Infobots help the needy find food banks and clinics while building contact lists at the same time

5 mins read

Infobots help the needy find food banks and clinics while building contact lists at the same time

The digital divide hurts the poor by making it harder for them to find the resources they desperately need.

VoterPAC uses an innovative approach to help the needy in California’s Central Valley and build contact lists. It provides details on nearby food banks with an automated text helpline, so those without internet access and unfamiliar with online searches can find free food banks.

Infobots are programs that listen to incoming text inquiries, collect details and text back the answer automatically with the answer. Infobots are affordable and enable even small groups to quickly set up their own automated helpline and build contact lists. Infobots cost about five cents to handle an inquiry. Imagine helping a thousand people and building a contact list for $50 while earning their gratitude for helping them.

This blog describes how VoterPAC set up a text helpline to provide information about food banks in California’s Central Valley.

Where is the nearest food bank?

Infobots provide valuable information to community members such as details on nearby foodbanks and also build contact lists at the same time.

Build contact lists with infobots

VoterPAC aims to help the needy and encourage them to register to vote. Many families in the Central Valley depend on food banks, but struggle to find information on nearby food banks because they don’t have internet access and find it hard to search online. VoterPAC decided that providing a free service way to provide this information by text would be a good way to reach more people. Their text based helpline was deployed within a day by following these simple steps:

– Collecting information about food banks from different sources including
– This information was published as a Google doc that is kept upto date with new information
– Information about the service is shared in the community on social media, flyers and QR Codes.
– Residents are asked to text ‘food’ to 202-858-0303
– An infobot asks them to opt-in to the service and then texts them a link with details on nearby food banks
– Providing the information as a text message avoids the need for internet access and saves them the hassle of making searching online
– Their name and phone number is saved so VoterPAC can follow-up with them as well

Infobot benefits

Infobot powered helplines offer advocacy groups and nonprofits several benefits:
– Any type of information and documents can be provided e.g. how to apply for an eviction moratorium, list of vaccination clinics…
– The information can be provided in different languages
– A single phone number can be used to provide different types of information depending on the ‘keyword’ that is texted in
– Opt-in contact lists can be built quickly and affordably

Use infobots to provide helpful information and collect contact details on the people being helped at the same time.

Voter PAC

Voter registration in California averages almost 90% of eligible voters, but much less (70 – 80%) in the Central Valley Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties are home to about 1.5 million people – represented by three Republican Congressmen (Reps. Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and David Valadao). VoterPAC aims to register, rally, and empower the rising American Electorate – people of color and younger voters – in California’s Central Valley prior to the 2022 mid-term elections.Support Voter pac

More about infobots

MailBots fight voter suppression by helping the disabled and seniors find voting info
Republican voter suppression targets the visually disabled. Voicebots inform and mobilize them
Juneteenth! Celebrate with community outreach and power building.
Looking for your Georgia run-off voting location? Call, text or use this app.
Don’t mess with Texas voters
Organize Workers Forced To Re-Enter COVID-19 Infected Facilities
Conduct Polls In A Pandemic? Use Chatbots.

TakeAway: Reach more people by providing the information they need in a form they can access. Use infobots to create text based helplines and build opt-in contact lists at the same time. It’s good karma.


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Originally posted on DEMLABS BLOG. Reposted with permission.

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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