SMS Best Practices

For successful and compliant texting programs, you must comply with the following best practices: 

  • Honor Opt-out Requests - It is critical that you honor opt-out requests by opting that contact out. If a text recipient indicates they want to be removed from your list, you must take them out, and they must not be texted by your organization unless they opt-in in the future. 
Your organization must honor opt-out requests or it will be prevented from using TextOut. For more detail on opt-out best practices, see Managing Opt-Out Requests
  • Identify Yourself and the Messaging Entity in the Initial Outbound - The individual sending the message should identify themselves and the organization they are texting for. "Hi, this is Sue, a volunteer for John Brown for Congress."
  • Respond to Recipients' Questions - Respond in a timely manner to all questions from your message recipients. If you don't know the answer, let them know you'll find it and get back to them.
  • Initial Outbound Message Rules
  • Don't Use Link Shorteners - Short links and other redirects are not allowed. Link directly to your organization's website.
  • Curated Audience Lists - Build your audience lists thoughtfully. Put thought into who you are texting, align what you know about them and that they want to hear about you. 
  • Quality over Quantity - The quality of your conversations is more important than quantity. Don't over text your audience. Over texting will lead to complaints and more opt-out requests.
  • Observe Quiet Hours - The best hours for texting are no earlier than 9 am, no later than 9 pm. Keep external factors in the message recipients' community in mind. For example, don't text during an extreme weather event, during a holiday, during the Super Bowl, or during a time of community bereavement unless there is a good reason to be in that locality. See What are Quiet Hours?
  • Feedback is Essential - Set up Moderators for your Workspace, to support your Texters with ongoing feedback to help strengthen their messaging game, making sure they are observing best practices. See: Leaving Feedback for Texters, The Benefits of Leaving Feedback
  • Never Share Screenshots - Remind all your texters! 
  • Don't Engage with Trolls - Don't be combative with your audience, even if they are rude, angry or you disagree with them. We have recommended replies for these types of responses. Please use them! See: Add on Script: Universal Info Scripts
  • Train your Volunteers to Ask Questions - If they don't know the answer, they should let their contact know they'll ask and get back to them. 

Review these important guidelines from the CTIA:

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