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V3: SMS Polls (and how they work)
V3: SMS Polls (and how they work)

Create a poll. Send / Use it. See the results. All 'how to's are here.

Jason Alexis avatar
Written by Jason Alexis
Updated over a week ago

Connecting with people over what they want and need helps to build great relationships. The PastorsLine poll feature gives you a simple and easy way to find out just what’s on the minds of your church members and guests.

If you can write it, you can ask it: which life issues they would like to study about in small groups, which sermon topics would be especially uplifting to them, how should the next year’s budget be allocated?

Don’t forget feedback! Use polls to find out how you are doing on an endless variety of areas such as church cleanliness, first time guest reception, and prayer request follow-up.

The PastorsLine polling feature is quick to set up and use. This means you can use it often to keep your church membership interested in their church AND help them feel the interest the church has in them.

Something special happening at your church? Sending out a poll to find out who’s attending is a nice way to inform people about the event AND encourage them to attend.

How does the polling feature work?

Since we made this video, polls has been improved. So after you get the general idea, take a look at the walkthrough below for the updated version.

How to get to the new poll campaign page

After you log in to PastorsLine...

Step 1

Click on Create New (top item in left-hand most column). The Create New box will open.

Step 2

By default, you will be in the All tab. You can search for your campaign here OR...

Step 3: Click on the Campaigns tab. This will narrow down your options for easier selection.

Step 4: Click on Create Poll.

The Add new poll page will open.


Step 1: Choose which type of poll you wish to create: Single-Entry Poll (one-time use), Multi-Entry Poll (reusable). Note that using a Multi-entry poll may cause inaccuracies in your statistics.

Step 2: Type in your question in the space provided (see turquoise text in image below).

Step 3: Type in up to 4 answer /autoreply options. You must do at least 2 (A & B).

Click on each option to provide the answer/autoreply entry line for that option. See gold boxed section in image above.

Examples of autoreplies:

  • Thanks for taking our poll!

  • Thanks for responding!

  • Thanks. Your answer is valued.

  • Thanks. Your poll answer is important.

  • Thanks. Here's more info. + link.

  • Thanks. Read more here. + link.

Step 4: Select the action you want to perform when people reply to this poll. See fuchsia boxed section in image above. Then select the relevant value(s).

For example, if your selected action is Add to Group(s), your selected values would be the group(s) to add the poll responders to.

Step 5: Type in your general autoreply message -- mandatory.

***For info about how PastorsLine uses the autoreplies in Steps 3 & 5, see the note below.

Step 6: If you wish to add a keyword, toggle on the CREATE KEYWORD button (see image below). An entry line will appear. Type your keyword in the space provided.

Step 7: Click Save to confirm your action.

Note that:

  • You can have up to four (4) response options, but you can turn off 1-2 response options, leaving the required minimum of two (2). This is very helpful when there are just three (3) answer choices (such as workshop date options) or you want responders to answer “yes-no”. 

  • AUTOREPLY MESSAGE - This is the text your people will receive after answering the poll. If no Autoreply Message is available, PastorsLine will use the GENERAL AUTOREPLY MESSAGE (located at the bottom of the screen).

  • At the moment, the total limit of characters allowed is 160—question + all answer choices combined. This ensures that you are sending only one text instead of several.

  • CREATE KEYWORD - When toggled on (button is purple) and a keyword is typed in, this feature will allow your audience to text the keyword to your telephone number to activate and/or answer the poll (more on this below).

NEW: If you project your poll on a big screen and your poll has a keyword, the keyword will be visible. In the example, the keyword 'POST' is shown.

HOW TO SEND / USE YOUR POLL (three options) 

Open the Campaigns page. 

Option One

Locate your poll and go to the right-hand end of the detail line. Click on the Options menu and choose Send (turquoise box and arrow in image below). 

The Send Poll screen will open. Choose the specific group to send to (turquoise box and arrow in image below). If you have more than one PastorsLine phone number, click on the number displayed to choose the new number you wish to send the poll from (fuchsia box and arrow in image below). You will see a preview of your message. If all is ok, click on Send (gold box and arrow in image below).

Options 2 & 3

Choose Report from the Options menu.

The Results for Poll screen will open. Notice that it is like a PowerPoint slide. It shows an empty bar graph of your poll. At the bottom, is the message: Text (keyword) to (phone number).

The idea here is to cut and paste the link of this screen into a document or presentation for live polling use (church concert, evangelical event, etc.). Here’s how it would work:

  • Option Two - Your audience texts your keyword to your phone number. They receive a text back with the answer choices. Your audience texts back their answers. They receive the relevant autoresponder or auto reply message. 

  • Option Three - Your audience texts your keyword + their answer to your phone number. They can do this because the answer options are displayed on a big screen. They receive the relevant autoresponder or auto reply message.

At the moment, the live polling screen refreshes every 10 seconds, showing the answers as they come it. It’s actually quite exciting for the audience...if we say so ourselves. 


Choose Report from the Options menu.

The Results for poll page will open (see image below).

You will notice that there is entry (column / list) for each answer choice. When you open that specific entry, you will see details of who chose that answer.

You can export the lists for use in follow-up and/or next steps. Each list will be in the format of an Excel table. At the moment, there will be one Excel table per tag. You can easily cut and paste the information from several tags to create one Excel table. 

NEW: Now, PastorsLine stores the data from each poll under the relevant Campaign. So, IN ADDITION to the tag view (above), there is a composite view of all the data from all the answers in your poll.

How could you use this new view?

1. Filter by Entered - The 'Entered' filter shows you all people who have begun your poll but not chosen an answer yet. You then have the option to follow up if desired.

2. Filter by Answer - Let's say you ran a poll about a Teens and Drugs series. Answer A was 'Definitely interested'. Answer B was 'Perhaps'. Answer C was 'No, thanks'. Since you can filter this view by answer, you could filter by answers A and B, sending a text with more information to your potential attendees.

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