School administrators are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities for calling students and alumni with notifications and reminders. Parents, teachers and the community at large also want to be kept in the loop. The last thing a principal or administrator wants to hear is, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
By far, the fastest and least expensive way to get school alerts and notifications out is by phone. It’s instant and messages can be recorded and sent out immediately to both live answers and answering machines.
The Broadcasting System is Online and Already Set Up
Here are several reasons why you’ll have access to the best notification system anywhere:
1) There is no hardware or software to buy. That alone can save some school districts tens of thousands of dollars.
2) You can access the system from any Internet connection. College administrators, superintendents or principals can use it from their homes, office or anywhere.
3) You only pay for what you use. This will save your institution a small fortune in unnecessary costs. There are no monthly usage fees, maintenance costs or long-term contracts. If you don’t use the system, there’s no charge. (We can also accommodate those districts that need an exact amount to allocate every month for budget and planning purposes.)
4) Sending recorded phone messages is the most universally accepted form of communication. The system is capable of dialing hundreds of numbers per minute. You can send a message to thousands of people within minutes.
5) You can set the system to leave messages on voicemail if people do not answer their phones directly.
6) An online notification system is ideal because it is not subject to outages like local power failures. If someone in your administration has access to the Internet, even on a laptop, the system will perform.
Examples on How Colleges and Universities are Calling Students and Alumni Using Phone and Voice Broadcasting to Improve Operations, Enrollment and Scheduling
Colleges across the nation are turning to phone or text broadcasting for calling students and alumni to get reminder notifications and alerts out. Some of these include: registration, payment deadlines, application processes, event announcements and emergency notices.
We serve many colleges and offer both phone and text (sms) broadcast services. Both services are quickly becoming the gold standard of campus communications. While email is widely used to disseminate information and notices, it has been found that many college students rarely check their email these days.
The only reliable way to insure students get a message is by calling or texting them. Most students have text capable mobile devices and check their text messages dozens of times a day or listen to their voicemails.
Fortunately, colleges and universities do not have to invest in expensive hardware or equipment to implement a phone or text notification program. Fact is, the technological infrastructure is already in place and educational institutions can tap into it immediately. Since the service is online, colleges only need to upload their list of phone numbers to begin contacting their students at will.
Colleges are using phone or SMS (short message services) texts for many applications and across all divisions and departments. Your decision on which service to use will depend upon the application and the length of the message, to a large degree. Text (SMS) messaging has a message length confined to 160 characters, whereas phone broadcasting messages do not a confining message length. Some examples of how these services are being used are:
— texting incoming students on application, registration and payment deadlines.
— recruiting students & advising them of the latest college offerings.
— alerting students about closing or delays because of weather conditions or power outages.
— instant updates on traffic and parking status for students, faculty, staff.
— campus event notifications, club announcements and concert ticket sales.
— notices about food service and daily menus.
— campus emergency announcements and instructions.
— reminders about assignments, test dates and homework.
Be Proactive by Preparing and Compiling Your Phone Lists Today
The key is being prepared. Schools should have their phone lists already uploaded on our system. You can upload lists online in using either a .xls or .csv file format. Any number of separate lists can be stored on the system. You can have one for parents, and/or each sports team can have their own.
The next time there’s a blizzard, school closing, or heaven forbid an emergency, you can have the best phone broadcasting system ready 24/7 at your fingertips. You’ll know you are not only providing the best information to your constituent groups, but you’re doing it in a way that will save the district taxpayers precious dollars that can be spent in other areas.
Colleges are compiling mobile phone databases by collecting cell numbers in a variety of ways. Some of these include getting expressed permission on hard copy forms/signup sheets such as registration and housing forms. In many cases colleges require the students to provide their mobile numbers to contact when they decide to matriculate so that emergency and weather cancellations can be sent. For clubs or activities notifications, they may capture numbers via webpage sign ups or written sign up sheets. Laws require that any contact you text must have opted-in to join your list. You cannot send out spam texts.
Different Lists of Phone Numbers for Different Messages
You can have any number of lists — from a general campus wide list with everyone’s number on it, or sub-lists for specific departments. For example, you may want a general list for a college wide message, a more specific list for athletics and an even more specific list for the baseball team.
Once you have your lists compiled, you can upload them into your online account and be ready to send your messages to whichever list you need. You can also add to your lists as you receive more numbers, or delete contacts that do not want to be contacted anymore. Because your contacts will receive your messages quickly and conveniently, they can take whatever action is necessary to respond to your notification.
College phone broadcasting and texting services are leading the way in distributing important information to hundreds and thousands of students, faculty and staff. All of these groups depend on getting timely updates that directly impact their work, studies and life.
Important Considerations to Remember When Using Phone Broadcasting
Creating an accurate and up-to-date phone list database is very important. The list can be in a standard format, such as an Excel spreadsheet, and be pre-loaded into the system or ready to be uploaded very quickly in case of an emergency.
Your school administration also needs to discuss phone protocols, in detail, as part of a comprehensive emergency plan. For example:
- Will informing parents about an in-process emergency interfere with law enforcement procedures that are being implemented at the same time?
- Will telling parents to “stay away” until things have been declared safe, really keep them away?
- Do you have an established a phone number that parents can call to get more information?
- Will that number have a recording on it that will update parents with the latest information?
- Will there be a number parents can call to get a hold of a live person who is knowledgeable about the situation? Can that number handle hundreds of calls at once?
Getting notifications out to parents is the easy part. What to say and when to say it present the real challenge and deserve a thorough discussion, involving both policy decisions and tactical procedures.
With parents across the country worried over the safety of their children at school, every district in the nation should have the latest notification technology available at its fingertips to keep parents informed.
Call us at 888-387-8636 to get the details. Or you can get more information on on College Alert page here.
No Ramp-Up Time: Messages Can Be Sent Instantly
Some students do not have access to text as readily as they do a phone call. Recorded messages can be answered live or left on voicemail. Our system can automatically detect if a live person answers the phone or if it has gone to voicemail.
Phone broadcasting messages are a powerful and effective way to get information out quickly and there is virtually no ramp up time. Within minutes, you can upload your phone list, record your message and have your notice sent to hundreds or thousands of people. It’s a perfect tool for quick reminders and emergency notifications and is being adopted by colleges across the country as the go-to technology to help to save time and money.
If you are an administrator or manager at a college registration, finance, admissions, athletics or security office we can assist you in designing a communications strategy that will fit your budget. This service will save you time and provide results that will exceed your expectations. Call us today at 888-387-8636.