It seems like the more communication channels you have, the harder it is for your messages to catch people’s attention. Notifications go ignored, voicemails are never checked, and emails get lost in spam folders. Could church texting companies be the answer you’re looking for to keep your members updated?
Surveys show that text messages are seen well over 90% of the time. They’re also fast and easy to respond to, making them perfect for quick updates or questions.
However, it’s crucial to use proper texting etiquette and find the best mass texting service for your unique needs. Check out this review of seven top church texting companies to consider. But first, let’s cover some key definitions and features you need to know about texting services.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Table of contents
- Mass Texting Companies Features You Need to Know
- How Much Do Church Texting Companies Cost?
- 7 Church Texting Companies to Consider
- Factors to Consider When Choosing a Church Texting Company
- Mass Texting for Churches FAQs
Mass Texting Companies Features You Need to Know
There’s a whole new set of terminology to be familiar with when it comes to mass texting services. Here are the most important definitions to understand before you start looking at the features offered by specific companies.
Autoresponder: This setting will automatically reply to people who text your church number with a preset message. This is perfect for giving people directions or next steps.
Drip Campaigns: A drip campaign is a series of automated texts sent out over time. This could be a welcome series for new church members or reminders for church events.
Group texting: This feature allows you to send one text message to multiple people simultaneously. Great for church-wide announcements or segmented groups.
Keyword: A keyword is a word or phrase that people can text to your church number to subscribe to your text messages. Examples are “give”, “pray” or “connectnow”. Once people have subscribed with the keyword, they’ll start receiving any texts that you send out to that group.
Opt-in: Opting in means subscribing to a church’s text messages. Usually done by texting a keyword to the church’s number to opt-in.
Opt-out: Opting out is unsubscribing from a church’s text messages. Texting “STOP” to the church’s number is the typical method for opting out.
Shortcode: A shortcode is a five or six-digit number that people can text to subscribe or unsubscribe from a church’s text messages.
SMS: SMS stands for short message service, and it’s the technology that allows text messages to be sent and received.
MMS: MMS stands for multimedia message service, and it’s the technology that allows images, videos, and other types of media to be sent and received via text message.
How Much Do Church Texting Companies Cost?
One of the top questions when it comes to signing up with a texting company is: How much do we need to budget for this?
Unfortunately, because many texting companies have different features and pricing structures, it’s challenging to compare apples to apples. In addition, some companies strictly offer text messages, while others include options like email and chat.
Pricing is typically charged monthly or annually and based on some of the following factors:
Contacts: Most companies charge for the number of contacts in your account. This is the total number of people who have opted-in to receive your texts.
Messages: Companies also charge based on the number of messages you send. In some cases, you may be able to send an unlimited number of messages to a certain set of contacts. After that, there can be a per-message charge.
Keywords: Some companies also limit the number of keywords in your account. With higher pricing tiers, you’ll have more keywords available to you.
Accounts or Subaccounts: A few companies also charge based on the number of subaccounts you create. These allow different levels of editing and sending privileges for multiple team members. For example, you may need access for various departments in your church or different campuses.
Type of messages: The last way companies can charge for their services is the type of message you send. This could be standard SMS messages, MMS messages, or even international messages.
7 Church Texting Companies to Consider
This list covers some texting companies specifically tailored to churches. Of course, you can also use a general texting service – and they may even have the robust features you’re looking for at the best price.
However, a lot has been written about those general texting companies elsewhere, so here we’re going to cover companies specifically tailored to churches. We encourage you to check out the websites of companies you’re interested in for pricing specifics because they can change at any time.
Clearstream has worked with thousands of churches, from new church plants to large churches like Churchome, Shoreline City, and NewSpring.
They offer an all-in-one platform that includes text messaging, live chat, and email marketing. This includes text-to-join keywords, personalized messaging, and two-way communication.
Clearstream integrates with MailChimp, Church Community Builder, Rock RMS, and Planning Center.
You can sign up for a free trial on their website. Clearstream also offers custom pricing for church plants, including a free one-year account after planting. After that, there are eight different plans ranging from church plant to large church and high volume.
2. Tithe.ly Messaging
Tithe.ly is best known for its church giving software, but they offer a variety of tools for church management software, messaging, events, apps, and more.
Messaging is Tithe.ly’s text and email newsletter software.
The email features a drag and drop email builder, a template library, and an integrated stock image library. Texting includes two-way messaging, text blasts, and automated campaigns.
Messaging starts at $19 per month and includes 500 SMS messages. Additional SMS messages can be purchased in bundles for $10 per 500 SMS text messages
Tithe.ly also offers an All Access plan. You can pay a monthly fee for a bundle that includes multiple Tithe.ly products, including Online Giving, Events, Church App, Sites, Messaging, and Church Management.
3. Flock Note
Flock Note is one of the oldest church texting services and has been around over a decade. They have worked with 9000 churches over the years. Their model also matches a diocese or archdiocese structure and equips parishes with communication tools.
Services include Flocknote People, a database system, email, and text messaging. This includes email templates and a content library for text and images.
All plans include unlimited text messages and emails with one free keyword. Pricing plans are based on the number of members. Flocknote People has a flat monthly fee and offers a free 30-day trial.
Trumpia is a texting service that works with a variety of businesses and non-profits. They also have a page specifically tailored to churches and have worked with a number of smaller and larger churches, including Fellowship Church and Hillsong.
Trumpia has robust product services, including SMS texting, picture messaging, two-way messaging, landline texting, auto-responses, appointment reminders, automated messaging, and more. You can also add more advanced features and automated workflows to your plan.
A free trial with Trumpia includes 100 SMS and 100 email credits, one automated workflow, and two data sets. Core plans offer unlimited keywords and contacts. Monthly or annual pricing is based on the number of SMS and email messages you plan to send.
The PastorsLine is a church-driven company for mass texting. PastorsLine features allow you to automatically create and manage groups, send personalized messages like birthday wishes, conduct polls, surveys, and contests.
PastorsLine offers voice messaging and voice call forwarding. It also offers 2-way integration with Church Community Builder and Planning Center.
You can try a full access free trial for 30 days with 500 messages. Paid plans are based on the number of messages sent, number of phone numbers, and premium integrations. Plans come with unlimited regular keywords for local 10-digit numbers and limited numbers of premium shortcode keywords based on the plan.
Premium integrations include Rebrandly, breeze, MailChimp, Church Community Builder, Planning Center, and Tithely.
6. Text in Church
Text in Church boasts simple processes and 1-click integrations with Church Community Builder, Planning Center, and Mail Chimp. They offer a Smart Connect Card feature that allows people to plan a visit to your church.
The Text in Church automated workflow has a six-week follow-up system of emails and text messages, including reminders to staff to personally connect with guests.
They currently offer three plans, which all offer a 14-day free trial. Plans are based on the number of texts per month and include unlimited contact records and emails. In addition, the free trials have live strategy calls, a private online community, a communication pro pack, done-for-you templates, and access to an on-demand video training library.
ChurchCast is a company that specializes exclusively in church texting. They’re a multichannel communications platform that offers voice, email, and SMS services and a branch of High Ground Solutions that serves businesses, government, non-profits, and ministries.
Their texting services help leaders connect with members, visitors, and ministry partners. The ChurchCast solution integrates with your church information systems, social media, panic buttons, RSS feeds, and more.
They have a variety of pricing tiers, all of which include unlimited messages, keywords, and contacts. In addition, they offer a free 30-day trial so you can test out their services before you buy.
Additional Options for Texting in Church
If you’re looking for other reputable texting companies, you may want to research Twilio, SimpleTexting, and EZ Texting. Their services were not specifically created for texting in churches but have great features and they have experience working with non-profits and churches. For example, Saddleback Church in California has used EZ Texting.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Church Texting Company
So now that you’ve looked through these options for church texting companies, what factors play into the final decision?
As you assess how your church will use mass texting, ask the following questions to compare options.
- Price – How affordable is the company’s pricing?
- Features – What features are offered, and are they robust enough to fit the church’s needs?
- Ease of Use – Is it simple to use the texting software?
- Customer Service – How responsive and helpful is the company’s customer service?
- Storage Capacity – How much text data can be stored with the company?
- Integrations – Does the company integrate with other church software?
- Ratings – Does the company have good reviews, testimonials, and ratings on sites like Capterra and G2 Crowd?
Mass Texting for Churches FAQs
How do mass texting services work?
Mass texting services work by allowing you to send one text message to a large group of people at once. The church texting service will have a contact list of church members that you can upload or build as people opt-in, and then you can easily send texts to the entire group or to specific subgroups.
You can log in through an online platform or app (not every company offers an app) to set up keywords, autoresponders and compose and schedule messages.
How do people sign up to receive mass texts?
There are a few ways that church members can sign up to receive texts from your church. The first is that you can manually add their phone numbers to the contact list yourself. The second is that church members can text a keyword to a short code number, automatically opting them in to receive messages. The third is to set up an automated system where church members are automatically added to the contact list when they sign up for an event or membership.
What do I need to be aware of from a legal standpoint?
There are a few legal considerations to be aware of when mass texting church members:
- Get explicit consent from church members to text them. You should have their opt-in permission before adding them to your contact list.
- Include an opt-out option so that church members can unsubscribe at any time.
- Be sure to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, which includes having a physical address in your email messages and not using false or misleading information.
What are some best practices for texting in churches?
There are a few best practices to keep in mind when mass texting church members. First, make sure to keep your messages short and to the point. Also, be sure to send messages at the appropriate times of day and limit the total number of messages people get in a week. Only send relevant and timely messages that will bring value to people.
Church texting is a great way to communicate with church members and keep them up-to-date on church news and events. By choosing the right church texting company, you can ensure that your church’s communications are efficient, affordable, and effective.
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