Problem: In 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated a campaign to educate people about their voting rights. With some states passing draconian laws making it harder to vote, and others passing laws restoring voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, The ACLU needed to educate a large population on their rights before voter registration deadlines.
Solution: Because we needed to address different topics based on each state’s laws, we developed a multi-state Telephone Town Hall strategy. By working with the affiliate in each state, we crafted specialized plans to resonate with targeted communities. Using well-known community members, such as radio hosts, local politicians, and celebrities, we created dialogue on voting rights that kept people interested and engaged.
Results: This series of events reached over a quarter million people in 10 different states. After each event, the ACLU received an outpouring of support, with many individuals thanking the organization for the new information. The Telephone Town Hall platform is uniquely adaptable to educate different communities and reach them where they are.
Problem: Senate Republicans had the fate of American health care in their hands after the House passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In order to prevent 23 million Americans from losing coverage, the Center for Community Change Action had to act.
Solution: We targeted vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2018 or in states most impacted by Medicaid cuts, sending a large volume of patch through calls into their D.C. and district offices. We asked supportive constituents to share their stories with their Senators, sending a strong message to Capitol Hill.
Results: In the days after these patch programs began, almost 70% of our Senate Republican targets released public statements that they would not support the current bill. Not long after, the Senate health care effort ground to a halt.
Problem: Before working with Stones’ Phones, EMILY’s List was using old-fashioned conference calls to connect with members. Membership Services Manager Kelly Biggs says they used to have less than 30 people on a call, even when featuring President Stephanie Schriock and high-profile candidates. EMILY’s List needed to move beyond this outdated contact method to keep a large membership engaged.
Solution: We worked with EMILY’s List to start hosting Telephone Town Halls, which invite members to join the call by dialing out to them. Now, they have thousands of members joining and staying on the calls. The organization uses Telephone Town Halls for donor stewardship, to raise money for endorsed candidates, to educate supporters, to get out the vote during elections, and to hear directly from their members. We often include recorded statements from endorsed candidates and ask poll questions to gather feedback and shape future calls.
Results: EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock tells us she loves being on Telephone Town Halls. Consistent use of our Telephone Town Halls has helped EMILY’s List to expand their reach and strengthen member engagement, so they can continue to ignite change and elect pro-choice Democratic women.
Problem: President Donald Trump nominated well-known anti-LGBTQ Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. The Senate had the final vote to approve or reject Sessions’ nomination. Human Rights Campaign turned to Stones’ Phones to rally their members and pressure key Senators to vote No on Sessions’ nomination.
Solution: Stones’ Phones set up a targeted patch program, calling HRC members in 5 states where Senators were reportedly wavering on their confirmation vote. We spoke with over 4,000 members about LGBTQ issues and routed over 1,000 calls to the Senators’ offices so HRC members could voice their opposition to Sessions’ nomination.
Results: The program ended with an impressive 25% patch rate (a normal membership patch rate hovers between 12% and 15%). When the vote came to the floor, 3 out of 5 targets voted against Sessions’ nomination.
Problem: The Pennsylvania state legislature planned to pass legislation that would delay both the state’s clean power plan and its cap on carbon air pollution. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf planned to veto the bill, but Republicans were expected to gather enough votes to override the veto. The Natural Resources Defense Council needed to mobilize their supporters in Pennsylvania and pressure four Democratic state senators who might vote with Republicans to delay the clean power plan.
Solution: Stones’ Phones ran patch through and recording capture programs, targeting four key Democratic state senators from Pennsylvania’s coal region. NRDC was able to flood these senators’ offices with over 600 patch through calls from constituents. We also captured 99 statements recorded by constituents and dropped them as messages on the senators’ voicemail boxes after hours. These offices heard from constituents day and night.
Results: As a result of our patch calls and voicemail drops, two of the four state senate targets flipped back to our side, voting against delaying the state’s clean power plan.
Problem: PETA relies on fundraising operations to continue its work advocating for animal rights. To keep its donor base engaged and growing, the organization needed a new approach to fundraising and donor stewardship. PETA’s VP of Development Steve Kehrli met Marty Stone at a non-profit direct marketing conference. They share a love of orange tabby cats and animals, so naturally, they hit it off!
Solution: Stones’ Phones has hosted 45 Telephone Town Halls for PETA over the past five years, allowing them to communicate on a personal level with members around the globe. In a recent event, PETA talked to 70,000 donors about information uncovered in recent investigations. As members gave donations throughout the event, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk announced their names to personally thank them for their generosity. This subtle social pressure in turn encouraged others to donate.
Results: This Telephone Town Hall raised $26,000 over the span of just an hour, and in the days after the call, PETA saw a marked increase in their online contributions, including one pledge of $100,000.
Problem: In early 2016, conservatives in Congress again took aim at Planned Parenthood, trying to defund the organization as part of the Republican-authored American Health Care Act. Planned Parenthood needed to stand up strong to prevent patients from losing the health care services they rely on.
Solution: Stones’ Phones worked with Planned Parenthood Action Fund to create momentum against the defunding bill. We executed an extensive and aggressive patch through program targeting 27 House Members and 7 Senators. Over the span of just 5 days, we flooded these offices with almost 12,000 phone calls from constituents demanding continued Planned Parenthood funding.
Results: The American Health Care Act failed to pass in the Senate, even under a Republican majority, and Planned Parenthood continues to receive funding. We’re proud of our long relationship with Planned Parenthood and the important work they do for women’s health.
Problem: The 2016 Nevada Senate race was forecasted to be among the closest in the country, with Republican Joe Heck enjoying a slight advantage over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. We needed historic Democratic turnout, particularly among Latino voters, to keep this open seat blue.
Solution: We started our phone program months before Election Day with Live ID calls. Not wanting to take any chances on turning out the wrong people, we IDed all modeled supporters rather than depending on the model alone. These bilingual calls ran to landlines and cell phones (hand-dialed) to construct a hyper-specific GOTV universe. The live calls were deployed in concert with an endorsement auto call from President Obama, along with Manual Texting to cell phone targets to reach a more representative universe of voters.
Results: We began the early vote period with 60,000 GOTV targets; after just 2 weeks, over 59,000 of them had cast a ballot. Cortez Masto’s 2.4% win margin (26,231 votes) over Heck – a wider spread than expected – was buoyed by record Latinx turnout, and our robust phone program was vital to this success. We are so proud to have helped elect our country’s first Latina Senator.
Problem: In the wake of House Republicans passing Trump’s American Health Care Act, House Majority PAC wanted to see if they could impact voting behavior by talking about legislative issues early in the electoral cycle. We wanted to hold Republican legislators accountable for their voting record on repealing the ACA.
Solution: Stones’ Phones targeted voters from swing districts represented by House Republicans who voted to take health care away from 23 million Americans. We asked these voters to record personal stories about how they and their loved ones would be affected by repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Results: Of those we called, 8.5% recorded a message – a total of almost 600 personal stories. House Majority PAC then chose the most compelling stories and shared them on a website called Voices From Your District, successfully naming and shaming Republican legislators. And now these evergreen recordings will be valuable ammo in 2018 when contesting close House races.