(By Kim)

Often when churches or ministries organize meetings and outreach programs, I like what some wise hosts do – they compile a database of phone numbers and email ids of the attendees. Sadly most of the time this crucial data just lies idle in their computer and churches are clueless on how to bring it to optimum use.

Media Nuts & Bolts for your Ministry

Use SMS to connect with your partners

Have you ever thought of making use of group texting build a connect with your audience?

Why SMS?

Texting is a fast, cheap and convenient way your ministry can pass important information around in a timely manner. The biggest advantage of SMS is its Open Rate. People may not often check their emails, or even Whatsapp messages but according to a statistics 98% of all SMS messages are read, and that too within a span of 3 minutes!

How you can use group texting?

You can easily send Scriptures for the day, inspirational messages, event schedules, announcements, last minute reminders etc. You can also create multiple subscription lists to categorize your group members and different ministries in your church.

Personalize what your recipient sees

Another advantage of group texting is that you can make use of a customised Sender ID to build your identity, so when people receive your message they will see your church/ministry name.

So, how to go about it?

1. Buy an SMS pack: Get in touch with an affordable group text messaging solution/service provider and understand the costs and how it works. Bulk messaging software usually have a address book where you can store names and phone numbers and create different groups of recipients (like Youth Group, Women’s Group etc).

2. Create a database: You need to create a database of phone numbers who are willing to receive your SMS. Church members and ministry partners will oblige. For others, you can create a unique number and keyword encouraging them to join your SMS list. Example: Please send ‘JOIN’ to 919191 to receive alerts from New Life Church. This number and keyword can be publicised through your website, blog, emailer, social media sites etc.

From time to time update your phone list to avoid bounce rates.

3. Check for DND: If you are in India, make sure you don’t send unsolicited messages to people who are a part of Do Not Disturb (DND) registry.

4. Give an Opt-out option: It is also good to give an opt-out option for your messages in case your recipient doesn’t want to receive your future messages.

There are other value additions possible with group texting like personalisation (including your recipient’s first name etc in the SMS), making use of auto-responders, integration with other media platforms etc.

So next time somebody trusts your ministry with their phone number, remember that’s a powerful asset, please make use of it!

This blog post is taken from my latest book ‘Media Nuts & Bolts for Your Ministry’.  If you would like to read similar articles covering different forms of media, you can download the book free HERE. For all our current subscribers, the book download link comes as a footnote with every post of ours in your inbox!