SMS Handling SMS Handling

SMS presents the perfect way to interact with your supporters - it's quick, direct and delivery reports let you know messages arrived safely. As such, all of our systems are built with integrated SMS functionality, like mobile number verification for e-Registration and the ability to send updates to participants via the challenge admin panel. Some other SMS specialities of ours are listed below:

SMS Mapping

In the good old days, when fundraisers embarked on an international challenge, be it a hitchhike, rally, cycle or trek, progress trickled back via family members and phone calls. Use of internet blogs and social networking has introduced the concept of real-time updates from the field, giving charity events greater exposure than ever before.

The problem remains that during a fast-paced endurance challenge, opportunities for internet cafes can be limited, and cellular roaming charges staggeringly expensive. GPS tracking is an option, but the astronomical price, high power consumption and its associated scary data protection issues are enough to send the most daring event organisers running for the hills.

Choose a Challenge can offer a simple, cost effective and visually exciting alternative: our bespoke SMS Mapping application built using the Google Maps API. Participants send a simple SMS message from anywhere in the world, at their standard message rate, to update their blog and challenge tracking map. By sending messages in a specified format, our inbound messaging function can recognise the place and country of message origin, to perform a “geocode” and “reverse geocode” - to determine and then double check the message location.


If the challenge calls for it, we'll keep track of the participant/teams' furthest distance from home, and rank this against the rest of the tracker updates. Messages received after this instance, i.e. the journey home, will be saved and displayed, but not update the challenge tracking map or affect their total distance travelled.

Acknowledgement Messages

If you'd like to interact more with your participants, you can setup automated replies to all or some of their inbound messages. These can let them know they've updated correctly (or let them know of any errors) or just remind them to check in again by a certain time or date. For races or rallies, you can include their current ranking against other participants or teams or any other information you'd like.

Your place or ours?

The SMS Mapping application can be used in conjunction with our e-Registration system, and will add the mapping data to the participants' profiles and team pages (if applicable). Alternatively, if you use your own registration system, SMS Mapping can be used as a standalone. Once we have a data sharing agreement in place, we can import your participant information and put a live feed in place to keep us apprised of any changes.

End of the road

By using a library of #hashtags, participants can provide extra information, like letting the tracker know when they've finished. Alternately, if the challenge has set end location(s) then we'll work out when a message is sent from the surrounding area and prompt you to confirm their completion. Messages received after this point, i.e. the journey home, will be saved and displayed, but not update the challenge tracking map or affect their total distance travelled.

Automated Reminder Messages

If you want to make sure that participants or teams are checking in during an event at regular intervals, you can create a reminder message to prompt them. If a team/participant has not checked in by a set time(s) each day or regularly within defined intervals, we will automatically send the participant or team captain a reminder SMS. On occasions when they take more than 30 minutes to reply, the challenge organisers and any other team members are also alerted.

UDH Friendly

Often many people run over the 160 characters they're allowed in a SMS message - especially when they've got something as exciting as their challenge to talk about. Longer messages, known as “Concatenated Messages” include a User Header Data (UDH) field to join these messages up at the other end. Our inbound messaging function recognises these messages, and will make sure they join together successfully. Through experience, we've learnt that messages received from international networks through roaming services often contain missing or corrupted UDH data - so we've built our own error checking and correction process, that resolves almost all UDH data problems. Simples.

Find out more

If you'd like to find out more about how our SMS systems could help your event, or discuss pricing options, please contact us.