How do they feel about absentee ballots? Conduct surveys faster for less money with chatbots.

4 mins read

Conducting surveys in a pandemic the smart way. Use chatbots.

How do voters feel about absentee ballots vs. voting in person? How does this vary by age, gender and race? Conducting surveys doesn’t have to be expensive nor time consuming. Even grassroots groups can now conduct their own customized surveys quickly for next to no money with chatbots.

Mothers of Hope surveys voters of color with Twilio powered chatbots

Mothers of Hope, based in Michigan empowers and strengthens women, families, and communities to rise above the effects of substance use disorders, poverty, violence and systemic inequities. They wanted to research how voters felt about their voting experience during the Michigan Primary election and their plans to vote in the General Election. They created a list of questions for a Post Primary Election survey:

Social Demographics: Zip Code / Race/Ethnicity / Age / Gender / Political Party
Did you vote in the Primary Election on August 4th? (Y/N)
Where did you vote?If you voted by Absentee, how did you deliver your Ballot? In person at the Clerk’s Office / Drop Off Box / Mail In
Did you vote for candidates in both Parties? (Y/N))
If you mailed in your Ballot, did you place 2 or more postage stamps on your envelope? (Y/N/Did not mail in my ballot)
Did you sign the back of your Ballot? (Y/N/ I voted at my Precinct Poll)
Do you prefer to vote at your Precinct’s Poll or by Absentee Ballot?
Do you believe your Ballot was counted? (Y/N)
Will you be voting in the General at your Precinct Poll or by Absentee Ballot?

“Mothers of Hope is committed to empowering Kalamazoo residents to vote and works to ensure every vote is counted,” said Gwen Lanier, a co-founder of the nonprofit organization.  The chatbot helps us to learn more from community residents’ voting experience which forms our voter education, election protection and get out the vote efforts in Kalamazoo county.  DemLabs help us accomplish this chatbot in an easy and efficient way.”

How to create a survey chatbot

Their list of questions was converted into a script for the SMS chatbot. Voters were asked to text “VOTE” to 269-371-8087 a local Kalamazoo phone number. All the responses are stored into a database that Mothers of Hope uses to analyze for preferences and follow-up with individual voters. The questions for the bot to ask are kept as a script which can be changed as needed. This allows the chatbot to be re-purposed for other surveys – just like you changing blades in razor.

Let chatbots conduct your surveys and save the results for you to analyze later.

Survey results collected and stored in a database for analysis by Mothers of Hope.

Twilio technology makes designing chatbots affordable

NetFlixUberShopify, and AirBnB all use Twilio‘s software platform. The Twilio platform scales to handle thousands of queries with costs per text starting at under one cent/text. The Mothers of Hope designed its survey chatbot in just a day with Twilio for $500 and pays 10 cents per completed survey response.

Takeaway: Use chatbots to conduct surveys for less money and effort.

Collect details directly from voters to make more informed decisions. Chatbots make this affordable for even small grassroots groups. Best of all the chatbots can be re-purposed so you can re-use them for multiple surveys and get even more value for your money. Learn more here.


Title image: Tiffany Tertipes on Unsplash
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Posted with permission from The Democracy Labs:

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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