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Text Messaging Overview

This help topic reviews the different types of text messages that can be sent from your account. It also contains some examples of what recipients will see when they receive a message.

Custom Text Messages

The texting feature provides a great way to communicate with your volunteers. Many volunteers may prefer to receive messages by text instead of email. You may also have times when you want to communicate with your volunteers while they are serving. For example, if you need to see a volunteer who is serving before they leave.

Here is an example of what a volunteer would receive if you sent a message asking her to stop by your office while she is serving:

Image of Custom Message Example

Cell phone service providers require us to include identification and certain instructions with each message sent. This extra text can take up to 50 of the 160 characters available for text messaging so only 110 characters are available for custom messages. Some carriers outside of the United States limit text messages to less than 160 characters. Recipients using these providers may not receive the entire message even if it is 110 characters or less.

Types of Automatic Text Messages

Your volunteers and Coordinators can also receive automatic messages. Depending on your account's settings, and who has opted-in, the following automatic text messages can be sent from your account:

Content for Automatic Text Messages

Text messages have a limited number of characters available, and cell phone service providers require us to include identification and certain instructions with each message sent so there are only 110 characters available for the message content. Because of this, the content of the automatic messages is determined by the system. There is not a way to customize the content for automatic messages.

In most cases, the important information from the automatic message can be communicated without any problem using the limited number of characters. For example, in the daily schedule reminder shown below, the volunteer receives the date, times, and assignment he or she is serving in. Here is how this would look for a volunteer scheduled from 10:45 am to 3:30 pm on July 16 in an assignment called Pet Therapy Program:

Image of Daily Schedule Reminder Example

In other cases there is not a way to communicate all the information so if the recipient needs to know more, he or she will need to sign-in to see the additional information in VicNet. For example, the monthly schedule reminders do not have room to include the times and assignments the recipient is scheduled in because they contain a whole month's worth of information. Here is how the monthly schedule reminder message would appear for July 2014 for a volunteer scheduled on Monday through Friday:

Image of Monthly Schedule Reminder Example

Outgoing Messages Only

Text messages sent from Volgistics are forwarded to an SMS gateway to be delivered to the recipient's phone. This process does not provide a way to link the response back to the Volgistics account that it originated from. Because of this, there is not a way for volunteers and Coordinators to respond directly to a text sent to them. So if you want the recipients to reply, you should arrange this beforehand, or include directions in your text.

If a volunteer or Coordinator does respond to a text you send, they will receive a message back that their message was not delivered. Here is how this would look if the volunteer who received the text message from the example in the Custom Text Messages section above sent a reply:

Image of Not Monitored Message Example