In today’s post, I want to explain how exactly mass messaging (i.e. e-mail and SMS) works. This will help you understand who will receive the communication you send using NeatSchool.
When you send a message in NeatSchool you address it to one or more NeatSchool entities, each represented by a record. In NeatSchool, there are records like Parent/Guardian and Staff Member that represent one person and contain his/her e-mail address and/or mobile phone number. When you send to one or more of these records NeatSchool simply sends the message using the information in the record. Other records, like Accounts, Classes, Departments and Facilities, correspond to a collections of persons. So when you send a message to such records, NeatSchool has first to find who are the eligible persons to receive the communication.
Let’s first start with an Account. When you send a message to an Account, without checking any channels, the message is sent to all the members of the Account (i.e. parents/guardians and/or students) who are marked as Account Managers/owners. If you select one or more channels the communication is sent only to those who have subscribed to that channel. So in the example shown in the figure below, if you send a message to account Doe, both John and Mary will receive it because both are Account Manager/owners. However, if you were to send the message to Doe and also select the Academic channel, only Mary will receive it.
When you send a message to the whole Facility, NeatSchool first finds all the active accounts of that facility and then sends the communication to each Account as explained earlier. Please note that this will include parents of future or former students if their account is still active.
When you send a message to a Department or a Class, NeatSchool first finds all students who attend the Class or a Class in the Department, and then from each student finds his/her Account and then sends the communication to each Account as described earlier. When you send a message this way, in the Advanced Options, you have the option to include or exclude students who are scheduled to start in the future but have not started yet.
In schools with older students, it is common to have the students, who typically are not Account Managers, subscribed to the Academic channel. When the teacher sends a homework related communication she sends it selecting the Academic channel so that all the students receive it.
Let’s look at a concrete simplified example. Let’s say you have an organization with one Facility called Little Star as shown in the figure below. The figure shows three Accounts, three Classes and one Department.
If you send a message to the “Little Star Accounts & Staff Members” with no channels selected, the message will be sent to all three active Accounts Doe, Smith & Bone and the three active Staff Members which will be 7 e-mail addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com. Notice that Nand Smith will not receive the message because she is not an Account Manager/Owner.
If you send the same message selecting the channel Academic, only three Parents/Guardians will receive it, the ones who have the Academic channel selected. The total e-mail accounts will be 6: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Now, if you send a message to the Department “Elementary Accounts & Staff Members”, the message will go to the staff members associated with the class (Mary Don and Donna For) and the accounts of the students in these two classes (Doe & Smith). This will be the e-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Advanced options, there is a checkbox that determines whether future students will be included as well. If you check this box, the message will also be sent to John Bone.