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How to use text messaging to recruit more foster carers

For local councils with a remit to recruit foster carers, text messaging could be a valuable addition to their communications toolkit. Where ad campaigns, websites and social media fall short, text messaging comes into its own as a powerful engagement tool.

Given the growing need to recruit more foster carers in-house and reduce the need to outsource the provision of care to fostering agencies, councils must find ways to increase the number of high quality foster carer applications they receive. SMS could be an effective way to engage and recruit the right people sooner.

Using text messaging as part of the “vetting” process would mean councils receive the feedback they need to refine and focus their recruitment campaign activities. This would give them the insight they need to be able to better target their campaigns, reducing service inefficiencies.

The power of text messaging and how it can help engage more people:

  • 93% of British adults own a mobile phone
  • 38% of mobile users don’t have a smartphone with access to the internet (but they can receive SMS!)
  • 97% of texts are read within 15 minutes
  • On average people respond to a text within 90 seconds

4 ways your council could use SMS to recruit carers

1. Survey your audience — recruit the right people sooner

Vet people sooner

Start the vetting process by text before using valuable staff time and resources. This will help ensure you receive higher quality applications from people who are eligible, making your recruitment process more efficient.

2) Notify and remind your audience — increase attendance at events

Increase attendance

Increase attendance at your recruitment events and engage more potential foster carers. Gauge someone’s level of interest, assess their understanding of the application process, and educate and convert them sooner.

3. Nurture and convert potential foster carers — get the right messages to them

Educate people and myth-bust

Use SMS to educate potential carers on what it really means to be a carer. Use text messaging as a way to myth-bust on the topic, drip feed messages, and ultimately convert enquiries into high quality applications.

*Please note this is an illustrative example only

We see many councils investing in billboard advertising at strategic points in a city / town – e.g. in a shopping centre, at a bus stop, or another high-traffic area. People are more likely to act if they’re able to take action in a way they feel comfortable – e.g. on the device / platform of their choice. Diversifying the mode of contact could help generate more enquiries from potential carers.

If you’re interested in how Granicus’ Interactive Text Messaging could support your council’s foster carer recruitment efforts please get in touch.

For more ideas about ways to use text messaging please check out our “8 Terrific Text Messages” guide to text messaging in the public sector.