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Convenient way to mass text message the quorum

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:58 am
by joshuajohnwallace
Finding that contacting members through text message is *far* more effective than mass email or even announcing things in church, the elders quorum presidency I'm in has resolved to text activity and other important announcements to our quorum members.

I'm looking for some app or Android feature that has the following characteristics:

- I can send a text message to people in a group (strongly prefer it to be a text message, not e.g. a Hangouts message)
- This message is sent directly to their phone (like SMS) and doesn't require anyone beyond the quorum presidency to download an app
- Those who receive the message can’t “reply all” and text everyone I sent the text to
- Those who receive the message an reply to the message to contact the EQ leaders (and just us)
- The entire EQ presidency would have access and permissions to send a message
- Allows us to easily make and maintain a group so we don’t have to enter everybody’s phone numbers every time, but also easy to modify the group
- Is free

Is there any available messaging platform that matches the above criteria? I'm surprised I haven't been able to find anything yet. GroupMe seems close, but I don't know if it works for people who don't have the app already, you can't disable "reply all", and it doesn't send the message directly to the phone but rather the app.

(The recent Mass Communications thread is somewhat relevant, but again I don't want to use email since hardly anybody ever responds when we email announcements.)

Re: Convenient way to mass text message the quorum

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:14 pm
by russellhltn
joshuajohnwallace wrote:Is free

If you do find anything, I'd read the terms of service quite carefully. There's an old saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch". A newer version is "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product", meaning that the company gets the money by selling your information. As such, you (or the quorum members) may find the Terms of Service objectionable.

You may want to look at the budget and see if there are any services that are affordable as they'd be more likely to meet your other criteria.

Re: Convenient way to mass text message the quorum

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:50 pm
by Traek
I have found Remind perfect for this sort of thing. Though it's designed for schools (and it shows... HEAVILY) their terms of services do allow for anyone to use it for non-commercial purposes. It does handle unsubscribe messages and replies to mass texts go only to the account owners (yes, you can have multiple ones). It's amazing what they include for free and I suggest you sign up as a teacher since it works for an organizer. Members of the quorum can be added as students. Though it can feel a little off because of the heavy use of student/teacher/parents references, it's quite elegant for a free solution and is supported by paid subscriptions at the school/district levels.

Here's a referral link (no, I don't get paid for it):

Yes, there is an app as well but it's not required and works just fine with SMS and/or email. Messages are limited to 140 characters and can even use some pretty neat links through Google Drive, OneDrive, box and even (which we used a lot for Missionary meal signups).

No, I don't work for them, I just appreciate the nice tool :)

Re: Convenient way to mass text message the quorum

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:58 pm
by russellhltn
Have you checked the ELUA? How are they using the information provided - particularly the information about the recipients (other members)? I'm just skeptical of "free" services. Someone's got to pay the server bills somehow.