Free group voicemail solution for small groups?
September 19, 2008 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Is there an easy, and free, way to send group voicemails and SMSs?

I am now responsible for getting out the "school's canceled!" message for my son's daycare and would rather not dial 28 home and cell phone numbers to leave the same brief message. What I'd love to do is plug all the numbers in my cell phone, create a group, create a message, and push it to the group.
I have the following technology, and so far I can't figure it out:
- Blackberry curve (t-mobile)
- Land line (Verizon)
- Grand central account
- OS X
- Phone numbers and email addresses for all parents

I don't care if it's text to voice, text to text, voice to voice, or voice to text, but I do need the message to show up on cell phones and, by voice only, to land lines (not all families have both). I'd be fine with two solutions (one for cell phones and one for landlines) if it means only two interactions instead of 28. And I'm willing to entertain other software/services, but again, free and easy is the name of the game.

P.S. I saw this question circa 2006 and I don't think the free voicemail account works because people shouldn't have to call every slightly snowy day to check "how 'bout now, is school closed now?" And SayNow's service seems to require a bit of set-up on the recipient's end about how to receive messages, etc.
posted by cocoagirl to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
SMS = email mailing list through Google for free.

It takes a little knowledge about whae phone service they have to get the ... etc

As for sending a group voicemail.... thats a toughie.
posted by SirStan at 1:31 PM on September 19, 2008

Have you looked at off-the-shelf products? I believe there are products like this aimed specifically at schools and municpal governments.
posted by meta_eli at 1:42 PM on September 19, 2008

You could probably rig up some voice modem software to dial each number, one at a time, and play a pre-recorded message. And ideally you'd want it to be smart enough to start reading the message over again if it hears a voicemail "beep."
posted by meta_eli at 1:45 PM on September 19, 2008
posted by fakeitall at 1:45 PM on September 19, 2008

tatango doesn't do voicemail, just text.

meta_eli - such as...? Is that something I'd find at Best Buy or Staples? The only solutions I could find online charge per unit (message) or charge a monthly subscription fee.

To clarify, yeah, it's really the voicemail solution that's stumping me.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:51 PM on September 19, 2008

You might check this site out. It charges for the service, but appears to have different plans and rates for churches, schools, etc., and has a free trial. There's a toll-free number you can call to check it out. There's also this one, which would run you a flat rate of $15 a mo ($7.50 if you can get those 28 numbers down to 25, maybe just have a couple people call their friends?).
posted by misha at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2008

If you absolutely need something free, the best I could find was this: Dexmobile, which lets you set up groups that you can then call through one-button for a conference call, as many as five people at a time. So, then you'd make six phone calls, which is a lot easier than 28.
posted by misha at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2008

posted by mysterious1der at 2:31 PM on September 19, 2008

skype lets you send sms for super duper cheap, so all you'd have to do is copy/paste/send the message a few times for the people that have cellphones.

no idea about the voicemail though. do you know what percentage of people have landlines? if it's pretty low, it might be easier/save you time if you just call them directly while you handle the sms thing—ah, multitasking.
posted by lia at 3:25 PM on September 19, 2008

Thanks mysterious1der, I think Phonevite mentioned in that previous question, seems to work exactly the way I want it to and it's free.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:55 PM on September 19, 2008

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