PolitIQs: Telephone Town Hall Metrics


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Dear Friend,

Over the last six years our team has managed more than 240 telephone town halls for candidates seeking office from the Courthouse to the White House. These interactive conversations with thousands of targeted voters generally last up to an hour and allow for an orderly flow of Q and A with the candidate or other featured speaker. 

Some clients use telephone town halls to recruit volunteers from among early supporters, while others use the tool to persuade undecideds. In nearly every instance they have proven to be acost effective use of campaign resources -- but they are not cheap. And they should not be launched without adequate preparation.   

Our turnkey service includes help with scripting, drafting of polling questions for the audience, all the IT and logistical arrangements, a moderator, screeners, and the technicians to make sure the event goes smoothly. And over the past six years, these have been the metrics we’ve recorded: 

  • 85% of the target audience gets a message from your candidate (either on their answering machine or when they answer the phone)
  • 17% of  those on the invitation list actually attend the telephone town hall
  • The average time each participant devotes to a telephone town hall is 16.5 minutes
  • 3% of those attending chose to ask questions
  • The average cost per attendee is about $1.17
  • The average cost per attendee per minute is about 7.5 cents
  • About 40% of the call costs go to “robocalls messages” for people who don’t participate in the call (assuming 5 cents a “robocalls” message for these extended invitations in the voice of the candidate) 

When calculating the ROI on a telephone town hall with voters, who are by virtue of their self selection, information seekers, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Can I get mileage out of the robocalls with the telephone town hall invite? If so, then the cost per participant drops by about 40% 
  • Is the extended conversation I want to have with potential volunteers and donors who join the call  worth $1.17 per attendee? (or $.70 if we value in the robocalls to nonparticipants)
  • Is there a more cost effective way to talk to information seeking, undecided voters than 
    7.5 cents a minute? (or 4.5 cents a minute if we value in the robocalls to nonparticipants)
In the next edition of PolitIQs we will discuss a new telephone town hall feature that is ideal for reaching out to millennials this mid-term election season. 

And as always, we invite you to join our voter research conversation on Twitter @ChismStrat.

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Chism Strategies is America’s leading direct voter contact firm. We are innovators, grounded in the best social science research, with decades of experience in the field to mobilize voters and change public opinion.


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