Mass Texts

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Re: Mass Texts


Post by lajackson »

russellhltn wrote:Can you give me a reference?
Elder Cook mentioned it in his October 2018 Saturday morning conference talk.
To help members prepare for the Sabbath, some wards already send an informative email, text, or social media message midweek. In view of this adjustment, we strongly recommend this type of communication. These invitations will remind the members of the Sunday meeting schedule for that week, including the upcoming class lesson topic, and support continuing gospel conversation at home.
"Strongly recommend" has caused our leaders to start looking for a way to do this, along with the realization that Church support for this activity is not very robust at this point. My preference would be email, but even that is problematic using available Church resources.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by wrigjef »

Our Stake gives us direction that builds on Church policy. It is possible that a message from the Stake quoted the above and added electronic communications methods. All of the units in this Stake have ward Facebook pages that follow policy. He wants to use those as well as the send a message feature on LCR to send announcements. We've also been instructed to have a "funnel" so members don't get multiple emails from different auxalaries.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by russellhltn »

Interesting. No such mention in the official announcement in letters or on the website. Is like to hear from some of those wards mentioned to see what lessons they've learned.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by theagteacher »

Our relief society just sent its first message via text through the LDS Tools App to all sisters in the directory. Several of our "members" who haven't been to church in decades are replying all with less than Christian responses demanding to have their phone numbers removed from the texting list. As noted earlier in this thread, that isn't an option. It would be nice if there were an opt in for text messages, especially since there doesn't appear to be an opt out. It would also be nice to not have those being contacted given the ability to respond to all.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by rmrichesjr »

theagteacher wrote:... It would also be nice to not have those being contacted given the ability to respond to all.
Would you really want to be sending mass texts with no reply capability? I would think that would irritate even some active members and likely drive at least some less-active members to go anti-. I'm very active, but if I started receiving mass texts with any significant frequency, I would have words with the sending quorum/auxiliary leaders and insist on the ability to opt out.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by wwoodford »

Using the "mass text" from LDS Tools is very different from using the Send A Message from LCR. The texts from LDS Tools are not using the Church servers or a Church program. They are using your mobile provider to send the texts. Your mobile provider does not offer an opt out, and probably never will. I object to mass texts simply for the reason that all replies go to everyone and suddenly my phone is alerting me to messages very frequently.
On a related note, during the recent round of hurricanes in North Carolina we were using the Send a Message application much more frequently than normal. I had several members respond to me that they did not wish to receive the messages. Some because they were no longer in the ward, some because they did not wish to have contact. After offering to move records to their new ward (if they provided an address) or explaining that we were simply trying to help them/check on their status I never heard from the members again.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by pearcefamily »

I would estimate that if we used only text in our ward we would hit more than 80% of our people. Email is very low use. We are really needing some help to make our communications more effective.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by quandmeme »

GroupMe seemed great for managing our priests list plus their parents except that if users do not chime back after a certain number of messages they stop receiving messages. So it is a pain to roll out to the whole young mens because everyone has to say, "thanks" to acknowledge each message or else they eventually stop receiving.

So my office uses flowroute for VOIP and it has a really cheap SMS API and I have some extra DIDs that my office isn’t using. Twilio has similar pricing for its API. Problem is that even with their python templates, I don't have a webserver that I could use to integrate.

With 30 young men and if we have 50 parents who want notifications, that's between 320 and 600 texts a month or between $2.20 and $4.50 a month for the ability to do bulk texts.

I'm looking at tracking all the quorum members, their parents, and the bishopric in google sheets, triggering the messages from a google form, using a free AWS account to handle the triggers from the form to the provider's messaging APIs.

So now I’m just looking for some time to be able to see if it’s possible to tinker together the scripts and tie this all these platforms together. Or someone with enough development experience to tell me I’m nuts and that it can’t be done without a real web server and a paid solution.

Anyone out there willing to tell me if its feasible or if there is a better way to connect my recipient lists to whatever carrier? Once we get near $20/month, though, there are solutions like that mean I don’t have to try to tinker (and I don't risk getting my ward fined because it would have unsubscribe functionality).
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by kmilleca »

Our Ward is running into all the issues I just read about in this thread, so we've started to look for a 3rd party option.

I've attached criteria.png which lists what we are looking for in such a system (many of the points are mentioned in this thread).

Here are the vendors we're exploring:
I'm honestly not sure we'll go down this road but we are exploring it.
Note that, like printed newsletters, these services are not free -- they start at about $30 a month and go up from there.
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Re: Mass Texts


Post by jsorens6 »

A simple solution for us has been using gmail to send out weekly reminder text messages. All you need to do is have someone send a text to a gmail address that you want to use to send the announcements out from, then you will have the correct address that you need to send the message out to. The message is then created in gmail as an email and sent to the list of addresses on file in the BCC field. Super easy, free and no problems with group text messages, as long as it's sent out to the BCC field. We actually have a 14 year old YW that manages it for us.
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