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Bullard, Texas Increases Digital Communication Channels to Reach Younger Citizens and Families

Bullard, TX 75757, USA
CivicPlus

Government Champion

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Cost

Initial:
7 Thousand USD

Project Status

In Progress/Under Construction since 2017

At a Glance

To better reach its influx of younger citizens and families using digital communication channels, Bullard, TX implemented an emergency and mass notification system.

Problem Addressed

According to Chelci Amburgy, former Bullard Director of Public Relations and Communications, the influx of younger citizens and families into the residential community made it essential for the city to offer increased digital communication channels to more effectively reach residents with critical information.

At the time, Bullard’s communication strategy relied upon reaching businesses and subscribed residents with medical concerns via a hot list of contacts, and the use of a citizen notification subscription service with limited flexibility.

“The number of families with children is steadily increasing and making a rise in our demographics,” said Amburgy. “We have learned that we need to be strategic in the methods we use to reach our younger residents. We know it’s critical that our residents be able to receive our communications on a mobile device to accommodate their lifestyles.”

In an effort to maximize its ability to reach citizens via text, phone, and voicemail notification, Bullard began searching for a more inclusive notification solution that would give it greater flexibility and broader capabilities to create and push urgent notifications to citizens in a timelier manner.

Bullard, TX used/is using the CivicReady emergency and mass notification system from CivicPlus to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The City of Bullard chose to switch to the CivicReady emergency and mass notification system and integrate it with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS).

“It was important that CivicReady enabled us to obtain an IPAWS certification for our community,” said Amburgy. “With the app, and the way that IPAWS notifications are stored within the system, they never disappear, so our citizens can go in and view previous alert messages and read the thread from a specific, past event. The forum feature is also very valuable to our residents and us. Our citizens can comment on recent events and share information with one another, and we have visibility into those discussions, which allows us to better serve their needs. Our goal is for CivicReady to become widely adopted enough that it will serve as our resident communication hub, so if a resident ever has an issue or need, they can advise us about their concerns in their neighborhood forum, and we can resolve their issue promptly.”

Outcomes

  1. Increased communications. In 2020, Bullard sent 80 notifications, an average of 7 per month
  2. Increased citizen engagement. Since its implementation, Bullard has earned 975 total subscribers across 13 different groups. The most popular is Emergency Alerts, with 561 subscribers.
  3. Scalability. Bullard averages 24 new subscribers per month, with 228 new subscribers t the Emergency Alert group in 2020
  4. Integration with FEMA's IPAWS for a single interface for all urgent and emergency mass notifications
  5. The ability for citizens to customize which types of alerts they receive

Lessons Learned

  1. Amburgy has used a variety of marketing tactics to encourage subscribers including a form integrated into its website, notifications from its previous system, Facebook and website promotions
  2. The system can be used to notify citizens of canceled and rescheduled events

Something Unique

When the City switched to CivicReady, it was already utilizing CivicPlus’ CivicEngage® content management system (CMS) for the hosting and maintenance of its local government website. “Knowing that we were switching to a solution offered by the same company that provides our website and digital communication solutions, and the fact that CivicPlus provides solutions exclusively for local government were important factors for the consideration of our council,” said Amburgy.

Who Should Consider?

Any entity of any size looking for an easy-to-use emergency and routine communication system that integrates with FEMA's IPAWS.

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