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How to run a mobile advocacy campaign
October 28, 2008

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Why SMS?

In a 'mobile advocacy campaign,' your organisation develops a communication strategy that incorporates the sending of text messages to your members' mobile phone numbers. There are many reasons why you might want to do this. Texting gets the attention of your members as it is delivered to a device they carry wherever they go - their mobile phone. It opens up channels for speedy, affordable two-way communications with your members. And in many contexts, more people have access to a mobile phone than they do to email or the Internet. Importantly, they don't have to be at work or go to an Internet café to get your communications.

However, SMS also has some constraints, and it is important to bear these in mind in your work. A text message can contain only 160 characters , which limits how much you can say. This makes SMS a great tool for getting people to meetings and events, prompting them to act on an issue you've already informed them about, or directing them to alternate sources of more information about an issue. Remember, mobile numbers can also change owners - if someone sells their line or gives it to a friend, you may have people getting your messages who aren't the same people who originally subscribed.

SMS should be used to supplement an organisation's other communications methods, not replace them altogether.

There are essentially four key components to running a Mobile Advocacy Campaign:

  • a creative outreach and publicity campaign to attract subscribers
  • selecting the most appropriate technology and/or SMS gateway
  • securing the budget and resources to implement the mobile advocacy campaign
  • integrating SMS within your communications strategy

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