You can use our advanced messaging feature to send customized messages to your students and parents either by creating an auto message or a message by student ID. This article will specifically guide you on how to create and upload a CSV to Remind to send auto message updates about topics such as daily attendance, message by grade level, weekly lunch money balance, monthly progress updates, or any other actionable, informative message to specific people across your community.
You can customize auto messages with data from your school information system (SIS) using a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP). Students and parents will receive their auto message on their phone or email, depending on their notification preferences in Remind. You can send auto messages to up to 50k recipients.
Note: You cannot send an auto message to the same people in different schools. You also cannot send an auto message only to teachers. If you would like to send role-based messages to your teachers or staff, click here.
This article contains the following sections:
- Format your CSV
- Send an auto message
- Troubleshoot auto message delivery errors
Format your CSV
To send an auto message, you must have first completed a SIS sync within the last 90 days. If you haven't created rostered accounts for your community members yet, click here to review the rostering steps that you need to complete with the Remind Rostering Implementation Team.
We send auto messages to students and parents based on the student numbers that are in your recurring CSV export under the column header student_number. To send an auto message, you’ll need to download and format a CSV file with the necessary information. To add custom data to your auto message, you’ll need to create additional columns in your CSV for the information you want to include.
In the example above, we added a new column in the CSV file with the header student_name because we want the auto message we send to include their first name. This particular auto message is about attendance so we added a third column with the header absent_count, which will provide the number of times a particular student has been absent.
TIP: To minimize delivery errors, you should keep column headers as straightforward as possible. Avoid including commas in your custom data such as “City, State.”
Send an auto message
Create a draft
- Log in to your Remind account.
- Click on your District or School located on the left navigation menu.
- Click the Settings tab at the top of the dashboard.
- Click Auto Messaging from the left panel.
- Choose Auto messages from the dropdown menu.
- Click New auto message from the top right of the dashboard.
- Type in a unique Message name. Ex. Number of absences, lunch balance, 5th grade announcements, high school 10th-grade parents.
- Click the dropdown menu and select the name of the Organization you want to send your auto message to.
- Click Create Draft at the bottom.
- Click Download template.
- Complete the student_number column by entering the student number data on the auto message CSV spreadsheet you just downloaded. Remember, you can add more columns to include other information in your auto message, such as the first name.
- Save your file as a CSV with a unique name. We recommend using the same name used in step 6 above. Ex. numberofabsences.csv, lunchbalance.csv, 5thgradeannouncements, highschool10thgradeparents.csv.
- Type in your unique CSV filename on the Set up CSV Exports page in Remind. Be sure to add .csv at the end of the name.
- Note - The file name cannot include any spaces.
- Click Save and continue.
Set up file transfer
The next window will prompt you to set up your file transfer to Remind via SFTP.
The GIF above provides a preview of Steps 1-9.
- If you would like to use previous credentials, click on the dropdown and select the credentials you would like to use, and skip to Step 2. Or, click Create a new set of credentials and enter a Credential name.
- Open the Cyberduck application on your computer.
- If you don’t have Cyberduck, click here to download it.
- In Cyberduck, click Open Connection on the top left corner of the window.
- From the dropdown menu in Cyberduck, choose SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).
- Go back to your Remind credential window and copy the information for each section into the window in Cyberduck.
- Click Connect in Cyberduck. If you see an Unknown fingerprint pop-up box, click Allow.
- Open the folder where your Auto Message CSV file is saved on your computer, and drag it into the Filename section in Cyberduck.
- Click Allow. Once your CSV file has been transferred to Remind, you'll see Upload complete on Cyberduck’s Transfers pop-up box.
- Go back to your Remind auto message window, click the (x) in the top corner and click Close to exit out of the SFTP window.
- Click Save and continue.
Compose auto message
Your auto message is set to automatically be sent as a regular message. If your organization has urgent messages, an add-on feature, you can choose to send your auto message as an urgent message.
- Confirm the Message name, the Sender, and select the Message recipients - Students, Parents and guardians, or both.
- In the Message content section, type your message. To customize your auto message, put the custom data fields that are in your CSV file within matched double curly brackets in the content of your auto message.
- Optional: You can also translate your message by clicking the Translate button on the top left of the Message content box.
- Optional: Select Click here to attach a file to upload an attachment, up to 10MB, that will be sent with your auto messages such as a PDF, Google Doc, or an image.
- Click Save and Continue.
Test, review, and send auto message
Test and review your auto message on the next screen. If you have a phone number linked to your Remind account, you can send yourself the auto message to see what it will look like for your recipients. Skip to Step 3 if you do not want to test your auto message.
- Preview message shows you what recipients will see when they receive your message via text message or the Remind app.
- Upload your CSV file into the test message section. This will show you a preview of the column headers as well as the data that is in your spreadsheet.
- Be sure to select the number of rows you want to pull data from. The test example above shows 4 rows, but 5 rows are detected because the data includes row zero.
- The first example below shows an SMS message a parent would receive and the second shows how an auto message would appear in the parent’s Remind app.
- Click Back if you need to make changes to your auto message.
- Click Activate on the bottom right. The Status of your new auto message will be Active.
- Note: If you are not ready to send the auto message, click Save draft and you’ll automatically be returned to the Auto messages screen.
- When you want to send the auto message, select it and click Activate. If you need to make changes, you can click Edit instead. If you are still not ready to activate the auto message after editing it, select Keep Inactive on the bottom right.
On the Auto messages home screen, you’ll see a list of Active, Inactive, and Draft auto messages.
- Active - a customized message that you've set up to send.
- Inactive - an auto message that has been paused for changes, or for periods of time, such as a summer or winter break.
- Draft - an auto message that you’ve started and are still working on.
Troubleshoot auto message delivery errors
As you're creating a customized auto message, you may encounter the following errors:
Custom field is too long
Make sure that your message does not exceed 10,000 characters after custom fields have been added. The 10,000 character limit applies to the information that gets populated into custom fields, such as first name, when the message is sent. If your customized auto message is too long, the message will be truncated to fit the character limit.
Custom field is missing
Make sure that every student number has a corresponding custom field in your CSV. If a student number is missing a custom field, the message will be sent with the CSV custom field name in place of personal, customized information, or you’ll see the no student_name, absent_count columns were found in the error message
The text box in yellow in the image above informs you that students at your school don't have student numbers. Confirm your SIS is regularly syncing with Remind via CSV sync or Clever sync. See our Guide to SIS Syncing with Remind for more information.
To learn more about resolving auto messaging errors, click here.