Over the past five years, CallHub has been leading a transformation in how political campaigns and advocacy organizations reach voters through phone calls and text messages. Their voice technology has helped more than 3,000 local and national campaigns move from pen, paper, and landline calling to digital calling solutions over the internet. A single volunteer on CallHub can make upwards of 100 personalized calls in the span of an hour, capturing voter data and allowing campaign managers to measure the performance of hundreds of nationwide organizers from a single screen. CallHub uses Plivo to navigate thousands of different networks, carriers, and telephony challenges across more than 200 countries.
Breaking the communication norm
Around the world, phone calls are a favorite tactic for campaigners to get to know voters and move them to action. But spreadsheets, call lists, and landlines don’t get them very far anymore with today’s mobile constituents.
The traditional way of making campaign phone calls involves using a landline or a volunteer’s cellphone to manually dial through a call list. With this process, each volunteer can reach out to around 15 voters in the span of an hour. During a high-pressure time, when election day is around the corner and campaigns have millions of numbers to dial, calls get focused on the most committed supporters. An email goes out to other supporters. With open rates on email as low as 30%, a lot of voters and supporters remain out of touch. Furthermore, every volunteer who uses their own cell phone faces privacy issues that come with revealing their numbers to thousands of strangers on a voter list.
CallHub needed a way to get the latest voice communications tools into the hands of campaigners globally — and do it while letting campaigners make millions of calls without sacrificing the privacy of their volunteers.
Enabling campaigns to connect with millions of voters
Plivo helps Callhub enable international campaigns to use digital voice solutions, according to CTO Chetan Giridhar.
CallHub mixes and matches Plivo APIs to offer campaigners four ways of making a call:
- A power dialer where a volunteer can call voters one by one
- An autodialer for multiple, simultaneous calls, with the ability to drop a prerecorded messages as voicemail
- A predictive dialer where statistics show actual availability and the dialer intelligently picks the number of additional numbers to dial
- Patch-through calling capability to connect a voter to speak directly with a representative
Depending on the intent of the call and how many calls they need to make, campaigners can “mix and match” between dialers for their calling campaigns. While they may choose a power dialer for fundraising campaigns, a predictive dialer that lets a single volunteer make upwards of 100 calls in the span of an hour is key for a successful get-out-the-vote campaign. Since volunteers are using a browser to make calls, their privacy stays secure, too.
That’s where Plivo’s browser-based caller really comes in handy — both for CallHub and their customers.
Why building in-house isn’t an option
For Giridhar, it makes sense to use a solution like Plivo rather than trying to build the services on their own.
9 million calls placed in one election cycle
During the last US midterm elections, campaigners made more than 9 million calls using CallHub. Similarly, for their first major nationwide campaign in 2015, Australian advocacy organization GetUp made 200,000 calls. Now, CallHub has grown to become a common fixture in political campaigns across the United States, Australia, and Europe.
The call volume for the midterm elections was tremendous, and both CallHub and Plivo’s infrastructures had to be rock solid, Giridhar says. “Even with the growth in volume and load, Plivo has really been able to scale with our customer needs.
“A few years ago, we made it possible for customers to quickly launch phone banking solutions in multiple countries,” he continues. “Looking at our traffic, which has grown more than 10 times over the past three years, you can imagine the impact that our digital communication tools have had for political and advocacy campaigns. Plivo has been able to scale with us along with that growth, so we can concentrate on helping our customers.”
Next on the horizon for CallHub are workflows that will help campaigners automate all forms of repetitive communication, and they count on Plivo to support them along the way.