Information About Using 2-way SMS Messaging

2-way SMS Messaging allows volunteers to reply with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to confirm or decline being scheduled for a service. It also allows people to reply to SMS messages sent from your Elvanto account. However, there are some limitations to this feature. We recommend you familiarize yourself with these limitations before choosing SMS as your method of contact. These limitations will not stop you from being able to send SMS messages, but they will help you make more strategic decisions before sending. We hope that in the future, SMS companies find ways to improve this service and remove these limitations.

Using a Sender ID

What is a Sender ID?

  • A Sender ID allows you to send SMS messages from a recognizable word or number instead of a random mobile number.
  • Note that recipients cannot reply to messages sent from a Sender ID, even if it is a mobile number.

Setting up a Sender ID

  1. Add a Sender ID: Navigate to Settings > Communication > SMS Settings.
  2. Enable Replies: If you want to receive replies, leave the "Allow Replies" checkbox ticked. This will send your SMS from a random mobile number.
  3. Disable Replies: If you do not need replies, uncheck the "Allow Replies" checkbox. Your message will be sent from the Sender ID.

Sending SMS to Volunteers for Confirmation

How it Works

  • Send SMS messages to volunteers asking them to reply with "Yes" or "No" to confirm or decline their service schedule.
  • Replies are sent back to your SMS provider, which forwards them to Elvanto.


  1. Multiple Messages to a Volunteer:

    • If a volunteer is scheduled for multiple services and receives more than one SMS, their reply will update the most recent service scheduled.
    • Example: If scheduled for Friday 6pm and Sunday 8am, a reply to the Friday 6pm message will update the Sunday 8am service.
  2. Shared Mobile Numbers:

    • If two family members share the same mobile number, replies will not specify which member is responding.
    • This can cause issues if multiple family members serve.

Handling SMS Replies

  • Non-Yes/No Replies: If a reply does not contain "Yes" or "No", Elvanto will email the reply to the person who last sent the SMS message.
  • Multiple Senders: If two messages are sent from different people, a reply to the first message will be sent to the second sender.


There are limitations with 2-way SMS messaging due to the information provided by SMS companies. We hope these limitations will improve over time. If you have further questions, feel free to contact our support team for assistance.

Setting Up a Dedicated SMS Number

  • Replies to SMS Messages: We allow replies to any SMS messages you send out, which is useful for confirming volunteer schedules.
  • Random Numbers: SMS providers use random numbers unless you purchase a dedicated number. Multiple numbers may be used, preventing recipients from saving the number.
  • No Replies Needed: If no reply is required, uncheck the "Allow Replies" checkbox. If a Sender ID is set up in your settings (Settings > Integrations), it will be used instead of a random number.

For further assistance on setting up a dedicated number or understanding these limitations, please contact our support team.