From the Twilio Customer Stories page I learned about Remind101, a free service designed for teachers to keep students and parents up to date via text messaging or email. From their website you can learn more about the service, or about the team.
This is a very useful service. While it was primarily designed for classrooms, it could also be used for sports teams or anywhere else you need a 1:Many text messaging system.
Remind101 designed their system to be very focused for this type of communication. By keeping with a narrow focus, they’ve got a strong set of features like:
- Privacy – no one participating (teacher, student, parent) has anyone else’s phone numbers; this would be very important for younger kids in particular
- Only Group Messaging – there is no support for 1:1 messages; instead everything is sent to the entire group/class
- One-way Messaging – students and parents cannot reply to any teacher message; I would like to see the ability to reply as well, in order to make it a better communication channel for the students back to the teacher
- Mobile Apps – for the teacher side, they have apps for both Android and iOS
- Email – as an alternative to text messaging, students/parents can receive messages via email
As a sport coach or manager, you could set up individual teams (“classes”), and connect with each of your teams separately as needed. For example, “16U Red”, “16U White”, and so on. This app could be used for a whole season, or just for a tournement weekend. (Just delete the group when the weekend is over.)
Here’s a screenshot of the web interface for sending a message: