Improved: Preventing Duplicate Text-To-Give Donations

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Building a reliable donation system on the back of decades-old telecom networks is fraught with peril. SMS messages can get garbled, dropped, or duplicated between your phone and Planning Center Giving. The frustrating thing about SMS glitches is that they're totally outside our control.

Although it's only happened a handful of times, message duplication is the most problematic of the glitches. Instead of getting a single message reading "$1000" we get two of those messages back to back. To the sender, everything looks totally normal (they have no idea their message was duplicated).

Was a bug in the phone? Was AT&T's fault? Regardless, here's what we're doing to mitigate that risk:

When a text message is received in Giving, the text-to-give system will now ignore any identical incoming message from the same sender for 10 seconds.

We will keep an eye on this in the coming weeks to see if this is a reasonable time threshold. It would have prevented the duplicate donation cases thus far. The downside is that this 10 second timer could theoretically catch a few quick-draw donors who donate, and then seconds later, decides to give the exact same amount. We'll watch and adjust as needed.

~ Team Giving 

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