Using Text Message Outreach to Reduce SNAP Churn

Millions of Americans use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to sustain themselves and their families, but nearly 1 in 5 lose their benefits around recertification and interim reporting deadlines—the regular renewal process where they demonstrate that their income is still low enough to continue receiving SNAP benefits. When SNAP-eligible residents want to start receiving benefits again, they must go through the lengthy process of reapplying to the program. This churn is costly and adds administrative burden for field staff at state and local agencies and can have an immediate impact on food security and other ripple effects for SNAP clients.

Text messaging provides an opportune channel to communicate directly with clients to support them through the recertification process. This guidebook—co-authored by the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University and the nonprofit Benefits Data Trust (BDT)—aims to equip state and local agencies with the practical insights they need to develop a text messaging outreach program for SNAP recertification. The guidebook is divided up into modular sections covering core workstreams involved in a text messaging program. Feel free to read it end-to-end or use sections as standalone resources. 

Interested in sharing your experience implementing a text messaging program or providing feedback on this guidebook? Reach out to us at beeckcenter@georgetown.edu and partnerships@bdtrust.org.

Read the Full Guidebook

Individual Guidebook Sections

PLANNING: Developing the Right Text Messaging Program for Your Needs

EVALUATION: Creating an Evaluation Plan

LEGAL + POLICY: Understanding the Regulatory and Compliance Landscape

TEXTING STRATEGY + CONTENT: Defining Your Texting Approach and Texting Engagement Plan

DATA: Getting the Data You Need

ENGINEERING + TECHNOLOGY: Architecting Your Technology Platform