|Nonprofits are always looking for better ways to reach those they serve. For younger audiences, like Generations Y and Z, text is the preferred method of communication. So it isn’t surprising that there is an uptick in the number of services nonprofits are offering via text.From counselling, to emotional support, to crisis lines and resources—all can be offered via text messaging. This enables nonprofits to expand their reach and help more people. There are benefits and challenges alike, but many are finding text to be a life-saving option. Keep reading to find out more.The benefits to text|
Text can provide benefits to both clients and counsellors that person-to-person communication cannot. And, people reaching out for help via text can receive the same services as those calling in over the phone, including risk assessment, emotional validation and collaborative problem solving.For clients
Texting can provide an opportunity to seek help when a phone call isn’t an option. Text may be beneficial to some clients because:
If your nonprofit is considering integrating text into its communication platform, you may want to check out communications company, TwilioSM. It has developed a platform that integrates phone and text into mobile and Web applications. It has also launched Twilio.org, which makes its services more accessible to qualified nonprofits via Kickstart® credits and discounts on voice and messaging products. Another resource is the Salesforce.com Foundation. It offers some of its communication technologies to nonprofits at a discount through its Power of Us program.
Once you launch your text capabilities, make sure you promote them. Imprint short codes with the message, “Help is just a text away” on pencils, stress relievers, lip balm and hand cleanser. Distribute these items at area schools, churches, recreational facilities, human services centres and more. And make sure to promote your texting capabilities to those who call on the phone or visit in person. Include short codes on your on-hold message, imprint outdoor banners that can be displayed outside your facility and provide staff with T-shirts or buttons that say, “Need help? Text <short code> today.”
Remember, if you’re looking for more ways to provide support to those who need it, you may want to consider offering your services via text. You just may reach someone who never would have called.
Nancy Lublin: Texting That Saves Lives.” TED.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2014.
Fishback, Stephen. “The New York Times Loves DoSomething’s Crisis Text Line.” Mobile Commons. N.p., 04 March 2014. Web. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2014.
Kaufman, Leslie. “In Texting Era, Crisis Hotlines Put Help at Youths’ Fingertips.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Feb. 2014. Web. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2014.
“A Billion Messages for Good.” Twilio.org. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2014.