Case Study: Using Texting to Engage an Entire District

Congressional office becomes first in Congress to personally engage with over 180,000 constituents via two-way text message interactions.


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for Congressional offices in their ability to interact with constituents. This comes at a time when the need for timely, accurate, and personal communications is needed more than ever. In Late March, a New York Congressional office brought forward this problem to iConstituent for assistance.

The office shared with the iConstituent Customer Success team that constituents were confused on how to access CARES Act resources, concerned with changing CDC guidelines, and frustrated with not having immediate access to office staff through the office phone lines.

To make matters worse, normal proactive communications strategies were not effective due to the shelter in place order and rapidly evolving situation within New York. The office had to cancel in person events and mobile office hours. Telephone Town Halls and Direct Mail took at least a one week lead time.

GovTextTM Solution

iConstituent deployed an instance of its GovText platform, hosted securely within the U.S. House network, in less than 24 hours. GovText offered unique advantages:

  • Messages come from local area codes.
  • Constituents can respond with comments and requests.
  • Offices can setup quick auto responses and also manually handle more complex responses.
  • All of the information is tracked back to a full constituent record in GovText.

The iConstituent Customer Success team shared texting best practices with the office and partnered with the office to create messaging. They also immediately imported all available constituent records with mobile phones numbers for the district – which totaled over 198,000 records – at no cost to the office. GovText carries no setup or ongoing platform fees, no costs for the data, and there is no extra charge if the constituent responds. The office was ready to go that day.


All messages were sent within an hour and responses were followed up on automatically. Less than 10% of the messages required manual intervention resulting in very minor burden on staff resources. Texts are read by an average of 93% of the constituents. The results were astounding and quickly offered some unique contrasts with Telephone Town Halls:

Benchmark Data Conclusion
Success Rate Texting: 184,000 interactions (93% national average read rate).
Telephone Town Hall: With 200,000 outbound dials, 12,500 live answer attendees.
Texting is 15x more effective.
Cost Texting: 8-9 cents per constituent interaction.
Telephone Town Hall: $1.50 per live answer attendee.
Texting is also 15x less expensive.
Connection Texting: Over 2,000 constituents expressed a general positive sentiment regarding the text message. The interaction was handled automatically by GovText.
Telephone Town Hall: On recent similar size universe, 380 questions were asked and 46 voicemails received.
Texting created 80% more constituent connections.

Overall Outcomes:

GovText delivered a solution for all three goals the office had set out to accomplish.

Goal Result
Spread awareness on programs and assistance available to constituents. Constituents were able to click links to take immediate action instead of being expected to write down a website link to visit at a later time like during a Telephone Town Hall.
Cost Texting: 8-9 cents per constituent interaction.
Telephone Town Hall: $1.50 per live answer attendee.
Provide needed reassurance to constituents that the office is working hard for the district. In this time of uncertainty, many constituents appreciated the effort and responded that they were comforted by the message.
Collect information on potential issues and concerns that can be escalated to casework staff to handle further. Allowed for a new virtual channel to solicit this information that was especially friendly to staff remote work needs


With the challenges of the unique environment your office is operating in, iConstituent is standing by to serve you with our GovText tool as well. All House offices are eligible for a no cost trial. Moving forward, you will receive 20% off when you text more than 100,000 constituents. Pricing starts at 10 cents per constituent.

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