Thursday, November 19, 2015

Today is Children's Grief Awareness Day

Although we all know death is a natural part of life, it remains a difficult topic to talk about, even as an adult, let alone with a kid. If you know of a child who has faced the death of a parent, grandparent or sibling, there are some very good resources available to help.

The National Alliance for Grieving Children has some great materials available as well as links to many sites that have useful information.

Compassionate Books has a great collection of books that can help in a wide variety of situations involving loss.

The Dougy Center has some very good resources as well, with some tangible things you can do to help a grieving child. For example:
Often the hardest time to be direct is right after a death. When a child asks what happened, use concrete words such as “died” or “killed” instead of vague terms like “passed away.” A young child who hears his mother say, “Dad passed away” or, “I lost my husband,” may be expecting that his father will return or simply needs to be found.
So use these resources, or pass them on to someone who can use them. You may surprised how few degrees away you may be from a grieving child.

Please share this with someone today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Longer text messages for you!

It's a small, big thing.

Your SendTree text messages can now be up to 160 characters long rather than the previous 140 character limit. (Unless you check the box to post to Twitter...)

Yes, we're all well practiced at paring down our messages to the essentials and making information as compact as possible. It doesn't seem like much, but twenty more characters is like a football field sized space just waiting for your utilization!

Why the change?

Because you can optionally have SendTree post your message to Twitter, we limited your message size so that it would fit on Twitter. Twitter is the least common denominator, with a 140 character limit, and that's still the case (today). So all we have done is lift the limit when you are not sharing your message with Twitter. But if you check that box for Twitter posts, then the limit will drop back to 140 characters for that particular message.

What to do with all that extra space?

You can add contact information, or reduce your abbreviations and bring back some punctuation. Or you can tack on "live long & prosper". We're sure you find a way to use it. :-)

Want to try it out now? ...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Are you missing a channel of communication?

So many channels...

You have multiple channels of communication available for your church community. Channels like newsletters, email lists, social media, and speaking in person on Sunday. But there's one more channel of communication that churches are beginning to discover: text messaging. It is about as direct as you can get, aside from a face-to-face conversation. But how does text messaging differ, and how does it fit in?

Social Media and Newsletters

Social media communications work great when multiple people are sharing or discussing your message. But it's easy for people to miss a post when they have to scroll through a lot of daily noise, or may never scroll far enough, or didn't get online at the right moment to see your post. Having your members see a specific post in social media is hit-or-miss, so you should choose what you share in social media accordingly.

Email lists and newsletters are still essential for conveying a lot of information. You will always need to keep people informed about all the activities and concerns going on in your church, and this is the perfect vehicle when you need to deliver all the details. But remember that humans are creatures of efficiency; when a lot of information is presented, people will scan and pick and choose, consuming just the information most pertinent to them. And this may be okay.

But if your newsletter is delivered by email, recognize that it has a lot of competition for your reader's attention. Inboxes are never empty and your message could be missed altogether. Or it may be "skipped" or "saved for later" because the reader is already overwhelmed by their inbox, or they don't want to commit the time to sift through a bunch of information "right now". When you're at a party, ever notice how the smallest hors d'oeuvres get taken first? People are better at committing to smaller things. And as far as email is concerned, we've been conditioned to think of emails as not being small and consumable chunks. (That's why we never reach Inbox Zero!)

How does text messaging fit in?

Let's first highlight the single biggest strength and weakness of text messaging:

  Pro: A text message has a very high probability of actually being read immediately.
  Con: A text message must be short, 160 characters or less.

As you may see, this strength and weakness are inseparable. People actually read text messages because they are so short. That makes text messaging a powerful communication tool that should be in your toolbox.

How to leverage the power of a text message

So how should you utilize text? Answer: think "actionable instructions". What behavior do you want from your message recipients? Do you want greater attendance for an event? Do you need people to remember to bring something? Call a certain number? Or be at a particular location at a particular time? Rally interest for a local cause? Or just have everyone be on the same page?

It turns out that 160 characters is more than just room for a headline. It is plenty of space to communicate a particular subject plus details like times, dates, phone numbers, or web links. Just tell people what you'd like them to do and give them enough information to take action. Here's a couple simple examples:

You probably can't say everything you want in that small space. You must pare down your message to the essentials, or maybe you will refer people with a link to a place where they can get more detailed information. But in the end, people will actually appreciate getting a concrete, just-tell-me-what-to-do message. It makes their life easier when you highlight the essential information they need to know and what steps to take.

If you'd like more information about using text with the people in your church, download our free whitepaper below.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

9 reasons people use text messaging

Did you know
that the most popular activity people perform on their cell phones is texting?

So why are people using text? We gathered up a short list of 9 reasons:
  • For simple, factual communications, texting takes less effort. Ex: "I'll be there at 6:00".
  • Text is not obtrusive to those around you (i.e. no speaking aloud, no phone ringing).
  • Doesn't require both parties to be available at the same time to communicate.
  • It's short, so it gets read.
  • No account to create.
  • No app to install.
  • Can be saved and read again.
  • The messages must be concise.
  • Works on all cell phones, not just smartphones.

It's true. People like to communicate via text!

Check out the ways SendTree is helping the world send texts for their organizations.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Text is a Greeting Card

Have you ever received a greeting card? How did you feel about the whole experience of opening it and reading it?

You probably:

  • knew who it was from
  • knew it would be short and sweet
  • smiled or were happy about it
  • opened it first!

Sounds like a text message!

Okay, so not every single text message is received like a greeting card is. But if you're sending text messages to your customers or members, you should consider the greeting card angle. I don't mean Happy Birthday. I mean embrace what a greeting card represents. It represents your relationship with the recipient.

The person who gets your message trusts you. You may just be sending timely information or reminders. Or maybe a special opportunity. But they should be glad to open it, consume it quickly, and feel good about it. In short, texting can be one aspect of the relationship between you and your recipient. When used correctly, tiny messages can make a big difference in that person's relationship with you (in engagement, attitude, happiness, etc.)

Like it or not, technology such as social media and text messaging has changed how we interact with people in our lives; those technologies are participating in our personal relationships right now. You should embrace this fact, move your message to where the people are by including these channels in your communication strategies. And people will be glad to get a "greeting card" from you once in a while.

Get some specific messaging ideas from our SendTree 101 Guide. Download the PDF now:

 download PDF with texting ideas

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Staying Connected with your Support Group Members

Support groups serve such a critical function in society. They provide a low barrier way for people struggling with life challenges to connect with those who are dealing with similar issues. People coping with divorce, serious illness, death of a loved one, etc. often do not need counseling, but they can benefit tremendously from the support offered by others who truly “get it.”

SendTree is an excellent tool for leaders who want to engage with and remain connected to their support group members. Individuals who attend support groups are often feeling alone and may have a tendency to withdraw from others. Using SendTree, you can have members text “JOIN” to your SendTree number, giving you with the opportunity to text your whole group at once. No more wondering if your group members received your message —people read texts immediately. You can use SendTree to send reminders about group meetings, information about cancelations/schedule changes, and or even to send encouraging quotes. A great option would be to ask members which types of messages they would be interested in receiving. For example, members may be interested in reminders about important dates (e.g., anniversaries of death dates) or critical events (e.g., start/ending of treatments). SendTree can enhance community building, increase attendance, and facilitate the positive impact of your support group.

Whether your group meets weekly, biweekly, or monthly—needs for immediate communication always come up along the way.

Not sure? Try it out by yourself.

SendTree makes it very easy to try out, with no obligation. In fact, with a new SendTree account, we give you a few dollars so that you can use all the features and send many messages to see how it all works. If you click the button below, and we'll walk you through sending some test messages to yourself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Three ways your church can use text messaging

Text. It's cheap to send, and it's found in everyone's pocket. And it is a super effective mode of communication -- texts are so short, people actually read them. And people don't have to install any apps or create any accounts to get a text from you. Text messaging is already "baked in" the cellular phone system -- basically, everyone's got it. Text is the overlooked tool that gets the job done.

But that doesn't make text the answer to everything. Text is best used to complement your existing communications, like your newsletters, email, and social media. Here are three ways your church can utilize text messaging along with existing channels that can make a difference:

1) Reminders

Text reminders are not just to remind about services. Try this: Take your church's calendar and make a list of 5 or 6 upcoming events. Then schedule a text reminder to automatically go out for each of those events. For example, the day before a breakfast event, a message would be sent that looks something like this:

People will like receiving your message about the event -- it's another connection between you (the church) and the individual. It shows that you care. Even for the people who might have heard about the breakfast via another communication channel, this text message will bring the whole matter back to mind, and you may get another attendee.

The best way to gauge the effectiveness of text reminders is to try it out for a couple months and then ask the recipients what they thought about getting a reminder. It's cheap and takes very little effort to try out.

2) Staying organized

Ever been involved in a picnic, a play, or a fundraiser? Ever been responsible for coordinating lots of people and you need to communicate with some immediacy? Sometimes information, weather, or other circumstances will change and you need everyone to be updated right away. And you'd like some assurance that people actually read the message you sent. This is not an email or facebook moment. These situations are best suited for text messaging. And when that moment comes, you should have the right tool on hand.

3) Group communication

Got a youth group? Ever taken a trip with them? During these excursions, often times the whole group is split up and given instructions for meeting at certain points during the day. A simple text message reminding everyone to be heading back to the bus is a nice feature, and puts you in control. And for the parents at home, receiving text updates from a trip in progress is a great way to build a connection with the rest of the family. And wouldn't a parent like to know the ETA of the returning bus, in real time? These are small things that are appreciated when you are receiving the information.

Try it and see

By using text as a communication tool, you will increase awareness and attendance. You'll save time for everyone by reaching people where they already are (on their mobile). Would people like getting texts like this? The best way to find out is to ask them the simple question, "Would you like to get text messages from your church?"  And then try it out with 5 or 6 events from your calendar.

SendTree can help you try it out. In fact when you create an account with the button below, we'll give you a few dollars so that you can send free messages for a while to see how people like it.

It's about the relationship

For all of these examples, text is just a very small thing, yet it can make a big difference in the relationship you create between the church and individual members. You are creating another touch point with people who want a text. They will be happier, more engaged communicators.

Small thing. Big difference.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Fresh Way to Target Old and New Customers

What does it take to build a solid customer base in today’s high-tech world? 

For many business owners, it probably feels like between Facebook and Twitter you’ve got your bases covered. But reaching customers is about more than just a weekly website update. It’s about creating a connection.

SendTree, a group text messaging service, gives your business a new way to reach out to customers. By using SendTree, you can send personalized text messages, alerts, and notifications straight to people’s cell phones.

Humans are social creatures. This basic instinct has influenced the way we communicate with each other. It’s why people love text messaging, and the major explanation for why we continue to rely on text messaging to connect with the outside world. Texting is simple, fast, and convenient - why not use this logic to increase your marketing voice? 
Your customers see hundreds of advertisements everyday, so how can you make sure you’re staying connected with your audience? The trick to being heard has always been to meet your audience in the spaces they frequent most. Today, it’s no secret that space is mobile. 

 get texting ideas

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tanning Salons: How to Bring the Sunshine Back

Avoid slow workdays and encourage return visits with a mobile strategy 

It’s winter and that means the days are shorter, darker, and a lot colder. For tanning salons, this is the perfect time to continue building a strong customer base. Despite the lack of sunlight, it can be a struggle to retain clients, reduce no-shows, and keep day-to-day business busy. You’ll want to build a list of loyal clients as soon as possible. How can you do this quickly while on a budget?  

Bring business to your tanning salon by engaging people on their phones

Eliminate those slow-days and one-time customers with SendTree, a group mobile messaging service that allows you to engage your clients with text message communication. 

By contacting your customers with text, you can directly engage clients – reminding them of sales, special events, and promotions. As clients visit the salon, you can invite them to opt-in and start receiving special deals on their mobile devices.

SendTree works for all wireless carriers and devices. That means your messages will reach customers no matter what network, cell phone, or smartphone they use. 

Engage customers with mobile coupons, special sales, and reminders

Retain clients by rewarding them for signing-up:
          - Share mobile coupons that advertise 10% off, 20 % off, etc. in your message 
          - Send special sales notices for VIP customers 
          - Make an offer pop and increase foot traffic by including timely details, like  
            "today only" or "for the next hour only" 
          - Notify patrons when you'll be closed for bad weather or holidays 

Seamless social media integration with SendTree  

With a mobile marketing strategy you can reach out to your customers by sending text messages to their cell phones. Your SendTree account can also be synced up with your Facebook and Twitter, so all your text messages appear on your social media pages too. 

There are lots of benefits to using SendTree as a mobile marketing platform. Start now by clicking the link below.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On My Honor

As the Troop Leader you know regular attendance of meetings is necessary for the benefit of the Scouts. But if parents forget or aren’t motivated to attend, you don’t feel like you’re doing your job as Scout Leader. Why not directly encourage parents to attend meetings with a group text messaging service?

If you've got something to say - say it in a text. 

The next time you take the Scouts on a camping trip you could use SendTree to deliver specific group text messages to your different contact lists. 
  1. Text Parents letting them know the Troop has arrived safely at the campsite. 
  2. Remind Scouts to stay with their assigned buddy while they participate in camp activities
  3. Notify volunteers so they know all the details of the daily activities. 

>> Start using SendTree with your Troop: 
  • Improve event organization
  • Increase parent engagement
  • Coordinate volunteers and chaperons
  • Share logistical information
  • Remind everyone about meeting times and locations
  • Alert parents of weather advisories
  • Arrange carpools for meetings   
  • Show appreciate to volunteers


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Colleges: Plug Into Clubs

Recent research suggests that participation in extracurricular activities may increase students' sense of engagement or attachment to their school, and thereby decrease the likelihood of school failure and dropping out. 

Text message communication is one method college clubs can use to connect with student members.

SendTree allows university clubs to send one group text message to all of their students members. By investing in a technology that directly engages students on their mobile phones, university clubs can provide different types of support for their members.


Text Important News to Students: 

  • Reminders - scheduling dates, meetings, & activities
  • Campus events - Social, cultural, and educational campus activities geared toward members
  • Attendance - use SendTree to gain more participation and attendance (no more out of sight out of mind!)
  • Off-campus- notify students via email and text about off-campus opportunities

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4-H: How You Can Make the Best Better

While technology simplifies many aspects of our lives, it has also changed the way we interact with the world. We are a society that constantly shares information – particularly by sending and receiving messages on our cell phones. Many service clubs understand the benefit of uniting their organization with a website and social media – but few have recognized the advantages of group text.

How can adding SendTree’s group text messaging service benefit your 4-H Club
Instead of sending individual text messages to every person in your group (a tedious and expensive route) you can broadcast messages to as many people as you'd like. SendTree text messaging makes it easy for you to send one message to an entire group. Just login, type your message, and click send. 

Share Your 4-H Pride with Your Members

Routine updates, meeting reminders, and announcements are just a few examples of the type of text messages that will keep every member up-to-date on club happenings. Consider these ways to keep members informed and engaged: 
  • Notify 4-H members of upcoming events and meetings
  • Welcome new members
  • Motivate volunteers with an inspirational text message
  • Remind members of duties and responsibilities between meetings
  • Update members of fundraising events
  • Share results of community outreach programs
  • Recognize the contributions and efforts of participants
  • Share meeting minutes for anyone who couldn’t attend a meeting  
  • Alert members of volunteer opportunities 
  • Organize conventions with pre-schedule messages


Broadcast on a Budget

SendTree makes it easy for your 4-H Club members to become and stay engaged. Supply your club members with mobile messaging and see how they engage in a whole new way. The possibilities are endless with group text, and SendTree’s affordable pricing makes this service all the more valuable.

Learn more about SendTree or start a FREE 30-day trial on our website >>

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Surviving the Storm

Do you live in Boston or an area with unpredictable weather? Stay connected through winter blizzards even when your plans have to be canceled at the last minute.

Does your business, organization, or club need a way to share weather related news with your customers, employees, students, or other group members?

SendTree is one quick and inexpensive way to connect with every person in your group. When weather forces you to cancel a meeting or event, send one bulk text message (aka SMS communication) to notify all your contacts. 

 texting for businesses

Sign up now and you'll be prepared for the next polar vortex

Whether it’s a blizzard, thunderstorm, extreme heat, or just a power outage, now you can tell the people who matter most to your organization about weather related cancellations or delays.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Think Spring. Think Soccer.

Yes, it's Winter. And the next season is Soccer.

How are you planning to communicate between players, coaches, and staff? Have you considered leveraging the power of text messaging? It is super cheap, quick and easy to do, and has a very effective read rate.

SendTree makes it easy for someone to send text messages to large groups of people.

 Tell me more

You can even put your contacts into groups. You could:

  • send a message to all coaches and key staff
  • send reminders to players and parents
  • send timely information to everyone, all groups

And creating a contact list is easy. Just tell people to text the word 'JOIN' to a phone number that SendTree gives you. (And by the way, that number is a local number, and is exclusively yours.)

Start planning

If you are involved with soccer, now is the time for organization and planning. Now is the time to consider text messaging to augment your communications. Come springtime, SendTree would love to be on the field with you. :-)

 Show me pricing

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Got Faith? Group Texting for Religious Organizations

The holidays are a chance for your church members to reconnect with their faith as well as one another. Make sure your congregation feels that sense of connection all year long with the help of SendTree, a Group Text Messaging Service

How does it work? All it takes is the click of a button and you can send text notifications straight to your followers’ cell phones. SendTree even lets you update your Facebook and Twitter pages with the same information. 

Build Strong Bonds with Your Followers 

This year make sure you reach out to the people who matter most to your organization. Keep your staff and volunteers informed of last minute schedule changes or send inspiration devotions to your youth group. 

Use SendTree to Share: 

  • Sermon reminders 
  • Inspiration prayers 
  • Volunteer updates 
  • Scheduling and logistical information 
  • Weather cancellations and delays  

The bottom line: If you’ve got something important to say - say it with SendTree!

You know your congregation will feel connected when they receive a personal text message reminding them of a special event or notifying them of a delay due to bad weather. And text messages have a 95% open rate, so you don't have to worry about people missing your messages.

Sign me up for a FREE 30-day trial >>