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Mass SMS Tool

Mobile Commons/Upland Mobile Messaging is a mass SMS tool that allows users to text anyone who has opted into the platform. The text comes from a 5-digit short code.

Compare to:  CallHub, Handraiser

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Tool type: Mass SMS Tool
Meant for: Digital Team

Problem it tries to solve:

How do I mass communicate with people who are engaged with the campaign and get a higher contact rate from my message (as well as a higher activation rate than other channels), as well as automate a lot of the conversations so I can communicate with more people?

Use case:

A campaign digital team wants to quickly recruit for events (both local and statewide) — so they set up a short code and opt-in keywords to get people to opt in. Once people opt into the SMS program, they can then be texted about events happening — and they can RSVP within a flow.

Biggest drawback:

It’s expensive — and they usually ask for 12-month contracts, which is inconvenient for a campaign.

Does it sync to NGP VAN?

Not currently but syncs with ActBlue and BSD to automatically opt in people from those forms.

Pricing

$$$$

The standard entry-level pricing is $2,000/month for a 12-month contract and 100,000 SMS only (no MMS) per month.

Longer contracts can be less expensive and come with value-add ons that make it worthwhile.

The Basics: Mobile Commons is a mass SMS tool that allows users to text anyone who has opted into the platform. The text comes from a 5-digit short code.

User Flow:

  • A volunteer texts an opt in keyword to a short code and gets an automated message back. Any data collected is put into the Mobile Commons system. Admins can mass text anyone who has opted in with one click of a button.

Pros:

  • It’s fairly easy to use — and you can do a lot within the tool. You can send text and picture messages, you can both manage and segment lists within the tool (by opt-in path, demographics, and other data), you can customize and automate messages and responses to a very specific degree, and you can get a lot of metrics and data back.

  • It’s the most commonly used mass texting tool for statewide/national campaigns. This tool was used on Hillary’s campaign and on many statewide campaigns. It’s tested — and they’re very helpful when campaigns are setting it up.

  • Mass texting is an effective way to reach people. Texting has one of the highest contact rates of any channel — and because people have opted in to the texting program, conversion rates are high.

Drawbacks:

  • It’s a little expensive. They also usually ask for 12-month contracts, which is inconvenient for a campaign.

  • It doesn’t sync directly with VAN. That doesn’t make it totally unusable — it syncs with ActBlue and BSD to automatically opt in people from those forms.

  • It’s more designed for campaign digital teams (not necessarily organizing teams) who are recruiting for events, fundraising, and mobilizing volunteers. It can still be used by organizing times — it’s just not as common.

Pricing:

  • The standard entry-level pricing is $2,000/month for a 12-month contract and 100,000 SMS only (no MMS) per month.

VAN Sync:

  • It doesn’t sync with VAN, but it currently syncs with ActBlue and BSD to automatically opt in people from those forms.

Who we would recommend this tool to:

  • Bigger campaigns (House or statewide) with digital programs (or specific digital/field staffers) who can manage the tool.

  • State parties who can sign a 12-month contract and have digital staff available to manage it.

Who we wouldn’t recommend this tool to:

  • Smaller campaigns. Because of its price and how long it takes to learn it, we wouldn’t recommend it to anything lower than a House race.