Planning Checklist for A Telephone Town Hall

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Since we began organizing Telephone Town Halls in 2006, we have received many questions about what to expect when planning an event. Although it may seem daunting, planning a Telephone Town Hall is easy, and following our checklist ensures everyone is on the same page throughout the process!

  1. Identify a date. We have found the best days to host a Telephone Town Hall are Tuesday through Thursday. Ideally, selecting a date happens at least a week before the event so you can get commitments from speakers. However we can turn around Telephone Town Halls very quickly if necessary!
  2. Identify a time. We have found the best times start a Telephone Town Hall are between 6:30-7:30PM local time.
  3. Identify speakers, topics and goals. Alongside finalizing a date and time, we’ll want to decide the topic for the event, what speakers will be on the call and what the goals are for the event.
  4. Draft Agenda. Stones’ Phones is happy to help. We’ll use our years of experience to help you use language that will resonate with your audience. The agenda will include cues for speakers to make comments, ask poll questions to garner pledges or feedback, and timings for participant Q&A.
  5. Identify Screeners. Screeners will be the first point of contact for participants who want to ask a question during the event. Screeners can be organization volunteers, staff, or we can provide screeners for an additional fee. We generally recommend using at least 3 screeners for events with at least 10,000 records, and using at least one additional screener for every additional 10,000 records.
  6. Draft invitation scripts. Once we know the topic for the event, we can create draft scripts for the day before pre-call and for the Telephone Town Hall introduction calls. These messages will act as the invitation for guests to join the event. Once we draft scripts, you’ll be able review and make any adjustments necessary to ensure that messaging is on point.
  7. Finalize and record scripts. Once scripts are finalized, you will need to get them recorded. Our toll-free line makes recording the invitations easy and stress-free. These need to be recorded at least 1 business day before the pre-call goes live (so two business days before the event itself) to give us a buffer in case you need to re-record.
  8. Finalize Data. Our goal is to help you have the most successful event. This includes identifying your target audience. If you want to talk to primary voters, mothers with children, or any other demographic, we will help you find and purchase the data you need. In order to pull the best data for you, we would ideally need to know two days before the pre-call takes place. If you are using your own records, we will need finalized data by noon Eastern time, one business day before the pre-call to ensure the data is processed properly.
  9. Trainings. Staff or volunteers participating in the Telephone Town Hall will need to be trained to use the system. This includes those acting as screeners for participants and whoever will be moderating the event. Each training takes about 20 – 30 minutes and should be held no sooner than a couple days before the event to ensure everything is fresh in their minds and they have time to ask any questions.
  10. Running the event. The day of the event, speakers should dial in 15 minutes before the call is scheduled to go over any last minute questions or concerns. Then we’ll run a sound check and with your okay, start dialing out to participants! We are happy to be on the ground with you for events based in D.C. If you would like us to be on the ground for events outside of D.C., travel expenses will be passed along at cost.
  11. After the event. We’ll walk you through the data back and reports to ensure you are getting the most out of them.

If appropriate, we recommend following up with donation or action asks to anyone who stayed on the call longer than 5 minutes, asked a question or responded to a poll question. Those who stay on the event the longest should be prioritized. The post-event follow up should happen as soon as possible to ensure the highest possible return.

We look forward to helping plan your Telephone Town Hall. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!

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