5-ways-to-keep-church-ministries-organized

College-age gatherings. Youth groups. Music ministries. Sunday school classes. Home Bible studies. Staff meetings.

Churches really do have a lot going on! How is it possible to keep everything coordinated and make sure everyone is up to date with dates, schedules, details?

Here are some ideas of things you can do to keep church ministries organized!

  1. Delegate

One mistake a lot of people make (especially young people) is to try to do everything on their own! But usually there are plenty of people in your congregation who would be willing to help if you would just ask.

Other people need to be involved, and not only does delegating help get people involved but it helps ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Otherwise you can spread yourself too thin.

  1. Put schedules online

These days everything is web-based. If you need people to remember dates, times, or events, it is best to put the info online somewhere, whether it’s on your website, your social media page, or on a third-party app.

For example, my church uses Planning Center to help coordinate schedules for our music ministry. Anytime I’m wondering what dates I’m scheduled to play piano for the church service, I can just log on and check the schedule. Keeping schedules online really does help eliminate a lot of hassle and confusion.

  1. Send the newsletter in an email

Many churches put out a paper newsletter, which is great! But why not put out an email newsletter as well? I know that it is much more useful for me to have the content of the newsletter available for easy access from my phone’s email inbox rather than having to keep track of a physical piece of paper.

Your email newsletter can be as simple as copying and pasting the newsletter content into a normal email, or you can use a product like SendGrid to design a more professional-looking newsletter.

  1. Interact on social media

Use your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts to promote events, post ministry needs, share prayer requests, or communicate any other kind of pertinent info.

If your congregation is interested, there is even a church-specific social media site called The City that you can set up so that your congregation has their own particular social media network to stay connected.

  1. Send out text alerts

Texting is the best way to get info out quickly and to make sure that people actually see what you’re trying to communicate. Use a mass texting system to organize your congregation’s numbers and send them texts.

You can use text alerts to remind people of events, make announcements, send Bible verses—anything that helps keep things organized and improves connections among your church members!

These are just a few helpful tips to keep church ministries organized for you and your church members. Go out, put these into practice, and watch the results!

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9

how-text-alerts-can-save-a-relationship

[Disclaimer: This is not a true story and is not meant to be taken seriously]

Hi, my name is Jefferson, and this is the tragedy of how my first relationship fell apart.

You’d think that my experience almost getting murdered with a pencil would have taught me to keep my phone on me at all times. As it turns out, I’m a slow learner.

See, I met this girl (yes, a girl!!) in my sociology class. Her name is Natalie. She is, in all honesty, of average looks and intelligence but beggars can’t be choosers so I was ok with that!

Anyway, one day she started noticing me—like really noticing. She would make all kinds of comments to me, but I don’t know much about women so I couldn’t really tell if she was flirting or if she just liked to talk. Probably both.

So she kept talking to me and I kept listening and eventually somehow we ended up going on a date of sorts. I’m still not 100% sure how that came about; it was all kind of a blur.

I said I would take her out but her stipulation was that she got to choose the restaurant. I was thinking McDonald’s, but she picked some fancy place that cost like $30 for an entree. My dad had given me some cash for textbooks and emergencies; I figured I was on my first date ever and didn’t want to blow it, so that surely qualified as an emergency.

While we were eating at the restaurant, Natalie kept going on and on about how much she loved UGG boots (all I could think about was why would a manufacturer call their product “UGG”?). Eventually she asked me if I would buy her a pair.

I pulled out my wallet and saw that I had $20 left over, plus I knew I had at least $30 spending money available in my checking account (who needs textbooks, right?). I thought surely $50 would be enough to pay for a pair of UGGly boots.

Sure, $50 was a lot of money, but I had never had any sort of girlfriend before so I figured this was what guys were supposed to do on dates.

We ended up at some clothing store at the mall and when I saw the price of those boots, my jaw about fell out of joint in shock.

Let’s just say it was more than $50.

I had to tell her I couldn’t afford to buy those boots, and it was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. She glared at me, told me loudly she knew she shouldn’t have gone out with me, and stormed off in a huff.

Everyone in the store stared at me as my face turned tomato-beet-red. I thought about running out but was paralyzed, glued to the floor, eyes wide and mouth hanging open like I was stupid or something.

Eventually I made it back to the dorms somehow, certain that Natalie had already told everyone in the whole school what had happened. Were people staring at me more than usual? Everywhere I looked I swore I could see people whispering to each other about me, pointing at me, giggling.

At last I made it to my own room and discovered that my phone still sat on my desk—apparently I had forgotten to take it with me on our “date.”

With great reluctance I checked my text messages, certain I would find an angry text from Natalie or a text from somebody at school making fun of me for being a cheapskate.

What I found was worse: a text alert from a local retailer letting me know that there was an overstock of UGG boots and that I could show the text at checkout to get 50% off.

Thus, I learned that remembering to bring your phone could save a relationship. And I never forgot to bring my phone anywhere ever again.

Save a relationship! Get a text alert system today. 🙂

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9

We live in an era of memes.

What is a meme?  Wikipedia defines it as “an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet.”

If you are on Facebook or any other social media you will have noticed that memes pop up everywhere.  There are simple memes, detailed memes, short memes, long memes, visual memes, textual memes.

People share memes, comment on them, “like” them, and often create their own.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share 10 popular memes from Memes.com.

1. Choose a major you love

Most memes are meant to be short, simple, and funny.  This is an example that holds a sad yet comical semblance of truth:

major

 

2. Killer flamingos

This meme adds more of a visual element than the previous one, but follows along the same short and humorous style:

flamingos

 

3. The sandwich thief

Though most memes are short and sweet, some are a bit more elaborate.  This is one of those:

sandwich-thief

 

4. Tea chart

Some memes actually contain useful information!  Like this one about different kinds of teas and what symptoms they supposedly help treat:

tea

 

5. English is confusing

English is confusing but puns are fun!  This meme is one that I’m sure I’ve seen shared around a few times:

english-meme

 

6. Peter Pan pun

The puns never end!  This dog has become a welcome and humorous presence on social media:

peter-pan

 

7. T-rex hugs

Some memes are meant to be more cutesy.  So for anyone who likes that kind of thing, here ya go:

t-rex

 

8. Kid-designed stuffed animals

This meme displays some toys created from the designs of kids themselves.  How unique!

kids-toys

 

9. Can’t sink a ship

Some memes aim for inspiration rather than humor.  For example:

ocean

 

10. The joys of fatherhood

And we’ll end with another funny one:

dad

 

Memes can be annoying, yes, but they can be fun too!  What are your favorite memes?

 

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9

12-more-quotes-to-inspire-communication

Call it “getting stuck.”

Call it “writer’s block” or being “caught in a rut.”

Whatever you want to call it, it happens to us all.  We’re committed to a task and then all of a sudden we get to a point at which we have no idea what to do next.

Not to worry, I know you can press forward!  If you’re stuck in some kind of communication rut, I’ve compiled 12 more quotes to help you get un-stuck.

As you’ll see, this list of quotes comes from people of all ages and walks of life – from young actresses to ancient philosophers to U.S. presidents.  We all need to communicate, and these are meant to help inspire communication.

  • “Words are but the signs of ideas.” –Samuel Johnson, English author, 18th century
  • “When you stop talking, you’ve lost your customer.” –Estee Lauder, American businesswoman, 20th century
  • “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” –Plato, Greek philosopher, 4th-5th century B.C.
  • “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist, 19th-20th century
  • “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” –Winston Churchill, English statesman, early 20th century
  • “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” –Hans Hofmann, German artist, early 20th century
  • “My belief is that communication is the best way to create strong relationships.” –Jada Pinkett Smith, American actress, contemporary
  • “Syllables govern the world.” –George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist, 19th-20th century
  • “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” –George Herbert, British poet, 17th century
  • “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” –Epictetus, Greek philospher, 1st-2nd century
  • “Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.” –Carol Burnett, American actress, contemporary
  • “I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.” –Calvin Coolidge, American president, early 20th century

Now, keep in mind that all of this is just advice.  Only you know how to communicate with your audience.  So take the best pieces of advice that work for you and apply them!

You have the power of words on hand.  Take it, use it carefully, and run with it!

What is your best piece of advice for sending text alerts, or for communication in general?

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Is texting meaningful and creative

Texting can be “meaningful” and “creative.”

So says Mitchell Abrams from the Binghamton University student group known as Pipe Dream.

That’s a far cry from what we sometimes hear about texting – that it makes it harder for our generation to know how to spell or to know how to communicate.

Is Mr. Abrams correct? Is texting a help or a hindrance? Does it hurt or aid communication abilities?

Here I will examine Abrams’s statements and critique his conclusion that, “Contrary to popular opinion, the digital medium does not degrade the English language.”

Texting Criticism

First, Abrams points out how texting bears the brunt of much criticism. The notion that texting encourages misspellings and bad grammar leads many to believe that texting in general negatively impacts our ability to use correct spelling and grammar when necessary.

In short, the concern is that texting “[degrades] the English language for our youth” and will “make us illiterate.”

I find Abrams’s description of the concerns regarding texting to be accurate but slightly exaggerated. Based on my own personal perceptions and experience, more and more people text frequently, from all generations. It’s no longer just a phenomenon among youth but among older millennials, the middle-aged, and even the elderly.

That being said, his point about society’s perceptions that texting denigrates our language is valid, as that does seem to be an attitude among people today.

Incorrect Spelling Does Not Equal an Incorrect Understanding of How to Use English

Next, Abrams states his belief that the popular notion regarding the negatives of texting is false: “…the way I spell in text messages doesn’t reflect my literacy skills.”

I can definitely relate to him in his statements here. In general I try to avoid misspellings and grammar errors when texting, but sometimes I deliberately make grammatical errors (such as not capitalizing abbreviations like “lol” or leaving out commas in a sentence) for one reason or another.

I agree with Abrams in recognizing that just because a word is misspelled or grammar norms are broken in a text message does not mean that the user misunderstands the correct spelling or grammar.

Abrams asserts that texting is “highly misunderstood and lacks research” and therefore has an unfair stigma attached to it.

A Project

In order to prove the stigma wrong, Abrams set up a project on the campus of Binghamton University, so that he could study the text messages of students.

One problem I have with his approach is that his premise is biased from the get-go: he wants to prove the stigma wrong. Therefore all of his conclusions must be taken with a grain of salt because they are obviously processed through that anti-stigma lens.

Nevertheless, he does make some interesting points. After analyzing 589 text message patterns he concludes that many misspellings in the students’ text messages were deliberate and served a pragmatic purpose. And most of the time the students didn’t actually use these “respellings,” proving that they do in fact know how to spell words correctly.

Abrams concludes that “you need to have an understanding of the original form before you can manipulate it in a meaningful way.”

I think that his point is a good one. The way I use unconventional grammar or spelling in text messages is usually with a specific purpose in mind. I may not necessarily be consciously aware of that purpose, but I might say “yep” instead of “yes” if I want to convey a certain tone or come across in a specific way.

The Conclusion

Abrams’s final conclusion is this: “Instead of criticizing and deriding [texting], we should be embracing this modern form of communication as another way for human beings to express themselves and relate to one another.”

I think Abrams makes some good points and brings up things I never would have thought about otherwise, albeit he is perhaps a bit too strong on some of these points. But in the end, texting really is an interesting method of communication, with room for a lot of meaning and creativity!

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9

how-pilots-text-to-communicate

We text everywhere.

At home. At work. At the mall. At school. At church.

Sometimes it seems like we glue our eyes to our devices. But one place they still make you turn off your phone is on an airplane.

But what if you could text on an airplane?

Pilots are doing just that—but they’re not texting their wife or mom.  Learn how pilots text to communicate!

An airplane texting tale

“Airline pilots and air traffic controllers are on schedule to switch to text communications at most of the nation’s busiest airports by the end of the year,” reports ABC News. This change will potentially “reduce delays, prevent errors and save billions of dollars in fuel cost.”

Air traffic communication through radio suffers from some efficiency issues. With radio, words must be spelled out meticulously using military alphabet code—alpha for A, Charlie for C, etc.

As can be expected, this method of communicating takes up a lot of time. This can be problematic, especially when time is of the essence.

New technology allows instead for air traffic communicators to type in a message into a computer and send it directly to the pilot’s cockpit display. This process of messaging will increase efficiency and save time for everyone involved!

According to Chicago Tribune, “Data Comm [the text messaging program] is already in use at 45 airports and should be available at 11 more by the end of the year.” The system as of now is not used for “in-flight communications” but rather for “on-the-ground messages.”

What does this mean?

Learning how pilots text provides even more evidence that text-based communication continues to overtake voice as the preferred means of communication in many surprising industries. Businesses finally realize the power of texting and adjust accordingly.

It’s time to catch up with the times and let go of outdated notions that texting is unprofessional!

This is one instance in which the “everybody else is doing it” mantra actually applies.

Try a free test text alert system today at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/signup

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9

how-to-use-sms-to-maximize-your-other-marketing-channels-1

SMS is already a great way to market to your customers. But what about using it to help maximize your other channels? Particularly where social media is concerned, SMS can be a great way to drive more engagement with existing campaigns. Here are some ideas to try.

 

Use SMS as a hook to social

Got something exciting going on over on Facebook? Are you running a giveaway on Instagram? Or do you just want to remind people to follow you over on Twitter? Create a great hook through your SMS marketing to direct customers to your social channels. This is important because casual users may not look at their social apps every day, and may miss particular posts or calls to action. Driving them there through something they look at every day – their phone messages – will provide a much more effective push.

 

Reuse your media

Got a great graphic that is going viral on social media? How about a short advert on your YouTube channel that you can turn into a much smaller gif? Don’t be afraid to reuse your content by firing it off as an MMS. Most things will work with only a small amount of tweaking to the format, and it’s a great way to get extra mileage. If you have spent a fortune on a campaign, there’s no sense in wasting it by only using it once.

 

Create urgency

When you are running a contest or a limited-time offer, it can be tough to make sure it is seen by enough people before time runs out. Create urgency by sending out text messages that remind everyone of the deadline. Keep it short and sweet – after all, you want to drive them to the right landing page or channel where the main work is taking place. When there is a limited time until they miss their chance, customers may appreciate getting an alert to let them know where to check.

 

Text to win

So far we’re talking about you texting your customers, but what about getting them to text you? You can integrate SMS with a social campaign by having a post that asks them to text in to a certain number at a certain time. They might have to give the answer to a question, send you a photo, or any other creative idea you can come up with. Make it interactive by having personalised MMS messages go back, letting them know whether they have won or lost – or even giving them the next part of the challenge.

 

Call to action

An SMS is short, direct, and hard to ignore. That’s why it makes a great call to action. Even though you are asking them to engage with another channel instead of the SMS itself, this can be a great motivator for action, and will give good results. Think of an SMS as a way to pass on news about any and all channels – just like the way a group of friends might text each other and say “hey, have you seen this yet?”. Overusing SMS to pull in views on every single campaign you run would be a mistake however, as this can cause customers to become desensitised to your texts. You want to keep that impression that you only text for important things, as this increases the likelihood of action!

 

By using SMS in conjunction with your other marketing channels, you can increase the efficacy of all of them. It’s a fine balance, but when you get it right, you can increase engagement hugely.

About the author: Elizabeth Lee is an experienced blogger with background in marketing, currently supporting PACK & SEND. Elizabeth is particularly keen on learning about new ways of reaching a wider audience and promoting a business online.

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9

how-banks-use-text-alerts-to-increase-account-security

What steps are your bank taking to increase account security?

What if your bank texted you?

Maybe you’ve already experienced this—it seems more and more banks turn to texting to alert customers regarding their accounts.

Even banks on the other side of the world have begun implementing this kind of service for their customers.  This article from Gulf News Journal lists several ways that banks use text alerts to increase your account security:

  1. Account withdrawals

In terms of account security, the ability to receive a text every time a withdrawal is made on your account is an awesome service.

My own bank even allows me to set a threshold if I don’t want to receive a notification for every withdrawal. For example, I can set it so that every withdrawal over $100 triggers a notification to my phone.

  1. Credit card use

Not only can receiving text alerts when you use your credit card help combat fraud, it can also help you curb your spending!

You can put the kibosh on credit card fraud as soon as it rears its ugly head if you’re conscious of the charges being incurred on your card.

  1. ATM withdrawals

Some banks allow you to receive text alerts specifically whenever an ATM withdrawal is made. This way you’ll know immediately if someone hacks into your account through an ATM.

  1. Online/mobile app withdrawals

You can be alerted when someone withdraws money from your account online or through a mobile app. You don’t need to be as worried about the safety of online banking if you receive these kinds of notifications!

 

And the following text alert methods can reduce fraud by helping you keep track of all the activity that goes on in your account:

  1. Automatic withdrawals

If you have automatic payments set up for your account, you can receive text alerts when these payments go through.

This will allow you to not only track your auto-payments but also catch any fraudulent payments early on.

  1. Service charges

Through text alerts, keep track of any services charges incurred.

  1. Loan repayments

Some banks send notifications regarding loans and loan repayments so that you will never lose track of your payments again.

  1. Transfers

Be notified of transfers made between your accounts or cards.

 

As implied, not only can these alerts do much to increase account security, they can also be an enormous aid to helping you keep track of your own banking activity!

Texting really is a convenient way to increase account security and have the best banking experience.

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9

 

5-awesome-upgrades-improve-text-alert-experience

Text version: 5 Awesome Upgrades to Enhance Your Text Alert Experience

The ability to send out mass text messages with the click of your mouse or the tap of your finger is extremely useful.  But did you know you have some awesome upgrades to your text alert system?  Here are some upgrades to enhance your text alert experience.

1. Shortcode Keywords

Shortcode keywords allow your potential subscribers to text in to a short 5 digit number to subscribe to your text messages.

This can make it much easier for people to subscribe and can increase subscription rates!

More information on shortcodes can be found here: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/blog/introducing-shortcodes/

2. MMS Messages

MMS messages allow you to attach images or other media to go along with your texts.

Perfect for people who want to connect with their audience using visuals!

More information on MMS can be found here: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/mms

3. Phone Alerts

Sometimes a phone call is more appropriate than a text message.

Phone alerts allow you to record an audio message and then send it out to multiple subscribers at once!

More information on phone alerts can be found here: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/phone-alerts

4. Mobile Surveys

Trying to collect your subscribers’ opinions via calling, emailing, etc. can be tough.

People often ignore your request, forget about it, and move on with their lives.

With mobile surveys, however, it is easy for people to respond quickly.

The survey question gets delivered directly to their text message inbox.  Responses are collected and tallied easily for you.

5. Text-to-speech

Text-to-speech allows you to type out a message and have that message be converted to speech for your recipients.  The system will call your recipients’ phones and read the message out loud.  Yet another awesome way to connect with your group!

 

Please contact us at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/contact for more information!

Try a free text alert trial today!

 

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9

why-you-should-send-text-alert-scores-this-fall

Fall is officially here!

Fall is a favorite time of year for many people. Leaves change colors and descend from the trees. The air turns brisk. Stores promote pumpkin-flavored everything. Jackets come out of the closet and become an item of apparel worn daily.

With fall come a lot of fun events: pumpkin patch outings, cozy bonfires, costume parties, Thanksgiving celebrations. But fall also signals the beginning of one of the most well-loved American traditions.

Football.

Our Love for Football

People across America tune in religiously week after week to watch their favorite teams go at it. We make events out of these games, including lots of snacks, drinks, friends, family members, cheers, groans, and shouts.

In a word, it’s a lot of fun.

One poll even found that 67% of Americans consider football to be the national pastime.

Yes, we Americans love our football. Some people commit themselves to just one team (here in Nebraska, it would be the Cornhuskers!). But others enjoy keeping up with everything. Whether it’s high school, college, or pro football, they love staying up to date with all the stats and wins and losses.

But how can they possibly keep track of everything?

Text Alert Scores

For these kinds of people, text alerts offer an easy solution. You can offer a service that sends out texts with game scores and other stats. Sports fanatics will even pay for this kind of service!

People will appreciate receiving text alert scores automatically in their text inbox rather than having to keep track of everything themselves. There are so many details available to keep up with in regards to football that this kind of service can help people be more involved in the experience.

Fall and football bring people together. And neither are going away anytime soon.

Send out text alerts with a free, no-risk test account today!

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