Text messaging with NationBuilder

People are on their phones 24/7. Meet them where they are with text keywords, 1-1 texts and text blasts, and receive SMS in your nation.

Updated over a week ago

📌 Note: Text Messages are available as add-ons. For more information on adding new features please see the add-ons page in your nation.

Table of Contents

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Where to start (Enable text messaging)

📌 Note: SMS text features are available to customers in the U.S. and Canada. Depending on your plan type, 350 texts/month are included free, and more can be purchased.

To use text messaging, you will have to set up a phone number in your nation. Determine how many text messages to send and receive per month by clicking on your profile icon > Contacts and billing > Plan

Select your text messages limit from the dropdown menu within the plan description. 

Then click Choose this Plan.

The text limit you choose is a count of incoming as well as outgoing texts. So, if you were using a text blast to collect RSVPs, your text interaction would consist of the original blast, the RSVP, and a confirmation text. This interaction would count as 3 texts towards your total. If you exceed your text limit, you will be automatically upgraded to the next pricing tier.

Please note that 350 texts per month are included in the Team plan and above. Sending and receiving more texts will incur an additional cost. Please take a moment to review text pricing before making your selection.

Broadcaster text message settings

Several aspects of the text message experience are defined in Communication > [Broadcaster name] > Settings > Texting. All of these settings are optional.

1. Completing the supporter's profile- Each time a supporter uses a text keyword to contact your nation, the system will try to collect profile details before sending the supporter the autoresponse created with the keyword. You can choose to ask for name, email, and physical address. By default, only name and email are requested when someone sends a text message.

If you ask for address, then decide how precise the address needs to be. The precision requested can be:

  • City

  • Zip

  • Street address

How the contact information requested is determined by the location of your nation. Under your profile icon > Contacts and billing, if your nation is located in Canada, post code will be requested. For Canadian nations, post code is requested rather than zip code. In Settings > Nation defaults > Basics, if the default control panel language is French, these details will be requested in that language.

2. Assign a point person. Point person assignment is only completed if the supporter does not already have a point person.

3. Tag people who send text messages. Use a comma to separate tags. Tags can include spaces. The tag(s) will be added the first time a person sends a text message to a broadcaster.

4. Add people who text message to a path step. When a person sends a text message, she will be added to the path step defined in these settings.

📌 Note: Due to new carrier (ATT/Verizon/Sprint/etc.) requirements, we now include the Broadcaster’s name in the JOIN/STOP text keyword autoresponses. Previously, we did not include any specific information about the broadcaster or nation in the confirmation messages for these. They now read:JOIN: “Thanks for joining <Broadcaster Name> alerts! Msg frequency may vary, msg&data rates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel.”STOP: “You are unsubscribed from <Broadcaster Name>. No more messages will be sent.”

An example texting path:

Path name: Text opt-in.

Path steps: Prospective mobile supporter, Attended event with keyword push, Texted broadcaster.

You could then abandon the path if the supporter opts out of texting. Automated path movement can move someone forward on a path; it can never move someone backward. So if a supporter is on an earlier step, she will be sent to the step indicated in broadcaster settings. If the supporter is not on the path, she will be added to the path at this step. If she is already on this step or if she is at a step farther along the path, no change will occur.

5. Click Save text settings to save changes made.

Pre-assigned keywords to subscribe and unsubscribe

The following words are pre-assigned and cannot be added to a specific page.

A supporter can opt into receiving text messages by sending a text that begins with one of these words:

  • Subscribe

  • Signup

  • Add

  • Start

  • Join

Like email blasts, supporters must opt into receiving a text blast from your broadcaster.

An opt in checkbox is provided on every action page where you ask for a phone number.

A supporter can opt out of texting by sending a text that begins with one of these words:

  • Unsubscribe

  • Remove

  • Stop

  • Quit

  • End

You can also manually unsubscribe a profile from text blasting. Go to the profile > Edit. Uncheck the box next to “Receive text messages.” Click Save person.

Send a text blast

Use text blasts to send nation updates to your supporters. Or, use them to coordinate small groups of people. For example, if you have a team working at an event, you can send text blasts to the team to give them updates as the day goes on.

You can set up a text blast by selecting "New text blast" from the dropdown menu on your Broadcaster dashboard.

1. Enter a slug. The slug will act as the name of your text. 

2. Enter the content for your blast. You have 160 characters for your text. We recommend including the default “txt STOP to leave” so your recipients know how to opt out of your text blasts. Characters can include letters, numerical values, spaces, and punctuation marks.

📌 Note: If you are sending a text with one or more non-GSM characters, limit your text to 70 characters or less. If your text goes over 70 characters, your text will still send, but it will automatically split into separate messages of 70 characters or less.

3. If you want to include a URL in your text, you can shorten it by clicking Generate shortened link. In addition to saving characters, shortened links also track clicks from recipients, which you can see in the "Text" tab of a broadcaster.

4. Click Preview and choose recipients.

4. You will be taken to a new screen where you can select recipients based on a list, tag, or saved filter. Click Save recipients.

5. To send the text go to the Preview screen. Send the text by clicking Send text now to X people.

You may also preview the text blast by entering your phone number in the text box and clicking Send Test Text.

Schedule the text by clicking Schedule text blast

To review the results of text blasts go to Texting > Blasts. You can see the number of responses, unsubscribes, and failed sends. 

📌 Note: If some of the numbers on your list are not mobile lines, the "Sent" stat will be lower. Only phones that receive text messages are reflected in the "Sent" and "Received" stats.

Send a 1:1 text message

Use 1:1 messages to send a text message to a supporter directly from the control panel or easily text back a supporter who responded to a blast, to answer their questions and share helpful information.

To start sending:

  1. Navigate to the profile of the person you’d like to contact

  2. Scroll down to find a new “Text” tab on the dashboard

  3. Select the broadcaster you want to send from, compose your message and click “Send text”

Your message will get logged on the activity feed of the profile.

Receive text messages

View incoming text keywords at your Broadcaster > Texting > Incoming.

You can see the name, text, and time when the text was received. You can also see what action and page is associated with the text.

 📌 Note: Multi-media texts and messages exceeding 1,600 characters will not render in received messages.

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