St. John Ambulance Lancashire Selects SMS Solution From TMC To Recruit Volunteers In Emergencies

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  • 7 June, 2013
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St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, has selected an autonomous web-based SMS solution from Text Messaging Centre (TMC) to communicate efficiently with hundreds of volunteers throughout Lancashire. The SMS solution, accessible via the web, enables unit leaders to contact volunteers and staff quickly in the event of an emergency. The additional ‘Campaign’ feature of the TMC solution fully automates the recruitment process for the charity, allowing instant incoming replies from volunteers and automatically sending the appropriate response.


The instantaneous nature of TMC’s SMS solution has prompted quicker response rates from registered volunteers resulting in huge time savings for the not-for-profit organisation, as well as providing a more convenient communication channel for its volunteers.


Though utilising TMC’s web-based SMS solution, St John Ambulance has seen a significant reduction in time spent calling volunteers to find out their availability in the case of an emergency or for upcoming events. Daniel Geddes, Operations Coordinator for St John Ambulance Lancashire, explains, “Communication with our staff and volunteers is fundamental to the successful running of the organisation. At Lancashire the majority of our unit personnel are volunteers and generally have full-time jobs in addition to St John Ambulance activities; determining their availability therefore is an extensive task. SMS offers ease for both staff who require instant communication to recruit volunteers to attend in the event of an incident, and for the volunteers who directly receive the SMS and can respond quickly and at their convenience.”


The ‘Campaign’ feature is an additional function developed by TMC specifically for the recruitment of temporary staff, offering organisations like St John Ambulance the ability to fill positions in an instant with minimal input. ‘Campaign’ automates workflow by managing volunteers into their relevant groups based on the nature of the response given – for example: “reply YES if you are available to attend an event this evening”. Furthermore, the feature allows for the required number of volunteers to be specifically defined and when this figure is achieved all further responses are collated in a “reserve group” to facilitate straightforward contact if last minute replacements are required.  Geddes adds, “This feature is extremely beneficial to an organisation like ours where the recruitment of staff is timely. The TMC solution manages all responses enabling us to ensure critical positions are rapidly filled, significantly streamlining our operations and enabling the message to simultaneously reach our team of volunteers at the click of a button.  Each volunteer also receives an automated response message advising if they are required or whether we have already filled the allocated quota – all of which is managed by ‘campaign’.”


Geddes continues, “In addition, we are able to specifically group our volunteers and staff by qualification; First Aiders, Advanced First Aiders, Emergency Transport, and Basic Transport, allowing direct contact in minutes with those required dependant on the incident.”


TMC SMS solution is a web-based application rather than desktop, it can be accessed from any computer and all messages are fully auditable and compliant through the interface. Geddes comments, “This functionality is particularly important for those volunteers that are called upon when paid-staff are already attending an emergency and require a volunteer to initiate additional recruitment. This can then be done within minutes rather than routing various telephone enquiries, that creates a major disruption to their working day.”


One of the key attractions for St John Ambulance in the selection of this system was TMC’s ability to deliver both cost efficiency and reliability for the not-for-profit organisation. Geddes explains, “The number of SMS messages we send will fluctuate throughout the year, as many of our services are reactive to what is happening at the time, with peaks in activity during summer months. However, on average we expect to be sending in excess of 3000 text messages per month and TMC offers us the most cost-effective way to communicate to staff and volunteers.”


Geddes concludes, “We are continuing to find others uses where SMS can streamline existing processes, such as alerting our paid ambulance crews of their rota and detailing any overtime shifts available. Since implementing and operating the text messaging solution we have realised just how valuable SMS is to our organisation, encouraging greater replies, fundamentally improving response times and critically reducing the administrative burden of telephone calls – enabling our organisation to focus on the more important first aid tasks at hand.”

Written by: Shane
08/09/2010 18:00



About Text Messaging Centre

TMC provides controlled and managed autonomous web-based text messaging solutions for business. This UK market leader in innovative SMS messaging, specializes in producing software tools and offering services which allow organisations to control their own sending and receiving of unlimited global text messages. TMC customers span public and private sectors, SME to Enterprise.

TMC provides its customers with a completely scalable, web-based SMS platform, making it simple, easy and cost effective for organisations to communicate quickly and economically with both clients and staff. The organisation’s “no contract, no minimum term, no monthly charge” approach has attracted such customers as Tube Lines, Home House, Brent London Borough Council and Bupa.

For further information, please contact:

Andy Allen
Text Messaging Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 207 224 4331
Lauren Hayward/Krista Le Beau
The itpr Partnership
Tel: +44 (0) 1932 578800
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