Texting with Ministry By Text (MBT) and/or Twilio

There are differences in cost and effectiveness between the two SMS providers that we recommend you evaluate for your church. From a technical perspective, here are the main differences in how each relate to and interact with TouchPoint:

  1. Twilio uses long codes (i.e. traditional phone numbers) and MBT uses short codes (6 digit numbers) along with Keywords.
    • This means that all groups will share the same number on MBT, while in Twilio each group will have a unique number or set of numbers.
    • This can impact the way that two-way texting is handled since it is possible that two different groups could be sending messages from the same number around the same time. If a person responds to the shared MBT shortcode, the response will be recorded as from the last group that sent the person a message unless a Keyword is also sent as part of the reply.
    • Church staff will need to take this into consideration with how they use reply words and how users can manage their individual opt-ins and opt-outs.
  2. Groups are set up and managed in TouchPoint for Twilio, while in MBT they are set up using MBT’s portal and imported into TouchPoint. The API and webhooks will keep subscriptions synced. If you are using MBT, you can send text messages directly from your MBT portal. For that reason, you do not have to have ALL of the MBT groups in TouchPoint. You only need to add groups that you want connected to TouchPoint.
    • SMS groups can be edited under Administration > SMS Management. Twilio groups are edited by clicking the name of the group. MBT can be edited if absolutely necessary by deleting the group and adding it again.
  3. Subscribe/Unsubscribe reply words are managed by TouchPoint for Twilio, while MBT manages these for MBT groups.
    • To subscribe/unsubscribe from a group in Twilio, a user can use the Start, Stop, Stop All words.
    • In MBT, a user must text the group Keyword to subscribe. Replying with Stop will unsubscribe a user from the last group that sent them a message from the shortcode.
  4. Managing Users of SMS groups.
    • Users can be managed for ALL Twilio groups.
    • You cannot (and do not need to) manage users for the MBT Quick Sign-in group.

Latest Update 03/28/2022

Updated for to provide more clarity regarding both Twilio and MBT.