2023 School Parent Notification System Comparison Chart

As a school or school district, you have many options for automated mass notification to send alerts to parents, students, and staff. We asked a consultant to research the options and compile a comparison chart. Information was gathered from the respective vendors’ websites, brochures, recorded demos, and in some cases from their customers. We strive to provide you up-to-date and accurate information so you consider all your options as objectively as possible. If you see inaccurate information, please notify us, including a link, image, or video supporting the claim, so that we can update the chart to keep you informed in a precise manner.

Features Instant Connect SchoolMessenger & Skylert Blackboard RAVE SwiftK12 Infinite Campus Messenger One Call Now ParentSquare Remind Apptegy Reason for partial flag:
Mass Notification
System has the ability to send notifications via:
Phone (land-line, mobile)
SMS Text Messages
App Push Notifications
Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
Email Link to Voice Message
Two-Way Instant Messaging
Pricing Information
Price per person $1.50 $1.94 $1.78 $1.00 $2.30 $1.50 $3.00 – $4.00 $3.00 – $4.00 $3.00
Price includes Price per student and staff per year, includes most base and advanced features except BrightChat ($0.75 per person). Price per student per year–covers only base features with more functionality costing extra. $34,044 for 19,122 students (BB Mass Notification). Price per student per year–covers only base features with more functionality costing extra. Includes unlimited messaging and PDF Builder. Price per student per year–covers only base features with more functionality costing extra. Annual messenger fee per student per year–covers only base features with more functionality costing extra. $1,200 for 800 students. Price per student per year–covers only base features with more functionality costing extra. Price per student per year, includes mass notification, mobile app, web portal, and other features. Price per student per year, includes premium version of Remind. Price per student per year, includes mass notification, web portal, mobile app, and other features.
Text Messaging
Unlimited length text messages
Automatic translation of text message to contacts’ languages, over 100 languages Supports fewer than 100 languages
Work across all major wireless carriers and wireless phone models in North America
Ability to send messages in an expedited fashion during emergencies
Entirely automated opt-in procedure for text messages to new phones
Intelligent handling of reply texts based on customer’s preferences
Automated opt-in/opt-out
Uses short code true texting (SMPP) in U.S. and long-code true texting (SMPP) in Canada
Mail Merge fields: Display data from SIS or other databases (transportation, meal, etc.)
Optional feature that can require a designated person review and approve messages before they go out
Ability to schedule messages into the future
Text based surveys
Voice Calls
Able to record a message from receiving or initiating a call, play back, preview, and re-record the message Only offers one or the other option for recording a message
Automatic translation of text-to-speech voice calls, over 20 languages Do not support 20 languages
Ability to dial-in, enter a code, and launch a voice message without using the web or app
Have the ability to customize the telephone number display (caller ID)
Mail Merge fields: Display data from SIS or other databases (transportation, meal, etc.) Supports a limited number of database fields for mail merge
Automated opt-out
Phone survey functionality
Multipart messaging
Deduping voice calls
Toll-free caller ID number to allow message play-back upon call back
Accurate detection of live answer vs voice-mail to ensure delivery of phone message Detection problems with voice mails with pauses in the middle causing partial messages to be delivered
Limitations on SPF, Reply-To, DKIM, and other mechanisms that are important to ensure emails are not blocked by SPAM filters Limitations on SPF, Reply-To, DKIM, and other mechanisms to minimize SPAM detection
Can add CC, BCC, and “reply to” in email description
Ability to create emails using a full HTML editor for inserting graphics, attachments, links, and other features
Automatic translation of email to contacts’ languages, over 100 languages Supports fewer than 100 languages
Report emailing, such as report cards, customer specific financial reports, at no extra charge
CAN-SPAM and CASL compliant
Automated unsubscribe 1
Mail Merge fields: Display data from SIS or other databases (transportation, meal, etc.), including subject line Supports a limited number of database fields for mail merge
HTML templates: Users can create customized email templates and use them as branded emails
Email preview
Intelligently deduping emails across lists
Image management with uploading, preview, and searches Constraints/limitations in the image management
List and Contact Management
Ability to create lists via an import from a spreadsheet, with auto-detection of fields and matching stored contact records Rigid requirement regarding the columns and column headers; no auto-detection
Ability to create copies, list subsets, superset lists, all of which can be linked or unlinked List can be derived from other lists, but the linking mechanisms have some limitations
Unlimited self-updating groups/lists (dynamically change based on source data)
Have the ability to export existing recipient and contact information to Excel or a CSV file
Ability to build a list based on specific fields
Real-time filter for granular selection of contacts
Configurable list view to allow intelligence, searching, sorting, favorites and subfolders for organization of lists
Message Management
Message templates to quickly find and send pre-configured messages
Able to create automated messages launch at a specific time each week without user interaction
System allows user to pre-create messages for future purposes
Message and list pair can be pre-configured to send messages with two clicks
Messages can be locked into lists to ensure consistency
Ability to deliver notifications 24/7 with 99.99% availability
No hardware needed beyond PC stations
Service provided through web-login and mobile app
No data is sold or given to telemarketers or other solicitors
Ability to secure database, only allow users with appropriate credentials to access given information
Single sign-on integration using LDAP, ADFS, Azure, Google, PowerSchool, Blackboard and others Only supports some of the lists SSO mechanisms
Includes usage of expansive API to allow embedding of communications feature anywhere in work (no additional charge)
Fully Compliant with FCC TCPA
Less than 0.67% of capacity used on average for voice calls (even less for email/text)
Includes parent-facing app to receive/retrieve messages, push notifications, and adjust settings (no additional charge)
Multiple redundant SAS 70 type 2 certified
No single point of failure
Reports of Sent Messages
Generates transmission reports, available immediately, that show details for each message type: live answer, voicemail, busy, unreachable, no answer
Ability to to automatically send the report to any administrator via email, or exported as a file
User Accounts
Includes user licenses for all staff/teachers (no additional charge)
Allows an unlimited number of phone numbers and email addresses for each student, parent, or faculty member
System administrator can create an unlimited number of users to separate and control access to different groups, lists, and reports
System allows shared lists and groups for different users, and groups of users, including read-only access links Sharing of lists and groups have limitations both with licensing and read-only functionality
Parent Portal
Mobile App Parent Portal to subscribe, manage preferences and prior message vault
Web based community recipient portal: Subscribe, unsubscribe, manage preferences and prior message vault
Parent Portal allows parents to add phones/emails outside of SIS contact data for temporary usage
Two-way community communication portal organized by department and school
Automated Notification
Automated absence notification individualized per campus, including auto-translation Does not include auto-translation
Other automated notifications (e.g. low lunch balance alerts) added any time
Emergency Alert Features
SafeCast (no additional charge)
Anti-Bullying Hotline (no additional charge)
Designate messages as emergency to ensure they are sent out in front of all other messages (no additional charge) Available to a limited degree, at an extra charge
Weblink and call/text anonymous (no additional charge)
Anonymous tip reporting via web/mobile app
24/7 unlimited phone and email support
Unlimited training through remote web sessions
Rapid implementation to minimize effort of district staff
Customer resource site with tips, tricks and videos
Direct Integration
Michigan Data Hub
Infinite Campus
Blackbaud EMS
Genius SIS for Virtual Schools
Q (Aequitas Solutions)
Senior Systems
Google Sheets
Over 100 data sources
Embedded into PowerSchool user-interface
Ability to schedule daily absent/tardy calls by individual school 1
Low lunch balance notification
Integration with PowerSchool Parent Portal
Integration with PowerTeacher and PowerTeacher Pro Gradebook
Automatic calculate attendance totals for special messaging of cumulative absences/tardies
Ability to send PDF, PowerSchool object reports , and MBA reports Only some report types available, extra charge for feature
PowerTeacher includes filtering for teachers to send, such as current “final grade” and assignments missed
COVID-19 tracking notification feature
Mail merge of any PowerSchool field into voice calls, texts, and emails, including in subject of email
Free emailing report cards with posting to Parent Portal
Flexible encryption of PDF reports for emailing, including all birthdate formats
Support for PowerSchool Contacts Constraints on which contacts can be loaded
Email teachers who are late in submitting attendance
Two-Way Instant Messaging Communication
Two-way IM communication between parents, students, and admins
Ability to send attachments, permission slips, images, videos, and other files
Easy for parents to join and engage
Seamless integration using text, emails, and push notifications
Automated synchronization with student database for populating class rosters
Custom Branded Mobile App
Custom app branded for each school that includes full information about classes, schedules, meals, announcements and all other school information
Included with additional charge
Partial compliance, full compliance with additional charge

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