We recently had some inclement weather come through, and our church service was cancelled as it was decided better safe than sorry. However, since we had no formal phone chain, or other alert system in place, I started thinking and pondering on how we could best implement one for free or very inexpensively.
My first inclination was to set up a distribution list on the church’s exchange server, and then I could send emails to either email addresses or to an individuals cell phone number via an sms gateway. My second idea was to look into subscribing to a commercial alert system, but pricing was still out of my budget, even for those plans targeted at smaller groups.
Then I thought about using the RSS feed off of the church’s web site, and started looking into how to best do that, but ultimately decided against that. But then I realized almost everyone in church has a cell phone, so I started looking into sending SMS alerts from Word Press. And one of my Google searches turned up EasySMS. What a great plugin for Word Press!
It provides a Sidebar Widget form to allow users to sign up, and the controls in the admin dashboard are very intuitive and easy to use! I had it installed, configured, and sent my first “test” message in under 10 minutes! if you need an alert system, I highly suggest you give EasySMS a look.