Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Community groups and grassroots organizations are constantly on the look out for ways to improve their conversation with people. Petitioning signatures, running polls and surveys, getting direct feedback on a new initiative – all these things are made significantly easier with bulk texting technology.

Text messages boast an open rate of more than 90% within the first three minutes. That means SMS messages are almost guaranteed to be received and immediately read. A sense of personal communication, allied with the speed and convenience of texting, enhances engagement on every level – vital for anyone who needs to issue important, time-sensitive information to large groups of people.

Community groups can use text to notify locals of power outages, imminent construction work, extreme weather events and upcoming resident meetings. SMS messaging is also perfect for quickly alerting citizens of a missing child, or the presence of thieves or vandals in the area.
The advantages of texting over phone calls or emails are manifold:
  • Conversations can be conducted regardless of unpredictable signals
  • Less likely to be ignored or spam filtered
  • No need to perform multiple actions in order to reach lots of people
  • Quick read and response rate
Persuading your community to sign up to an SMS program is easy. After all, it makes life a lot easier for residents if they’re not having to field phone calls at inconvenient times – phone calls that may never be returned. All you need is the consent of recipients. Once they’ve opted in, you are free to send them texts until they opt out.

Text messaging can play a vital role in local democracy. If there is a hot-button issue facing your local community, and you need to quickly canvass opinion from voters, there is simply no better way to achieve this than via texting. Even if the issue is not urgent, it can take a long time to harvest opinion through other channels.

If you’re running a petition, you need thousands of signatures in order to get the issue on the ballot. With the best will in the world – and a strong suspicion of general public support – email and phone campaigns may never bring that support to fruition in the form of black and white signatures. Texting makes it possible to garner thousands of supporting voices in a very short space of time. For small community organizations working to a limited budget, nothing comes close to SMS.