In today’s world of smart phones and hyper connectedness, text messaging is emerging as a new communications frontier in financial inclusion, in health, in social services – in so many of the threads that strengthen our social fabric. Text campaigns can get people to the polls, to the doctor, to a hot meal at a homeless shelter, to volunteer opportunities, even to the support kids need to help them stand up to bullies, and more and more organizations are starting to tap into that power.
Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that our November 13th ioby benefit (tickets here) is being sponsored by Mobile Commons, a Brooklyn-based firm that offers a self-service solution for managing mobile and text messaging campaigns. Mobile Commons is the big leagues: it was the lead mobile strategist for the Obama 2012 campaign. It managed to get New Yorkers out to the polls even in the chaotic aftermath of hurricane Sandy, when no one knew where to go queue up. Along with dozens of for-profit organizations, Planned Parenthood, the MTA, The Ad Council, and the New York City Health Department have all been clients. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
We’re particularly excited about a few of the campaigns being run right now by Mobile Commons’ clients. There’s The Ad Council’s oral hygiene program, which uses text messaging to engage parents in fun brushing challenges, ultimately aiming to ensure that kids brush for a full two minutes, twice a day. Best of all, parents don’t text into the void; they correspond directly with “Joy,” a carefully crafted persona and oral hygiene helper.
There’s also The Ad Council’s financial literacy program, developed in partnership with the American Association of CPAs. The campaign’s finance persona, “Ben,” texts tips, quizzes, and resources to young adults aged 25-34, nudging and empowering them to save money and to plan for their financial futures.
And then there’s the National Cancer Institute’s fascinating SmokeFreeTxt program, which uses text messaging to connect smokers with the support, resources, encouragement, and timeline management they need to help them quit. Amazingly, the quit rate among teens who used SmokeFreeTxt was double the average teen quit rate of about 2-3%.
Mobile Commons’ CTO and Co-founder Benjamin Stein sits on ioby’s board, and advises nonprofits on how to best use technology. We’re so grateful that he and the Mobile Commons team continue to have our back, and look forward to watching the partnership grow.