For a big district with a wide variety of issues, staying organized and managing hundreds of constituent cases a month is a daunting feat. That’s why using casework management platform Fireside is essential for the office of a North Carolina representative.
The office’s deputy district director leads a team of four responsible for constituent services in the district. The constituency they serve is large and diverse, with big agricultural and veteran populations, a port city, and two universities. This diverse demographic means a wide variety of casework in many areas. The team manages approximately 500 cases a month, and that number has steadily increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“I preach using casework management software. It’s the only way you can manage everything,” the deputy district director says. Rather than getting bogged down with folders, sticky notes, and paper calendars, Fireside lets her team streamline the process and stay organized. “You can handle more casework when you’re working smart,” she adds.
Keeping the Entire Team Organized
The office’s constituent services team relies on Fireside for its casework management system to keep everything organized and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Two years ago, they switched to Fireside from another platform and have found it much easier to maneuver.
“[Fireside] has a good user interface, and it’s easier to teach people how to use,” the deputy district director says. This is important because the team has seen a lot of turnover in the last year, so she has onboarded and trained several new people. “Fireside is much more intuitive.”
While other constituent relationship management platforms she’s used have been hard to use and seem inefficient, “Fireside is user-friendly, laid out well, and it’s easy to understand how it works,” she says.
Fireside is an integral part of constituent services management for the office. “So much of casework is reactionary, requiring us to constantly put out fires and jump on different problems,” the deputy district director says. “I think I can’t be stumped anymore, but then the next phone call I’m stumped. Fireside puts you more in control.”
When constituents call with questions, the issue gets entered into Fireside right away, where it can be assigned to the appropriate caseworker. “I can keep track of how much casework a particular caseworker is getting, so when somebody starts to get overwhelmed, I can see where I need to step in and help relieve the burden,” the deputy district director adds.
Juggling Constituent Requests
Managing constituent casework means juggling a lot of balls at the same time. In a single day, an office might work on social security issues, help constituents apply for disability payments, and handle passport expedites and veterans issues.
"There’s a lot more to it than just contacting a congressional liaison; often there’s more than one agency involved. Being able to keep a list of these different people you’re working with and see it all at a glance is really helpful."
“There’s a lot more to it than just contacting a congressional liaison; often there’s more than one agency involved,” the deputy district director says. “Being able to keep a list of these different people you’re working with and see it all at a glance is really helpful.”
With hundreds of cases, many of which are similar to each other, it’s easy to get them confused or lose track of the details. “Fireside is a very easy way to stay organized and on top of everything,” she says. “We have everything in one place: our notes, all the files associated with the case record, and emails connected to the case.”
"Fireside is a very easy way to stay organized and on top of everything. We have everything in one place: our notes, all the files associated with the case record, and emails connected to the case."
The ability to tag constituent cases based on issue or area of interest lets the representative’s office target communication to the most relevant audience. For example, the constituent services team tags cases involving veterans, which can then be used to send veteran-focused e-newsletters such as on veterans services or legislation. That way, the office ensures constituents are up-to-date on the topics that matter most to them.
Need-to-Have Tools for Casework Management
Using Fireside helps the constituent services team work with hard-to-reach government agencies, like the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM). “OPM is very slow to answer even congressional inquiries,” the deputy district director explains. So, she uses Fireside to set reminders to follow up with all parties involved after a certain period. “If we didn’t have a way to set these reminders, there would be no way to keep it straight,” she adds.
This centralization also makes it simple for the caseworkers to do their work from home, rather than being in an office with a physical file system. “On days when I work from home, it’s very easy; all I need is my laptop,” she says. “I don’t have to haul folders and papers home with me — everything I need is online.” This also means constituents’ information is more secure and confidential.
“I don’t have to haul folders and papers home with me — everything I need is online."
In Fireside, everyone can see at a glance what kind and how many casework requests the office is getting, so it’s a simple process for her to create reports that showcase the team’s hard work. The office’s weekly reports include how many cases were opened, closed, and pending each week, as well as the top issue areas and a comparison of the number of cases year over year.
The reports even helped her recently justify hiring another caseworker. The deputy district director easily demonstrated that casework had steadily increased by a large amount over the last few years. “It was nice to be able to give concrete numbers to make that case,” she says.
Handle All Your Casework With Fireside
With end-to-end communication and organizational tools, Fireside’s casework management solution is the most comprehensive available. We give you back hours each week to spend on the multiple other tasks requiring your attention. Because constituent casework involves such a large volume of cases, you need tools that will save you time and effort.
Fireside lets you streamline case setup, organize your messages, prioritize follow-ups, and report on your impact, all from a single platform. Learn more about how Fireside was built with government officials like you in mind: request a demo.