Administrative Users can send text messages directly from the system. Text messages are meant to be a short message (one or two sentences long) and only sent to cell phone numbers that have opted into receiving texts. The text will be sent to attendees 19 and above and for minor children, it will go to people under their relationships that are listed as both living with the child and emergency contact (the person must reflect both criteria).
It is recommended that the text message feature only be used for urgent messages and not for messages around marketing, registration or account balances. Cell phone owners often remove their number from a text distribution list when programs do not use for urgent situations. Instead, please use email to communicate any marketing, registration and/or account balance messages.
When a profile is being created online, there is an option for each phone number regarding Can Receive Text Messages to allow someone to opt out of receiving the notifications. On the Administrative side, there is a checkbox that can also be disabled for Can Receive SMS. To help ensure that people are included with emergency communications, the default is to be opted-in (the person has to decide to opt-out).
Tracking Receive SMS
There is a column under Contacts > People for Receive SMS. Staff can filter that list to see who is set to not receive text messages. In Child Care or Courses, staff can create a Roster report and include the column of Receive SMS. If a parent has opted out, No will be displayed in the report column. Those that should receive texts will display Yes in that column.
When sending text messages, please consider US FCC laws and rules regarding text messages. Select here to view the Federal Communication Commission's Text Message Guide. Following FCC rules, users may reply STOP to be removed from text lists by setting Receive SMS to No in their record. To opt back in to receiving text messages, the user must text the word START to the number they initially opted out of.
Use the following steps to send a SMS/Text Message:
- Navigate to the appropriate list view (Child Care > Sites, Courses > Enrollments, ECFE > Course Sections, etc) and filter as needed.
- Once you have the appropriate list created, select the Connect button (upper left near your name)
- Select Send Text Message (SMS).
- In the Text Message Contents field, type in your message. By default, the district's Abbreviated Name will be displayed and can not be removed from the message (you can change the Abbreviated Name under System Preferences). If you copy/paste a message, it can only be done from a file with TXT format (copying from Word or another source like Grammarly can add formatting that can cause the text not to send). Please note, this field allows for a message of 480 characters/spaces.
- If the staff person creating the text has a cell phone set up in their profile and it is set for Receive SMS (checked yes/enabled), when composing the text, a checkbox is displayed on the right to allow them to include that number to receive a copy of the message that is sent.
- When ready to send, select Send Text Message.
- When viewing the original list, staff can add the column of Receive SMS. If any are marked as X (to not receive text messages), that person will need to get a communication via a different method.
There is a record of the text under the Communications tab of each recipient's profile. There are not any system reports for all texts that have been sent. The text messaging feature sends out texts every 10 minutes (on the 10s of the hour so :00, :10, :20). This is done to help in avoiding duplicate messages going to the same person. Staff may see a delay when viewing the Communications tab for each record. The system will show that the messages are being 'queued' or pending being sent before they are actually sent. Once the text shows it has been initiated to be sent, there is not a way to retrieve/stop it.