Anyone in youth ministry knows that it’s almost impossible to get youth to check their emails these days. And while parents are much better at checking email, it’s clear that the most immediate and noticeable way to get ahold of someone is by texting them. It’s better than a phone call because they can check their messages and get back to you if they’re in a meeting, at their kid’s game, sitting at home watching Homeland or basically any other time (hopefully not while they’re driving though). But it’s been hard to find the best way to embrace texting in ministry.
Sure, you can put everyone’s phone number into your phone and just send mass texts that way, but it’s not always that easy, and if you have a decent-sized church, that can become a bit unmanageable.
Enter text messaging services.
A few years ago, I signed up with Tatango, which was a great new text-messaging start up. The cool thing was that they were really appealing to, and marketing to, small churches and non-profits. I loved their service, but just in the past year, they’ve changed their pricing structure, and unless your church can afford $499/month, they’ve priced you out.
I was annoyed, because I was just moving to Winnetka around then, and had wanted to sign up for their texting service again. When I called to talk with them about that, they did have a recommendation for me: TextMarks.
I signed up with TextMarks and have been using their services since I got here to Winnetka Presbyterian. If you’ve used Tatango in the past, it’s essentially the same service. People sign up for your groups via texting your keyword to a shortcode. You can send text alerts to your groups via the website, or from your own phone. One of the only things that I don’t really like is that if people reply to those texts, the only way to see the replies if by logging in to your account. So I’ve just been encouraging people to make sure they text MY phone number back if I’ve asked them a question and need them to get back to me.
Other than that, it’s a great service, and I’ve found their customer support to be really, really good. You can almost always reach a real person pretty quickly when you call. And if you call them, they’d probably give you the promo code they gave me back in August for their $19/month plan for non-profits and churches.
So there you go. I’m not being paid to write this review, and I’m not getting any affiliate links or anything. I just have really enjoyed their services over the past few months. If you’re looking for an easy way to text youth, this might be a good option to at least try for a free month.