Information provision

Alerts, news, and updates on a particular cause, event or project can be distributed in many ways. Sharing information with users keeps them interested, helps educate them, fosters engagement and can be a catalyst for spontaneous person-to-person campaigning. There are various means of using mobile phones to provide information.

You can send messages and encourage your supporters to forward them. This has the advantage of being cheap for you and is the easiest way to provide information via mobile phone.

SMS subscriber services for specific campaigns can keep users engaged by providing updates and news alerts. This requires ongoing funding to support the sending of messages during the whole campaign. You should also ensure that you provide users with an easy means of unsubscribing from this service and that you have sufficient funds to scale services up should they become unexpectedly successful. See our budgeting section for more information. You can use commercial services such as BulkSMS or Clickatell for this or set up your own SMS hub using FrontlineSMS.

You can also set up an interactive voice response (IVR) system which allows users to dial in for pre-recorded information on a particular topic. This is of particular use for outreach with low literacy communities. In Zimbabwe an IVR system was set up by the civil society organisation Kubatana to disseminate sexual health information for teenagers from a website called Auntie Stella.

This requires more technical knowledge, and the use of TrixBox, Asterisk or FreePBX. If you want to know more about the skills you'll need for this, look at this guidance we've included in the toolkit.