Getting Started with SMS in Elvanto

Elvanto allows you to send SMS text messages to people and volunteers within your account. This includes general, everyday messages, and when a volunteer has been scheduled on to a service. Volunteers can also reply to messages to accept or decline being scheduled on the service. While you cannot send videos or pictures via SMS you can send links to that type of content.

What Is Required to Use SMS in Elvanto?

  1. Sign up for an SMS service. Choose from the supported third party providers below:
    1. BulkSMS
    2. Bulletin
    3. Inspirus
    4. Next Digital
    5. SMSBroadcast
    6. Twilio
    7. ViaNettSMS
  2. Connect your SMS service to your Elvanto account using our SMS integration. 
    Most SMS integrations give you some test credits, so you can run some tests from Elvanto before committing.

Pricing and Choosing an SMS Service

Pricing changes based on the SMS provider you select. SMS services generally charge per-SMS.  

Elvanto integrates with several SMS companies. Each company offers unique features, some more than others. It all comes down to what features you require and what the cost per SMS will be. We have created a chart below that highlights the features of each SMS integration we support to make this decision easier.

For more information on the terminology we have used in the table below, view Information About SMS Character Encoding, Language Support and Message Lengths.

Text Number and Sender ID

Most SMS companies will send your messages from a random number, unless you pay extra for a static number. Some companies will by default send from a static number, though. If the provider you are using sends from a static number by default, then you cannot set a Sender ID.

You can add a Sender ID to your SMS messages so that rather than sending an SMS that is received from a random mobile number (which is used by default for most SMS providers), you can send from your church name, a word, or number instead.

The only downside to a Sender ID is that these messages cannot be replied to. This is a limitation put in place by the SMS companies themselves. 

If you are sending out an SMS to recipients that does not require a reply, however, there is a tick box that you can un-tick that stops replies from being received.

Two-Way Messaging

All our SMS integrations allow ‘2-way messages’. This means that you can send an SMS message to your volunteers who are scheduled on a service and they can reply YES to confirm or NO to decline directly from their mobile phone. Even general SMS messages that are sent to people can be replied to. When our system receives the reply, it is then emailed to the original sender.

There are some limitations that can occur when using 2-way messages in Elvanto. We’ve written a separate article that has more information on this.

Connecting Your SMS Provider to Elvanto

  1. Login to your Elvanto account and navigate to the Admin Area. 
  2. Click Settings at the top right. 
  3. Under the Developers heading, select Integrations. 
  4. Click Add. A pop-up will appear with the integrations available, select SMS. 

  5. Choose your SMS Service Provider from the dropdown. 

  6. On the right of the window, instructions for your chosen provider will appear. Follow the setup instructions. The instructions that appear on the right-hand side will also include the settings needed to enable two-way SMS in Elvanto. 

Ready to send your first message? View How to Send a Test SMS to learn how to compose a message and send a test to ensure things are working as expected. 

 

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