The Textizen Blog

Author: Michelle Lee

SEP 28 2015

New in Textizen: Inbound Voicemail and Notifications

Girl on phone

Image via Marjan Lazarevski (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Textizen powers interactive text messaging for all levels of government, but as we grow, we’re learning that some agencies have very personal relationships with the citizens they serve. For example, a human service agency that provides 1:1 or small-group services might be on a first-name basis with their audience. The individuals they serve may work with an assigned case manager to transition home from incarceration, or enroll in training or education opportunities.

By reaching out through text, these agencies are offering a convenient and universally accessible citizen experience. And it’s working: their participants engage up to 10x more than the average Textizen user — and not just in response to a specific survey or prompt.

Today, Textizen launches two enhancements: inbound voicemail and interactive notifications. Now, citizens can leave voicemails for Textizen users, and it’s even easier for administrators to see and act on noteworthy activity in their account.

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Filed under features, news,
JUL 28 2015

Textizen Joins GovDelivery

Today, we are excited to announce that Textizen has been acquired by GovDelivery. Learn more on the GovDelivery blog.

Better together

More than 1,000 organizations worldwide use the GovDelivery platform and network to inform and engage over 80 million subscribers. Textizen’s strengths in 2-way messaging for action, engagement, and behavior change are strong complements to GovDelivery’s tremendous scale and experience with the day-to-day communication challenges of public sector organizations.

One of the biggest challenges government faces today is that communication is more fractured and dynamic than ever. By joining forces, we will be able to empower more governments to meet people wherever they are — on mobile, email, or both.

Meet people wherever they are

At Textizen, we built our platform and company around the idea that today’s governments must meet people where they are, using the devices in everyone’s pocket 24/7. This idea is core to GovDelivery as well, underlying 15 years of targeted, relevant messaging to connect people with their federal, state, and local governments. The greatest partnerships are found when two companies’ efforts can achieve a shared mission better than either could accomplish alone. We believe we’ve found that with GovDelivery and their remarkable team.

Time flies when you’re having fun

While we couldn’t be more excited to hit the ground running in this new chapter, we want to pause to thank the many people who have helped us along the way: our clients, to whom we promise to continue to deliver amazing outcomes; John Bracken and Ben Wirz at the Knight Foundation, who were among the first to believe that government would one day take mobile seriously; our friends and colleagues at Code for America, especially Jen Pahlka and Bob Sofman; and our families.

We are excited to join GovDelivery and continue to push forward our shared vision.

– Michelle Lee, Alex Yule, Serena Wales, and the Textizen team

Filed under news
APR 30 2015

Textizen Earns Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification

WBENC Certification Logo

We’re pleased to announce that Textizen is now certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Founded in 2013, Textizen has rapidly established itself as a leading provider of public engagement technology, meeting people when and where it counts: on mobile phones.

Since many local, state, and federal agencies seek out women-owned businesses as part of supplier diversity programs, this certification opens additional opportunities. Once we’re at the table, we’re confident that Textizen’s commitment to excellent technology will stand out. Supplier diversity promotes healthier competition and more options in public technology, and ultimately better technology for all.

Want to explore how mobile messaging can revitalize public engagement, reduce churn, or increase retention rates for your program? Contact hello@textizen.com to schedule a demo or consultation.

Filed under announcements, news, wbe
OCT 29 2013

Text, Talk, and Act for Mental Health: A Pilot for Scaling Microcommunities, One Text at a Time

Photo: Some of the student participants

Last week, Kelley Marchant’s students at Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, Oregon, kept checking their phones.

After all, that was their class assignment. In groups of 4-5 students, they shared stories and viewpoints of how mental illness affected them, their friends, and their families, and what they could do to bring mental illness out of the shadows. Periodically, a text message arrived, bearing the next discussion topic.

This was a pilot jointly developed by Textizen and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, as part of an effort to scale the Center’s previously successful work in enabling face-to-face discussions about mental health. In the past, the Center shared discussion guides and trained facilitators with schools across the country.

Textizen and DDC’s Matt Leighninger worked together to adapt the previous discussion format to the text-message medium, while keeping it open, welcoming, and educational. Facts such as “1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in any given year” and “Half of all adult mental health problems begin at age 14” introduce the topic and helped participants understand its breadth. Then, discussion prompts explore why it’s difficult to talk about mental health; how this issue affects students, friends, and family, and what steps we might take to help address mental illness.

At the end, more than 75% of students made action commitments, ranging from organizing a bigger discussion to helping a friend who’d previously been denied medical attention.

Facilitating these dialogues by text lowers the burden on organizers, allowing the program to truly scale. With the Text, Talk, + Act pilot, not only is Textizen connecting individuals with organizations, it’s also a chance to build face-to-face microcommunities, one text at a time.

Filed under
SEP 24 2013

3 Best Practices for Text-Based Civic Engagement

After delivering over 20,000 responses for communities across the country, we’ve learned a lot about what makes for successful civic outreach by text message.

These lessons are all included in our Best Practices guide (free for Textizen subscribers), which guides you through the process of launching a successful outreach campaign. Read on for 3 tips to supercharge your civic engagement.


1. Start Backwards: Define Your Goal

When kicking off a campaign, start with the ultimate goal and work backwards.

Are you focused on gauging the impact of near-term local development projects, or long-term master plan adoption? Preparing for school budget cuts, or trying to raise participation in programs? Or are you most interested in collecting demographics to better understand a particular audience?

What types of data, information, or engagement would be most useful for influencing decision-makers?

Examples: ranking of service preferences, support or opposition for a proposal, broad generation of ideas, contact information to bring people to in-person events.

Once your goals are clear, and you’ve identified the types of data you’ll need, all that’s left is getting people hooked and asking a few followup questions.

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