How COVID-19 Increased Telephone Town Hall and Newsletter Usage
by Josh Billigmeier, on September 22, 2020
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how the pandemic has impacted Fireside, so I wanted to share a couple of key areas that we adapted to keep our clients connected with their constituents during the pandemic.
1000% increase in Telephone Town Hall events
First, we were challenged by the sudden uptick in scheduling for telephone town hall (TTH) events. Early in the pandemic, telephone town halls became the primary way to reach constituents quickly, get their feedback, and connect them with public health experts that could answer questions and give guidance on behavior.
Prior to the pandemic, five events per week was busy; once the pandemic hit, we were booking six to eight events every night. This graph shows the trend of events for the first half of the year:
We immediately dedicated an employee to configure TTH events full time, and I jumped in to help with scheduling and training. In fact, the CEO for Broadnet, our TTH partner, had to jump in as well and moderate events because of a shortage in trained professionals.
I’m proud to say that through telephone town halls, we connected offices with over 12,000,000 constituents during this crucial time, while helping offices target and prioritize seniors who were most at risk.
350% increase in newsletter volume
Our email servers also experienced a huge increase in volume. Offices went from only sending monthly communications to sending multiple email updates a week about the pandemic.
From March to June we delivered 250,000,000 emails, which broke all previous records for mail volume! This massive increase made it challenging to get all the emails out the door in a reasonable amount of time. During late March, an email took an average of 6 hours to send to 100,000 constituents. With a lot of hard work by our operations team to increase our servers’ performance, we eventually slimmed it down to half an hour by the middle of June.
Our mailing speed is now on par with the top cloud performers like MailChimp and Constant Contact; large lists no longer take hours to send and smaller lists go out in just a few minutes.
I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at some of the things that kept us busy during the early parts of the pandemic. Let me know if you have any questions about any statistics or anything else.