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What Is A Telephone Town Hall?

Telephone Town Halls meld a traditional form of communication – the phone – with a 21st century web interface to create an interactive town hall meeting. They have emerged as one of the most effective tools available to directly connect with thousands of people at once. Telephone Town Halls allow participants to interact with a speaker from the comfort of their homes or offices.

The process starts the day before the event with an automated pre-call recorded by you or your organization to participants announcing the event. The day of the event, invitees receive another recorded message that welcomes them to the event and asks them to simply stay on the line to join.

This outbound invite to participants is ten times more effective at increasing participation than a conference call where callers must remember to dial into the event. Utilizing this technology, we can bring thousands of people together on the call in a matter of seconds.

Once on the Telephone Town Hall, participants can fully engage with the event by using their phone’s keypad to respond to poll questions and get in line to ask a question live on the air. This provides valuable data and feedback.

How does a Telephone Town Hall Work?

Scheduling and preparing for a Telephone Town Hall is simple. Below is a next steps guide that explains what pieces we’ll need and when we’ll need them to get an event up and running.

  • Choose the date and time of event: The best days to run a Telephone Town Hall are Monday – Thursday around 6-7pm local time

  • Start recruiting volunteer screeners and collectors: At minimum, we suggest having 4 screeners for your event in order to move through questions quickly. The most effective screeners are your own staff and/or interns.

  • Start drafting an agenda, we’ll provide a template The agenda includes timings for speakers, initial poll questions, and dedicated time for Q&A with participants. This draft can be edited to your liking and we’re happy to provide feedback throughout your planning process.

  • Draft recording scripts and get them recorded: The script template we provide includes language for a pre-call, live answer, and answering machine message that also complies with state laws. We will also provide you with instructions on how to use our recording hotline.

  • Send us data for the pre-call and event: We can accept files in .csv, .txt and excel. The fields should include at least the identification number, first name, last name, phone number and location.

  • Approve recordings for broadcast: We’ll send you the files that your team recorded for final approval before we broadcast them.

  • Conduct trainings with screeners and moderator: We will conduct training with you over the phone while practicing with the online interface. Each training only takes about 30 minutes and each screener or moderator will be provided with a follow-up cheat sheet.

  • Finalize agenda including speakers and poll questions: Send us the final agenda so we can program the poll questions for your event.

  • Day of, have everyone on a landline phone 15 minutes in advance: We will have a soundcheck before the event and answer any last-minute questions before the event starts. A Stones’ Phones staff member will be on the phone with you throughout the duration of the event.


Zoom Integration for Telephone Town Halls One way to keep participants even more engaged in your Telephone Town Hall is to use Zoom Integration. Zoom integration gives the participant the choice to dial in on their phone or simply click a link on their computer or mobile device to tune into your Telephone Town Hall. Once in the event they can see your moderator and speakers or a supplemental slideshow presentation to keep participants engaged through audio and visuals.

The web interface and the phone audio run completely simultaneously so you don’t need to worry about any lagging. With this feature participants can ask questions through the web chat and answer polls. This innovative technique makes it easier to get even more participation in your Telephone Town Hall.

Mobile Dialing Telephone Town Halls In years past, the ability to call cell phones for Telephone Town Halls was reserved only for elected officials and those who had opted in to receive calls to their cell phone. However, our innovative mobile dialing feature allows you to reach even more people through their cell phones.

The process is very similar to traditional landline dialing, but instead of receiving an automated message welcoming them to the Telephone Town Hall, mobile users are greeted by a live operator before being transferred directly to the larger event.

Since people are more willing to pick up and engage on their cell phone than a household landline, this feature allows you to reach a larger audience than ever before.

Fundraising Telephone Town Halls Not only do Telephone Town Halls allow you to talk to thousands of people, these events can also be helpful in finding possible donors and volunteers.

Throughout the event, we’ll let participants know that they can press a button on their phone keypad to donate to your campaign. You can also get donors and volunteers using our polling system. You can ask poll questions regarding whether someone might like to volunteer or donate to the campaign. For example:

If you would like to volunteer for Candidate A, please press 1, if you would like to donate to the campaign, please press 2, etc.

Then, following the event, we provide you with data that notes which participants pressed 1 or 2 and you can follow up with them.

Our Fundraising Telephone Town Halls have been successful in raising thousands of dollars for campaigns and organizations. If you would like to learn more about fundraising using Telephone Town Halls, check out our post dedicated to just that!

Patch-Through Telephone Town Halls Telephone Town Halls can do more than bring thousands of people together to hear about your message, they can also be used to assure elected officials hear your message too. We have combined the community aspect of a Telephone Town Hall with the advocacy of a Patch-Through program.

Patch-Through Telephone Town Halls allow participants to learn the minute details of the topic at hand by listening in and participating in your event. Your participants will be asked if they would like to press a button on their phone keypad to deliver your message to their elected officials. Immediately after the button is pressed the participant will be removed from your live event and their call will be transferred directly to their legislator.

Patch-Through Telephone Town Halls create a space to inform voters turning them into advocates for your issue.

Multilingual Telephone Town Halls Some of the hardest to reach voters are those whose first language is not English. Multilingual Telephone Town Halls give you the opportunity to connect with these voters in the language they feel most comfortable speaking.

How it works is simple. We set up two linked events for you; One event in English and one event in the alternate language of your choice. When we call out to our list a pre-recorded message will give participants the option to stay on the line for the English event or press a button on their phone keypad to be put in the event for the alternate language. Once in the Telephone Town Hall, the participants will hear the event in the language of their choice and can respond to polls and ask questions.

Multilingual Telephone Town Halls give you the option to further your message and cause. They allow you to connect with voters that may have not been able to participate otherwise, bolstering the amount of people you are able to reach.

Learn More Telephone Town Halls have revolutionized campaigning and advocacy. No matter what your goals are, Telephone Town Halls can work for you. If you’re interested in running your own Telephone Town Hall get in touch with us here.


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