Fundraising through Telephone Town Halls

June 18, 2024

Stratcom is excited to announce a new feature for telephone town halls (TTHs) which allows Canadian charities to fundraise on telephone town hall events for the first time in Canada. TTHs have always worked well for charities as a tool for donor engagement and stewardship and now they can be used to raise funds as well. 

Stratcom has hosted thousands of telephone town halls since 2011 for charities, unions, political parties and governments. TTHs are highly engaging phone and/or web-based events that connect thousands of participants by meeting them wherever they are, in real-time. Like an invitation-only live call-in radio show, a telephone town hall combines the interactive qualities of a conference call with the broadcast powers of radio. These events can also be hosted simultaneously on the web, in a similar style to an online radio player. Imagine engaging your supporters in a moderated discussion with a panel of speakers such as your campaigners, field workers or researchers. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, make comments and take part in live polls. As the moderator, you have the ability to screen the calls and have full control of which callers ‘go live’ to speak to your team directly.

Up until now, fundraising was not permitted on TTHs within Canada due to the CRTC regulations covering automatic dialing—announcing devices. Even recruiting volunteers was not permitted. This was unfortunate because highly engaging events like TTHs are the perfect moment for charities to ask supporters for donations of money and time.

A new feature called Access Live Answer now circumvents the CRTC regulations by adding a live agent who welcomes participants into the TTH. Much like a greeter, the live agent will welcome participants into a virtual lobby, provide brief details about the event and instructions on how to be added to the Do Not Call list or how to be connected to a live operator. This interaction happens before admitting participants to the TTH event.

During an Access Live Answer telephone town hall, there are several ways for participants to donate. The simplest way is for the moderator to announce a web address for the charity donation page. Similarly, the moderator could announce a keyword and short code and have the donation page URL sent as a text to the donor’s cell phone. Using a more proactive method, Stratcom could send an outbound text message to mobile participants with the donation page web address. Additionally, the moderator could announce that participants can dial *0 to be connected with a live agent to take donations over the phone. Once their transactions are completed, the participants would be returned to the TTH event.

Most supporters care deeply about your charity’s cause. During the informative and inspiring discussions on TTHs, the most common question they ask is “how can I make a difference?” This exciting new innovation opens up the possibility for charities to answer that question with an appeal for donations and volunteer opportunities.

Not only will you receive donation revenue but a TTH will also generates useful data about the participants. Data about who posed a question, who voted in a poll and the duration that someone stayed on the TTH is captured and can be returned to you. This data indicates level of interest and may be extremely useful in identifying prospects for legacy or major gifts.

Jerome Cheung

Director, Business Development

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