FAQs

 

GroundSource is a platform newsrooms and community organizations use to build and scale two-way relationships with audiences and communities via mobile messaging and voice. It’s also a service that helps those organizations imagine and implement new ways to reach communities, build trust, and becoming more responsive to their constituents’ needs and interests. GroundSource is in service at dozens of newsrooms, civic organizations, and non-profits across the U.S. and around the world.


When you first signup with GroundSource, you'll get a unique phone number that sources will use to contact you. It’s easy to import a list of sources if you already have one. Otherwise, share your number and invite your community to get in touch by texting or messaging a keyword. You pre-build conversations that you can start by texting or messaging your sources. Or your community can use a keyword to launch those conversations.

GroundSource accommodates your need for gathering specific information with those pre-built conversations while still giving you an open channel of communication with your community with one-on-one texting or messaging. You can gather insight and perspective for a story by asking your community probing questions. And you can keep your ear to the ground by encouraging people to send a quick message whenever something's on their mind.

We know that one of the most powerful things a person can give is their story. We make it easy to send replies and follow-ups to those stories, ensuring that your audience stays engaged by feeling heard.

As your community interacts with you, GroundSource can automatically build detailed profiles for each of your sources by occasionally asking them demographic questions. We tag and organize your audience as they interact with specific questions and topics, allowing for easy follow-ups and advanced segmentation.


There are a few ways to answer this. When it comes to the personal information, including phone numbers and demographics of your sources, you do. You can request that information be downloaded, shared with you, and deleted from our servers at any time. 

We reserve the right to analyze and monitor the aggregate data on the platform, including the questions you’re asking and the answers people are sharing. That’s both to ensure the smooth functioning of the platform and to better understand what kinds of interactions yield the most valuable responses. 
 

For a much more detailed consideration, please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy


SMS has been around for more than 25 years, but most organizations have no way for their constituents to text them. That limitation made sense 10 years ago, as texting was still not a widely accepted  way to communicate. But that’s changed.

Today, many people now prefer texts to calls. And people increasingly expect to text and message with companies, not just friends. That’s good for companies. Texts have a 98 percent open rate. They are more intimate and personal than emails. And texting is ubiquitous, letting you reach underserved and underheard audiences and communities. 

We think texting is one of the most engaging — and underutilized — channels  for organizations to communicate with and listen to communities.


If you’re in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K., you can quickly acquire and set up a dedicated phone number after logging in going to your dashboard and clicking on “Team Settings,” where you’ll find an “Edit Number Set” button. Click that and then you’ll find an “Acquire Number” button. Follow the instructions and you’ll be all set! Test out your new phone number by texting it and checking your feed.

If you’re in any other country, we’ll need to work with you to acquire a number, drop us an email at info@groundsource.co or join our Slack community. 


A short code is a 5 or 6-digit phone number that people can text and receive texts from. A short code allows for high volume messaging (hundreds of thousands of messages per minute), versus a 10-digit number, or long code, that telecommunications providers throttle (60 messages sent per minute).

As part of your setup, we will combine a short code with a long code, meaning people will text a 10-digit phone number to start their first conversation, but will receive a responses and subsequent conversations from the short code. 

We lease a short code from a common provider and pay a substantial monthly fee to maintain the short code. To make it work financially for ourselves and our customers, we share the short code across teams. If people try to text a keyword into the short code and get it even slightly wrong, they will need to navigate a long menu to reach your organization.

So, while texting a 10-digit number is slightly more involved than texting a 5-digit number, doing so ensures that 100% of people trying to text you actually reach you.


Yes! With a little setup, you can communicate through Facebook Messenger just like you do via SMS.

As for other chat apps, we can integrate with any chat app that has an open API. WhatsApp is not among those


By asking them! 

If you’re a digital publisher, using prompts on your website and call outs on social media is one way to get your audience involved in the conversation.

If you have any existing community or membership, you can personally invite them or, if you have their phone numbers, text them and ask if they’d be interested in subscribing to one or more of your GroundSource lists.

If you have large distribution platform like a television or radio station, call outs on air work, too.

Flyers and posters have worked for a few of our clients but those are exceptions to the rule. The best way to build your community is by asking people directly by briefly speaking at local events or via one-on-one requests. We have built our texting community of 400-plus people in just this way.
 


Yes! We have some simple instructions for setting up Slack integrations, so you can read all of the responses to your conversations where your company already operates. We’re working on allowing you to respond and tag responses from Slack, too! 

As for other integrations, we have a very flexible API that enables all kinds of integrations. Get in touch with us at info@groundsource.co to discuss. 


We are working on GDPR compliance and will have it ready by May 2018, when the rules become active. We will extend GDPR privacy protections to all of our client and put privacy and control over your data at the heart of our promise to our customers and their communities.  


All of responses to conversations can be downloaded as a CSV. You can also export all of your sources’ phone numbers, the last SMS delivery status, the number of messages you have sent them, and other data points to help you monitor the health of your relationship with your community.  


Yes, we do! When people call your 10-digit number, they can get automated messages prompting them to respond to choose-one questions by using their keypad and to open-ended questions by leaving a voicemail. You can record your own questions and messages and upload them using the “Upload MP3” button in the conversation builder.


Other questions? Get in touch.