SMS (short message services), also known as text messaging, is one of the most accessible, ubiquitous modes of communication in the world—almost everyone texts! Just as businesses and nonprofits use SMS marketing to reach new customers and members, public institutions are also turning to text messaging to inform and engage the communities they serve – especially those that have low or no access to the Internet.
The purpose of this guide is to help PB implementers understand how they can use mass text messaging to effectively engage underrepresented communities in participatory budgeting (PB). We will present information to help you decide how to SMS in your PB process, tips to choose the right SMS platform, and tools and samples to help you launch your SMS campaign.
SMS platforms and engagement are rapidly evolving, so please consider this guide a work in progress. We’ll update this content as we and our partners learn and test new practices in PB processes around the world. We hope you’ll also share with us what does and doesn’t work as you incorporate SMS outreach in your process.