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Planning Center Texting Integration for Churches

  • Written By: Michael Lepinay
  • Posted: May 1st 2017

The Planning Center texting integration allows you to streamline your workflow by automatically syncing your Planning Center People Lists with your Clearstream account. Synced Lists update on a 24-hour basis ensuring that they are always accurate.

Planning Center Texting Integration – what to expect:

Clearstream is a powerful texting software built for churches.

If you have yet to sign up for Clearstream and aren’t sure what we provide, here’s our 5-second elevator pitch*: Clearstream is an online text messaging software for churches and non-profits. Churches of all sizes across the U.S. use Clearstream to communicate with their members, visitors, staff, and volunteers via text message. With a simple yet powerful web-based software and native mobile apps, we provide a better communication tool for churches. *Disclaimer: none of us have actually made this pitch in an elevator.

Why did Clearstream integrate with Planning Center?

Before getting into the details and setup instructions, I want to quickly cover why we built this integration. Although non-profit organizations of all types use Clearstream, our focus is serving churches. Our team comes from the church planting world and has a deep understanding of what churches need.

Our product is continually evolving based on how we can best serve churches, and eliciting feedback from churches currently using Clearstream. Through this feedback, it became obvious that we needed to build an integration for the vast amount of churches simultaneously using Clearstream and Planning Center. When churches integrate Planning Center and Clearstream they don’t have to worry about managing contact/member lists within multiple applications. It’s all synced.

How much does it cost to send a message with the Planning Center integration?

There is no additional cost. If you don’t have a Clearstream account, you can sign up here. We have both monthly and pay-as-you-go plans. With all plans, there is no contract or setup fee. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel anytime.

How to set up a texting integration with Planning Center

Quick setup: Login > Account Settings > Integrations > Planning Center.

  1. Log into your Planning Center account and click on “Lists” on the left side of the dashboard. Review the Lists and note which Lists you want to link to your Clearstream account.
  2. Log into your Clearstream account and click on your churches name (or account name) in the top right corner. A dropdown menu will appear, click “Account Settings”.
  3. Click “Integrations” in the left menu, then click “Setup” under the Planning Center option.
  4. If you have received permission to text the people in the Lists you are about to sync then click the check box and click “Authorize”.
  5. You will then see all the People Lists tied to your Planning Center account. Select the Lists you would like to sync and click Save & Continue”
  6. Click “Run Initial Sync”.

Some extra details to note: Your Lists will auto-sync every night to ensure that your Lists are always up to date in Planning Center. Also, if you’re using subaccounts to create separation for your different ministries you will be able to set up a separate Planning Center integration for each of your subaccounts.

How to send text messages to your Planning Center People Lists

Now that you have integrated your Lists into Clearstream let’s send a message to a volunteer to alert him that he has not confirmed his volunteer request for this weekends service.

  1. In your Clearstream account click “Messages” in the left menu
  2. Click the “Create Message” button.
  3. Type out our message reminding the volunteer that he has been requested to serve.
  4. Make sure “Subscribers” is selected from the dropdown menu.
  5. Select the volunteer that has yet to accept the volunteer request.
  6. Click “Preview Message”.
  7. Make sure all of the information is correct and there are no typos, then click “Send Message”.

[Skip to Video Walkthrough Below]

As mentioned earlier this integration allows you to sync and send text messages to all, or selected, People Lists using Clearstream. Additionally, you can push information collected via text message into Planning Center to automatically create new People in your Planning Center account. This is a great way to digitally collect first-time guest info and automatically add them into Planning Center.

To recap: Planning Center Lists are being pulled into your Clearstream account and information collected via text-in is being pushed into your Planning Center account to create new People.

Why should you integrate Planning Center with Clearstream?

  • List Auto-Create – After connecting your Planning Center and Clearstream account, you’ll first choose which People Lists you want to sync. When you sync a People List, we’ll automatically create a new, uneditable List in your Clearstream account. The name of this List will be the same as the People List it’s pulling from. When you view your Lists, any synced People Lists will be marked with a Planning Center icon. Planning Center Lists cannot be tied to Keywords, Website Forms, or Longcodes. They are connected exclusively to their corresponding People List.
  • List Auto-Format – When you sync a People List, Clearstream will pull the following data fields for each person: Mobile Phone (required), First Name, Last Name, and Email. Invalid mobile numbers will also be scrubbed before being added to your Clearstream account.
  • Auto-Update Lists – People Lists are auto-synced every 24 hours. You can also manually sync them at any time from within your Clearstream account by clicking the “Sync Now” button in Account Settings > Integrations > Planning Center. When People Lists are resynced, Clearstream will also update any changed data fields for a person. For example, if you change Jane Doe’s email address in People, it will also be changed in the Clearstream List when it’s resynced.
  • Automatically Removes Unsubscribes – When you send a message to a synced People List, anyone who opts-out/unsubscribes will be removed from the Clearstream List. Any past unsubscribes will not be added back into your Clearstream account when the People List is resynced. The only way they will be able to resubscribe will be to join through one of your Keywords, Website Forms, or Longcode.

Video Walkthrough

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