Crowdsourcing a text message campaign

By Fouquier ॐ

By Fouquier ॐ

Based on “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky and OOMPH’s Innovation module a few weeks back, I thought it would be an educational process to reach out to my network and hear what sort of text message campaign they would recommend.

Here’s what I did: put a post on Facebook, a question on Twitter, and a few key texts to pals that are involved in health care (public health or direct patient care), have communications experience, or both. I wrote the question fairly broadly, which actually helped despite its lack of clarity; the responses recommended topic area to time-of-day to target population.

Here’s what I got back: 

  1. Text messages can work to ‘close the loop’

My pal Leslie, who has worked in social change communication and is currently at the medication donation start-up Sirum, pointed me to this article about how blood donors in Sweden now get notified when their blood gets used. Pretty amazing, instant way to make the connection between giving and impact!

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 5.14.54 PM

2. Text messages should be reminders to action that align with the time

J., another friend with a communications background currently working at a foundation, pointed out that texts are best poised to be action-oriented when they are timed correctly. She gave the example of a sexual health reminder around a weekend night.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 5.16.19 PM


3. Text messages can reach further, faster & cheaper

M., a friend of mine who has worked in a teen mental health resource organization, had the following great advice about technological reach. Texting specifically can have the most impact to populations that don’t interact with public health campaigns, but may be really high mobile users.



Thank you so much for my friends and colleagues who took the time to help inform this blog post!


5 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing a text message campaign

  1. Hey Kristina–thanks for this, I always learn so much from your blogs, and now I get to learn from your friends too. 🙂 This was a super interesting idea for a blog post, and I like that you included screen shots of your correspondence as opposed to just a summary of their suggestions. I also agree that the open-ended-ness of the question allowed for some diverse and fruitful responses.

    All of these tips are extremely useful. I love the idea of sending out a text message to the donor as soon as their donated blood is used–what a simple and powerful practice, that should be used in any similar campaign. With regard to number two, this tip is critical. When you are crafting a whole campaign and have thought about the content of each text for a long time, it can be easy to forget that the recipients will only read and think about the text for seconds unless it is well timed for impact and action. In creating my SMS campaign, I wanted to send out a message addressing drunk driving, and actually considered the timing for it to be sent out to be based on when bi-monthly salaries are disbursed in Panama, since that is a major drinking day.

    Thanks for your post!

    • Maia, my friend mentioned to me that I should also base my texting campaign on something driving related (ex\ don’t text and drive reminders), but I was having a difficult time trying to come up with a good time to send these. Sending them while someone is potentially driving would defeat the purpose! I really like that you were able to come up with a perfect day to send out a drunk driving reminder in Panama!

  2. Hi Kristina, great post! My favorite was the one in Sweden and the blood donors. I think that receiving a notification when your blood gets donated is a great motivation factor. You get notified when you’ve made a positive impact in someone’s life 🙂

    I agree with Maia, number two is a critical factor and I think that time sometimes can make a big impact. The fact that this is sent out on a weekend night, is a great idea!

    Thanks for a great post! 🙂

  3. What a great idea – crowd sourcing is such a helpful way to gather information from a wide variety of perspectives. It’s kind of like conducting a focus group, and thanks to social media, we can do it faster and cheaper! I really think #1 is a great idea – if more people could directly feel the impact of blood donation, they might be more inclined to donate. We’ve discussed in earlier posts that the difference between good campaigns and successful, viral campaigns is often two-way communication with your audience. The blood donation texting campaign is certainly engaging.

  4. Kristina, I really love the way you have interacted with the people around you when developing each of your posts. I agree with Maia that I always learn a lot when I’m reading your blogs. I like the variety of responses you got back, and that you used multiple social media platforms to obtain this information.

    I think texting hits a much broader niche of people than any other social media outreach, so the possibilities seem endless with the kinds of campaigns one can launch.

    Going off of your blood donation example, do you think there would be any success in reaching out for other types of larger donations through texts? Sending out information on bone marrow donors and asking for help, perhaps?

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