4 Ways Crisis Pregnancy Centers Improve Results by Texting Clients
Your pregnancy resource center’s goal is to support women in their time of need and help them make tough but educated decisions. The problem is connecting. These situations are time sensitive, which means you have to communicate with clients at the right time in the right way to make them feel comfortable, loved, and in control.
It’s a tall order, and that’s why so many crisis pregnancy centers have begun texting with clients for things like:
- Crisis response
- Increasing class or program attendance
- Providing ongoing encouragement and support
- Decreasing suicide rates
But why text?
Texting is a powerful tool here because:
- It’s the #1 preferred communication channel
- The average response time for a text is only 90 seconds
- People in crisis are often too afraid or embarrassed to talk on the phone, but they’ll still text
- Texts can be permanently recorded, secure, and reviewed by administration or counselors as necessary
But how exactly do you put these traits into practice?
1. Increase class, program attendance with timely reminders.
You offer helpful programs, both for education and to provide tangible resources. But the people you’re trying to serve don’t always know about these programs or when they are. Or maybe they know, but they forget. That’s where texting comes in.
Let’s say you have a mom’s support group that meets every Tuesday morning. You might send a quick reminder on Monday afternoon saying:
“Hi [Kim], just a reminder about our mom’s support group at 9am. Let me know if you need a ride!”
Or if there’s a day when you’re giving away baby products and other resources, you might say:
“[Clarissa], don’t forget to come by Friday at lunch for your goodie bag [replace with EMOJI] Looking forward to seeing you there!”
Messages like these consistently prove to increase program attendance and to foster a sense of community. If you’re trying to support women in need and make them feel comfortable, this is a great (and easy) way to do it!
“We offer Mom’s Groups and other support classes at Care Net, too. Before Text Request, we would call each of our current clients individually to remind them about class the next day. Now we just use the BCC group messaging. We send one text, which saves a lot of time and has been more effective, too.” - Rachel Schepp, Care Net Pregnancy Center of Milwaukee
2. Let women in crisis reach your clinic on their terms.
A woman who’s found out she’s pregnant and is panicking often cannot risk being overheard on a phone call, but she will send a text that’s discreet and private.
This is a crucial piece of human behavior to pick up on, and you can do an incredible service to women just by letting them text your clinic from your website to ask questions or start the counseling process.
Here’s the situation:
- A woman finds out she’s pregnant
- She jumps on her smartphone to research her options
- She finds that your clinic is nearby
- She can’t call, but she sees “Text us!” on your website
- She does, and now she’s able to get the help she needs without resorting to more drastic options
- You change someone’s life because they can reach you on their terms
But how does that work exactly?
Other pregnancy centers use tools, like Text Request, so texts come into an online dashboard that multiple staff members can view.
So, a client sends a text from your website. That message comes into your Text Request account, which you can view on your computer or through a mobile app. Then a counselor responds to the message, and that response shows up like a normal text on the client’s phone. The conversation continues as needed.
This is great for making first contact with women, and for ongoing counseling. You’re just a text away!
Normally, clinics will use an office phone number for texting, too, so clients can text or call the same number (more on that later).
To add text to your website, use SMS Chat. SMS Chat looks like a live chat widget, except the messages come in and out as texts, so you don’t have to have someone available at all hours for it to be effective. In fact, many use an auto-reply saying “Thanks for your message, we’ll respond ASAP!” to let the client know they got the message.
Here’s a quick video to show you SMS Chat in action.
3. Provide ongoing encouragement and support.
Every person you serve is under a lot of stress, and a few kind words can change their day (and their whole life) for the better. But how can you share that encouragement?
You can add a list of your current clients to a group, and send one text to all of them. They won’t be able to tell that anyone else is in the group, and their replies will come directly back to you, so people can keep their anonymity.
You can also send personalized messages one at a time if you’d like. You might say something like:
“Hey [Holly], just want you to know we’re thinking about you today. If there’s any way I can help, please let me know!”
Or you might send a piece of Scripture or a helpful online article. Whatever you choose to say, these timely bits of encouragement can do as much to strengthen the women and families you serve as physical resources, especially if you do it regularly.
4. Coordinate volunteers with ease.
This one isn’t specifically about clients, but it will still make your life easier.
You have a small core team working day-to-day, and then you have a lot of volunteers who help with counseling, events, and other needs. You need to do two things with those volunteers:
- Keep them in the loop
- And coordinate them to show up when you need
Texting works for both.
Let’s say you’re trying to keep volunteers up to date. You can text them all a newsletter update, like:
“Hi [First Name]! Just wanted to share what’s been going on lately. Thanks for all your support! ourclinic.com/december-update”
Or let’s say you need volunteers for an event:
“Hi folks! We have our annual giving drive starting in 3 short weeks and we need volunteers to help out. Are you in? Just reply to let us know. All are welcome to join, so bring a friend [EMOJI] You can learn more at ourclinic.com/annual-event”
Through text, you can grab volunteer’s attention right when you need it, and (more importantly) enjoy up to 7X more engagement than email.
Bonus: Text from your computer with your office phone number.
Okay, so texting’s great, but how would you handle it? Personal cell phones are often not a good call. The organization can’t monitor messages, there’s no way to text as a team, and you greatly blur the lines between your personal and professional lives.
Instead, you can use Text Request so your whole team can text from one central place. You can text through your computer or a mobile app, and you can even text using your office phone numbers. Then, clients can just text or call you at the same office number.
Check your number below to see if it’s eligible for texting, and schedule a demo of Text Request to see how we help other crisis pregnancy centers better serve their communities.