Coordinating & mobilising

The fact that mobile phones have made rapid communication easier and cheaper means that large numbers of people can now connect to organise and coordinate their efforts; the work of non-profit organisations is now simpler for the same reasons. Mobile phones are particularly useful because individuals can spread information by forwarding messages from one phone to another. After natural disasters mobile phones have proved invaluable because they are often the only means of communication that still works.

Rallies, demonstrations and other actions can be organised quickly and efficiently and mobile phones can then be used to communicate as events unfold, allowing activists to share information on flash points and the location of police or army units, for example. For many advocacy organizations and their members and supporters, such action alert and quick response tools are vital.

This section of the toolkit looks at ways of using SMS (text messages), voice calls and the messaging service Twitter to support this kind of organising. Twitter allows you to post SMS updates to a website to which people can subscribe.

If you regularly want to communicate with a large number of members using SMS you can use FrontlineSMS or a commercial service such as BulkSMS or Clickatell.