By Lydia Alvarez
Communication in a Digital Age
Before coming to Cloud for Good, I worked for an organization that provides multiple income and food support services to low-income NYC residents. Our clients’ vulnerability often limited their access to email and impeded their ability to confirm or keep appointments. Many of our clients either did not have, refused to use or found using email difficult, which forced us to find alternative methods to quickly and efficiently communicate. When working with vulnerable clients, reducing the notification time for available resources could be the mean the difference between your client having groceries for their family or connecting with a workforce development case manager. We also wanted an easy way to send reminders to clients so that we could reduce the number of missed meetings.
To fill these types of service gaps, many Cloud for Good clients integrate a Text Messaging (SMS) service with their Salesforce database, offering you an easy way to hold simple two-way communications with your clients, volunteers, partners, etc., while maximizing deliverability and responsiveness. Since most people, regardless of age or economic level, carry some type of mobile device on them and are comfortable using text messaging, communicating via SMS is a great way to reach your contacts while limiting the steps they need to act.
As described above, SMS integration allows you to send appointment reminders/confirmations and requests for call-backs to your clients’ mobile numbers stored in Salesforce. Even advocacy team members can send updates about public policy changes that may affect their partners or clients.
LifeMoves is using SMS to better analyze the impact they are having on their clients’ lives. The communications enabled through the text messaging solution allows LifeMoves to keep in touch with clients as they seek to sustain their self-sufficiency. This communication provides both a “closed loop” on the impact of the LifeMoves program and the means to connect clients with resources and provide on-going case management to help guide their journey. LifeMoves also utilizes emergency word tracking, so if their client is having an urgent issue a case manager is immediately alerted and appropriate follow up can occur.
SMS allows you to easily connect with volunteers during all stages of the engagement cycle. Prior to your volunteer session or event, a targeted segmentation of your contacts can be notified of volunteer opportunities in their local area, giving you a proactive way to make an ask. Once they have signed up to work your event or volunteer shift, you can use SMS to send schedule reminders, check volunteers in for their shifts, and send out updates in real time.
Similar to email campaign applications such as MailChimp, SMS allows you to inform contacts of upcoming events and build excitement. A major advantage that SMS has over email event management is that there is no risk that your message will be filtered as spam. Event attendees can confirm attendance via their smartphone and have those confirmations tied directly to their Salesforce contact record.
Amputee Coalition is using SMS to notify constituents about upcoming conferences, related registration links, and information. For attendees who have opted-in to the text communications, they’ll receive subsequent notifications as the event nears with useful and time-sensitive information. Clients needing assistance locating resources to help with their amputations are able to talk directly with Amputee Coalition staff. The great thing about having this data in Salesforce is that they can measure the effectiveness of their communications and ensure that their clients are receiving the best assistance possible.
Respect your constituents wishes
As with any other form of communication, it’s vital you ensure a very clear opt-in and out policy to ensure compliance with privacy laws. Your texting provider should be able to help you navigate the ever-changing compliance landscape and have tools in place to help you comply.
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