I’m not sure if I stole this idea, but as winter weather is only months away, this seems like a good idea to pursue. Basically, how can we make use of SMS text messaging?
Mass SMS text messaging seems useful for last minute announcements. One thing that pops up every couple of years is the need to cancel a church event due to winter weather. It’d be cool to have an easy way to SMS everyone we have a cell phone number for with this sort of announcement.
SMS alerts shouldn’t be that hard. Here’s what I think we need to do:
1) We should be able to export all cell phone numbers from our ChMS system.
2) Then we can remove all characters from the cell phone data that isn’t numeric.
3) Append ‘@teleflip.com’ to each cell phone number to get an email address for each number. (Any other email to SMS gateway service could work instead of teleflip.com.)
4) Then load the list of SMS email addresses into a mailing list.
I already have some other mailing lists that I auto populate from our ChMS, so this should be relatively straight forward. This could be scripted to update the mailing list every week.
So, if an urgent church wide announcement needed to be communicated, someone could simply email the sms mailing list and most everyone should be notified in near real-time.
Does your church make any similar use of SMS for any communciation?
What kind of plans do you have in place for urgent communications like this?