A Comprehensive Guide to Frequently Asked Questions About Text Messaging

James Martin
A Comprehensive Guide to Frequently Asked Questions About Text Messaging

In today’s connected world, text messaging is more than just a quick way to chat with friends. Text message marketing is becoming a significant communication tool for nonprofit organizations. A mass texting service can help your nonprofit engage volunteers, connect with donors, and meet fundraising goals.

This guide provides answers to frequently asked questions about short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS) text messaging, helping nonprofits effectively utilize texting for their cause.

SMS (Short Message Service) FAQs:

  1. What Is Text Messaging?

Text messaging, or SMS (short message service), is a service available on text-enabled mobile devices that allows sending short messages between cell phones in real-time.

  1. How Long Can a Text Message Be?

Standard SMS messages are limited to 160 characters. If a message exceeds this limit, it is broken into multiple messages.

Rally offers 320 characters per message, double most providers. You can also go up to 1,600 characters with MMS.

  1. Why Are My Text Messages Being Split?

If your message exceeds the 160-character limit, it will be split into multiple messages. Emojis and special characters may further reduce this limit.

On Rally's platform, we offer 320 characters and even up to 1,600 with MMS toa void issues with text message being split, though it does depend on the recipients' carrier and device.

  1. Is it Possible to Not Break My Messages Apart if Over 160 Characters?

This depends on the text message platform you are using. Some platforms automatically concatenate (link together) messages that exceed 160 characters so they appear as one continuous message on the recipient's device. Others may break the message into separate SMS messages, each with its own 160-character limit. It's important to check with your provider to understand how they handle messages that exceed the standard SMS length.

At Rally, we link messages together so they’re more user friendly. Though how it appears can vary depending on the users’ phone. Sometimes Apple and Android display messages differently. 

  1. Can I Send SMS Text Messages From a Computer?

Many online platforms and text messaging services, including Rally, allow you to send text messages (SMS and MMS) directly from your computer. These services typically require you to sign up for an account and may have associated costs. It’s important to follow all legal compliance requirements when texting, so make sure any service you’re using is fully compliant.

  1. How Do I Choose a Text Platform for My Nonprofit?

Look for a platform that is user-friendly, secure, and offers features tailored to your needs, such as bulk messaging, automation, integration with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, and analytics. It is also important to consider cost, customer support, and compliance with regulations.

Of course we’re going to recommend our own Rally platform, but you should check out our testimonials to see what other nonprofits say about us.

  1. Is Sending Text Messages Via a Desktop App Secure?

Security can vary between providers, messaging apps, and mobile apps. Ensure the platform you choose is compliant with relevant regulations and uses encryption to protect your data. Always read the provider’s security policy and practices.

At Rally, security and compliance are a top priority. We pride ourselves on being human-centered, and that means following all legal requirements and steering clear of anything that could even look like spam.

  1. Do I Need a Special Phone Number to Send Texts From a Computer?

Some platforms allow you to send texts from your existing mobile number, while others may provide you with a new, dedicated phone number or short code for sending messages.

At Rally, everyone gets a dedicated, toll-free phone number (local numbers are available for an additional cost). 

  1. What Is Toll-Free Verification?

Toll-free verification refers to the process where a business or organization registers and uses a toll-free number (e.g., numbers starting with 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, etc.) to send text messages. These numbers are verified and registered with messaging carriers to establish the identity of the sender, helping to build trust with recipients and reduce the likelihood of messages being flagged as spam. This process ensures toll-free numbers are used responsibly and in compliance with regulations. It’s an alternative to using short codes or local numbers for text messaging.

Be aware that the verification process can take time.

  1. What Is 10DLC Registration?

10DLC stands for 10-Digit Long Code, which refers to the use of standard 10-digit local phone numbers for business messaging. In the United States, carriers have rolled out a registration process where businesses must register their 10DLC numbers with the carriers. This registration helps carriers to identify legitimate senders, reduce spam, and improve message deliverability. It involves providing information about your business and the types of messages you plan to send. Once registered, businesses can send SMS and MMS messages from a 10-digit phone number that looks like a standard local number.

  1. Can I Schedule Text Messages in Advance Through a Desktop App?

Yes, many desktop and online text messaging platforms allow you to schedule messages in advance, which can be a great feature for planning campaigns or announcements. Rally offers scheduling and drafts, as well as workflows to specifically target your text message campaign to specific scenarios.

  1. How Can I Send Bulk Text Messages for My Nonprofit Campaign?

Many desktop and online platforms offer bulk text messaging features, allowing you to send a single message to a large list of contacts. Always ensure your platform is compliant with regulations to avoid potential legal issues.

While mass texting is vital for text message marketing, you also want to reply. Two-way text conversations are important to build relationships with supporters.

  1. How Long Does It Take to Deliver 10,000 Text Messages in a Broadcast?

The delivery time for 10,000 text messages in a broadcast can vary significantly based on several factors, including the messaging platform you are using, the carrier networks involved, and current network traffic. Generally speaking, a high-quality SMS gateway can deliver messages ranging from 20 to 100 per second, so sending 10,000 messages could take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. It is advisable to consult with your text messaging platform provider to get a more accurate estimate for your specific circumstances.

  1. How Can I Stop Spam Texts?

To report and stop spam texts, you can often forward the message to 7726 (SPAM). Check with your carrier about specific services or apps they recommend for blocking spam.

  1. Do I Have to Include the “STOP” Command When I’m Sending Broadcast Text Messages?

In most countries, including the United States, it is a legal requirement to provide an opt-out mechanism, such as including a "STOP" command, in broadcast (or bulk) text messages. This allows recipients to opt out of receiving future messages from your organization. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area and consult with your text messaging platform provider to ensure compliance with these laws. Not providing an opt-out option could result in fines or other legal repercussions.

Rally works with our customers to make compliance as easy as possible.

  1. What Are the Fines and Penalties If I Send Broadcast Messages Illegally?

The fines and penalties for sending broadcast messages illegally can vary significantly based on the jurisdiction and the nature of the violation. In the United States, for example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which sets strict regulations for sending unsolicited text messages. Penalties under the TCPA can range from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited message sent per recipient.

It is absolutely critical to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your country or region and ensure your broadcast messaging activities fully comply with those laws. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional knowledgeable in telecommunications law for specific advice.

  1. How Can I Get People to Opt Into Text Messaging?

Building a legitimate and engaged list of recipients is crucial for a successful text messaging campaign. Here are some effective marketing strategies to encourage people to opt in:

  • Promote the Benefits: Clearly communicate the value that subscribers will receive, such as exclusive discounts, event reminders, or important notifications.
  • Use Multiple Channels: Promote your text messaging opt-in on your website, social media, email marketing, direct mail, and in-store or event signage.
  • Offer an Incentive: Provide a special offer, discount, or freebie as a thank-you for opting in.
  • Simple and Clear Opt-in Process: Make it easy for people to opt in by texting a keyword to a shortcode or filling out a simple form online.
  • Simple and Clear Opt-Out Process: It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s just as important to make it easy for people to unsubscribe.
  • Assure Privacy: Clearly state that you respect their privacy, explain how their data will be used, and promise not to spam.
  • Leverage Existing Customer Base: Ask your current customers or supporters to opt in during their interactions with your service, such as while making an online donation or at a fundraising event.
  • Cross-Promote with Partners: Work with complementary organizations or businesses to promote each other’s text messaging programs.

Rally offers multiple options to help you grow your list, including a number of easy-to-use web forms

It’s important to ensure your opt-in process complies with relevant laws and regulations, such as obtaining explicit consent and providing an easy opt-out option. Always consult with a legal professional to ensure that your methods of collecting opt-ins are compliant with the laws in your jurisdiction.

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Send Text Messages to My Audience?

The data rates for sending text messages can vary widely depending on your service provider, the volume of messages you send, and the countries you are sending messages to. It's important to consult with your service provider for specific pricing information. Some providers offer tiered pricing plans based on volume, while others may charge a flat fee or offer a pay as you go or per-message rate.

  1. What Are the Best Practices for Crafting Effective Text Messages?

Crafting effective text messages involves being concise, clear, and respectful. Use plain and straightforward language, include a clear call-to-action, personalize the message when possible, and send messages at appropriate times. Like any form of communication, always respect the frequency preferences of your subscribers and ensure your messages provide value.

Rally offers pre-written text message templates to jumpstart your marketing efforts, plus tips on writing short text messages.

  1. Can I Integrate Text Messaging With My CRM or Other Software?

Yes, many text messaging platforms offer APIs or integrations that allow you to connect your messaging service with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, marketing platforms, or other software tools. This functionality enables seamless communication and data synchronization between your various business tools.

Rally offers literally thousands of integrations.

  1. How Do I Ensure the Security and Privacy of My Recipients’ Data?

To ensure the security and privacy of your recipients' data, choose a reputable text messaging provider with strong security measures in place. Comply with data protection regulations, encrypt sensitive data, and limit access to the data to authorized personnel only. Be transparent with your subscribers about how their data will be used and stored.

  1. How Can I Measure the Success of My Text Messaging Campaign?

To measure the success of your texting campaign, track key metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, response rates (if your messages include links), opt-in and opt-out rates, and overall engagement levels. Also, consider tracking the conversion rates for the specific actions you want recipients to take (e.g., making a credit card purchase, signing a petition, attending an event).

  1. How Can I Make My Text Messaging Campaign More Engaging?

To make your SMS campaign more engaging, consider using multimedia messages (MMS) that include images or videos. Personalize messages using the recipient’s name or other personal information, segment your audience to send more targeted messages, and create interactive campaigns that encourage recipients to reply or take a specific action. Another good way to be engaging is to tell stories. Some of these tips to re-engage lapsed donors might help.

  1. Does Receiving a Text Message Cost Money?

Most mobile phone plans these days include unlimited texting, though some still charge per message or offer a monthly subscription. Recipients need to check with their carrier for details.

For Rally’s service, there is no cost for in-bound text messages.

  1. Can I Send a Text to an International Number?

It depends on your carrier and service. Generally there are extra costs, regulations, and compliance issues. Rally only offers text messaging to phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada.

  1. What is MMS?

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) allows you to send pictures, videos, and audio files via text messages. It may incur additional charges. Learn more about some of the MMS file size limits and suggestions.

  1. What is SMS Short Code?

An SMS short code is a five or six-digit phone number used by businesses to send and receive text messages at scale.

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) FAQs:

  1. What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. It allows users to send messages that include multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio to other mobile users.

  1. How Much Does Sending an MMS Cost?

Costs for sending MMS messages vary by carrier. Some plans include unlimited MMS, while others may charge per message. Consult your mobile carrier for specific pricing details.

  1. What Is the Size Limit for MMS?

Size limits for MMS can vary. Check out our MMS guide for in-depth details on file sizes, dimensions, and more.

  1. How Can I Reduce the File Size of MMS Content?

Use our MMS guide to see what file sizes and dimensions you should aim for. Then it’s a matter of going back to your original source video or image file to make sure you can properly re-size and compress your video, image, or GIF. 

  1. What Is the Difference Between SMS and MMS?

SMS is for text messages only (up to 160 characters), while MMS can include longer text messages, pictures, videos, and audio clips.

  1. Why Are MMS Messages Sometimes Delayed?

MMS messages can be delayed due to a variety of factors, including network congestion, the recipient’s phone being off or out of range, or issues with the service provider.

  1. How Do I Select a Nonprofit Text Messaging (SMS & MMS) Vendor?

Selecting a text messaging vendor for your nonprofit requires careful consideration of various factors. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right vendor for your organization:

  • Define Your Needs: Identify the goals of your text messaging campaigns and the features that are most important to your nonprofit, such as ease of use, automation capabilities, and integration with your CRM. 
  • Budget Consideration: Determine your budget for text messaging services. Look for vendors that offer special pricing for nonprofits. 
  • Research Vendors: Start with an online search or ask for recommendations from other nonprofits. Look for vendors with experience serving nonprofit organizations. 
  • Check Compliance and Security: Ensure that the vendor is compliant with relevant regulations and employs stringent data security measures. 
  • Request Demos and Trials: Before committing, ask for a demo to see the platform’s features and usability. 
  • Compare Pricing Plans: Look closely at the pricing structures of different vendors. Consider both the per-message cost and any monthly or annual fees. 
  • Read Reviews and Testimonials: Look for reviews from other nonprofits. Ask the vendor for case studies or references.
  • Assess Customer Support: Choose a vendor that offers reliable and responsive customer support, especially if your team isn’t particularly tech-savvy. Look for helpful tutorials, webinars, FAQs, and more.
  • Check for Scalability: Ensure the platform can grow with your organization’s needs. Will it still be suitable if your contact list grows significantly? 
  • Review Contracts Carefully: Before signing, thoroughly review the contract and terms of service. Check for any hidden fees or restrictive clauses.

Making the right choice requires due diligence. Take the time to engage with vendors and test their platforms until you find the one that aligns best with your organization’s needs and goals. Be sure it integrates with your fundraising platform.

This guide covers a wide range of common questions related to both SMS and MMS messaging. For more specific issues or detailed guidance, it’s best to consult your mobile carrier or manufacturer.

Boost Your Nonprofit Marketing Engagement

If your nonprofit organization wants to explore innovative ways to amplify your impact, reach your supporters, and mobilize your community, we invite you to book a personalized demo with Rally Corp.

  • Results: Our team of experts is dedicated to showing you how SMS marketing campaigns can become a powerful tool for fundraising, volunteer coordination, event announcements, and more. We’ll help your nonprofit leave a mark and boost your fundraising campaigns.
  • Tools: We’ve got helpful tools and resources to help you succeed. From customer relationship management (CRM) importing to fundraising software integrations, we can work with your existing tools. We also offer text-to-give, QR codes, ringless voicemail, fundraising thermometers, web forms, voice calls, and more.
  • Support: Our customer experience is second to none. We follow up with customers and our case studies attest to our superior support. We offer pre-written templates, FAQs, office hours, and more to help you make the most of the Rally platform. If you still have questions, we’re happy to jump on a phone call and talk through it.

Contact Rally Corp today to schedule your demo and begin a new chapter in your nonprofit’s outreach strategy!

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