Mass SMS Tool
Peer-to-Peer SMS Tool
Problem it tries to solve:
Onboarding a P2P SMS, blast SMS, and a calling tool all in one place at a low cost. Managing communications with the same voter across calls and texts is extremely easy. For instance, you can follow-up with contacts who don’t pick up the phone with a text message. Or share more details over text after a phone conversation. App integrations make sure that data collected during outreach like surveys and event RSVPs immediately show up in your CRM.
High-barrier actions like making a donation, getting out the vote, signing a petition etc. can be encouraged via calling campaigns or P2P texts.
If you want local organizers to be able to run their own localized texting or calling program, you could set it up with this platform.
Volunteers can make phone calls and send out texts from the comfort of their home (with in-person canvassing off the table for the foreseeable future this is a crucial feature to have).
The platform has not been tested widely on nationwide campaigns where call volumes can go up to a few millions calls a day.
Does it sync to NGP VAN?
Yes – read and write.
Costs vary based on services but are generally based on usage and are very affordable. For instance, peer to peer text messages cost only 3.4 cents per outgoing message.
Additionally, you can pre-pay on your account, meaning you will not pay more than you want to – if you exceed usage, the service will just stop.
Bulk usage discounts are available.
“I liked the ability to have volunteers use the software online, without having to use their personal cell phones, and I LOVED that it showed the campaign phone number on call display.”
“As someone who has managed and worked on a lot of campaigns and use NationBuilder as my primary database/website solution (which CallHub integrates beautifully with), CallHub has become my go-to platform for affordable phone canvassing campaigns, voice broadcasts and text message blasts. In particular, text message blasts are the single most useful tool for volunteer mobilization that I have used in recent years.”
“I was looking for a mass SMS and robocall tool and referenced ACRONYM to find CallHub. I only actually used the voice broadcast services but found them incredibly easy and fast to set up, pay for, and track (and I had never set up robocalls before). There was some trial and error, but their FAQs were easy to understand. I didn’t interact with CallHub staff at all.”
CallHub is a multi-channel communication platform that allows both calling tools (predictive dialer, power dialer, other automated dialers) and SMS options (peer to peer text, SMS blast, SMS opt-in).
It’s a one-stop shop for many different channels you might want. If different departments in your team want different channels (i.e. a digital team wanting MMS, an out-of-state team wanting a dialer, etc.) it’s helpful to just have one vendor and one contract to work with.
You can cap the amount each account can spend. If you’re concerned about the cost of scaling this tool, you can pre-load credits into an organizer’s account so they can’t rack up a large bill.
Its UI is organizer friendly. It doesn’t require a large amount of training to get started, and organizers will be able to quickly navigate the tool.
You can put VAN lists right into an auto dialer campaign. No more spreadsheet downloads and uploads!
It’s affordable. Peer-to-peer SMS only costs 3.4 cents per outgoing text and 1.2 cents per incoming text. The call tool features are similarly well priced at 2.1 cents per call.
Distributed campaigning – You can give local organizers permission to recruit volunteers and make calls/send texts in their area. Funding and monitoring can be done from a parent account.
MMS texting – Allows you to say a lot more in one text than have to pay more for multiple texts
Texting from call center – Allows texts to be sent during calling campaigns. Can save you the time of having to set up another texting campaign.
Subscription plans – in case you are a large campaign looking to cut costs.
The peer-to-peer SMS functionality is new and has not been tested on a nationwide GOTV yet. A lot of peer-to-peer SMS tools have crashed under high usage and adjusted after initial crashes.
The VAN integration is a little wonky. While CallHub does have read/write permissions for VAN, it can only read out survey questions and activist codes (not lists), and when you text someone they’re marked with an activist code, not a contact history note.
CallHub has pay as you go and subscription services.
Predictive/Power Dialing: 2.1 cents per call
Collective Calling (CallHub displays the details of the contact to be called along with attached surveys and call script. Agent make calls using the calling plan on their phone and enter data on Callhub. Similar to OpenVPB by VAN) : Free for the first 5,000 calls, 1.6 cents per call after that.
SMS: 3.4 cents per outbound text, 1.2 cents per inbound text, $2 per month for 10-digit phone number rentals, $25 per month for 5-digit phone number (also known as shared short code) rentals.
CallHub can read survey questions and activist codes out of VAN and write survey questions and activist codes into VAN.
Who we would recommend this to:
Any campaign that wants to call a large universe in a short amount of time. The dialing platform is both cost effective and user friendly enough to make it scalable.
Campaigns that are spread across states, with a lot of volunteers taking up organizing efforts. Their distributed campaigning features come in quite handy in such cases.
Programs that are worried about unwanted costs. CallHub allows you to preload credits into the system, meaning it will stop once it hits a certain threshold. This allows for more exact budgeting.
Small campaigns where organizing and digital are fully integrated. CallHub does both texting and calling which often fall under different departments. If your program has one person doing both, this might be a good solution for you.
Who we wouldn’t recommend this to:
Large campaigns with high calling and texting volumes (anyone making over 3 million texts/calls per day).
While it is competitively priced and functions well, we would want to see it scaled more before national adoption.
A state party or non-cycle dependent program that already has a short code. Similar to domains, it is advisable to keep one consistent short code to build long term infrastructure. We would rarely advise changing a system that would change your short code.
Tools & Tips:
Online Organizing Best Practices in a Crisis
Best practices for organizers adopting a remote culture with examples from Amnesty and Extinction Rebellion.
Distributed Phone Banking — Best Practices
Making sure volunteers stay productive when making calls from home.
Planning a successful virtual event without breaking the rules of social distancing
Planning live-streams, online conferences, webinars and more and getting the word out using phone calls and texts including other channels.
COVID-19: Resources for Organizers during a Crisis
Curated list of resources from around the web.