N. Second Street, Rockford, IL 61107

    Direct: 779-210-8204 | Email: [email protected] | Website: https://cfnil.org


    KaraAdams
  • edited February 17

    @JuliaDaSilva @tamikafisher We are looking to launch a text campaign this spring with Pony Express HQ.

Sign In or Register to comment.