Managing a secret sisters church program with hound reminders

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By developer Benjamin Godlove

I recently received an email from a user (let's call her Sue) asking if she could use the hound app to remind a group of secret sisters to bring their gifts to church twice every month. In her own words, she needed:

"... a way to send private group messages, set to an automated interval, to remind the group, of actions needed. The group members are not my friends, I'm just facilitating the group and members are unaware of each other. The women sign up and they are assigned to another woman and they give them cards, gifts etc throughout the year, dropping it off at a table at church. So I set up a reminder for them to remember to send their present throughout the year, because I don't want to be nagging everyone all the time LOL so if I can just set it up for the year, say the first and 3rd week of every month, from now until next December, that would be ideal."

After going back and forth with Sue for a bit, I listed her requirements for clarification.

Sending messages to a group

Sending reminders to the secret sisters group is very different from a regular group text. She didn't want the sisters to know about each other, so the reminder had to go out to each one of them separately. In a normal situation she would have to write out a message to each one of the sisters and send it from her phone. Hound makes this massively easier. You can add multiple recipients to any hound reminder as depicted here:

Multiple hound reminder recipients

However this is different from a normal "group" text in two ways:

  • (1) Each of your recipients will receive the text message in a separate thread. This is not an iMessage group or anything.
  • (2) The text message will come from +1 (914) 278-7724, rather than from your own phone number. This was perfect for Sue because she didn't necessarily want all the sisters to have her contact information.

Preparing the recurring message

The next challenge for Sue was having to send the message twice per month for the rest of the year. What she really wanted to do was set up a recurring hound once and then not have to send it herself every time.

Monthly recurring hound reminder

Hound supports daily, weekly, and monthly recurring reminders which made this really simple for Sue. She created two hounds to the group -- the first one scheduled for the 1st of the month, and the second scheduled for the 15th of the month. These hounds are set to send every month at the same time on the same day.

Finishing the program

Once the secret sisters program is over, all Sue has to do is delete the hounds and they will stop sending. She can easily do this by swiping right in the main list or by tapping on a hound and deleting it from the details screen.

If you're managing a secret sisters group you can download the hound app using these buttons: