You can send out SMS communications individually or to an entire group, depending on your permissions. If you can't send communications, check your access following these instructions.
Creating the SMS
Go to School > Communications > SMS > New mail merge SMS to create a new draft, or to SMS > SMS Message Drafts to select a past SMS draft. You can read more about using drafts here.
You have the option to use an SMS that has been created as a template, by clicking on the 'Load SMS Template' button and choosing one from the drop-down list. You can see more information about templates here: Using Email/SMS/Letter communication templates
If you don't see this button, follow the tips in this article: Why can I not see the Load Template button for email/SMS/letters?
Choose who you will send the SMS as.
Sender and recipients
Select recipients by clicking the 'To' drop-down menu. Here you can select who you will send your SMS to. This can be an individual, selected by scrolling through the list or typing the name and selecting the appropriate individual. You can also send to different groups or all enrolled students or their guardians.
Top Tip: Can't select anyone in the 'To' box? Clear your current SMS draft by clicking the Discard Draft button at the bottom of the page.
You can also choose recipients by clicking the + button.
In the 'Combine messages?' area you can choose whether you want to combine SMS messages. See this article to see what each option means.
Writing the SMS
The Merge Fields selection box may be used to customise each SMS to the appropriate individual.
Don't see the fields you want? Follow these instructions: Creating a Mail Merge using data from a Custom Report Writer report
Content options such as hyperlinks and text colouring are not available for SMS, although you can send the URL for the user to copy and paste in their internet browser.
Most smartphones will convert text that looks like a URL to a clickable link. So for example, www.google.com or (even better) https://www.google.com will often be converted.
Sending or saving the SMS
At the bottom of the page, you can click Proceed, or Save Draft if you wish to send your SMS at a later point.
Preview the SMS
Once you click 'Proceed', you can see an overview of the SMS. You can see what the text will display for each recipient by clicking the preview icon.
Please note that the recipients list here is in random order.
At the bottom of the page before sending you’ll see the total number of messages you’re about to send. For SMS you’ll also see an estimate of how many credits will be used, and how many you’ll have left after sending.
The credits stated in the SMS message include the signature that has been set up for the school.
Sending the SMS
When you are ready to send the SMS, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click the green Send button.
Our SMS provider blocks certain keywords that are often used in scam SMS messages. Currently, we know that 'Netflix' is one of the blocked words, so any SMS messages that include this keyword will not be delivered. If a message containing the word 'Netflix' needs to be sent out from Arbor, we'd recommend using a Mail Merge Email, or In-App Message to do this.
What's next? Viewing communications sent
You can see how to view the SMS you've personally sent here: Seeing the Communications I've sent