Versature at the Sandra Schmirler Foundation 2016 Telethon

Versature and the 2016 Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon

February 21, 2016, marked Telethon Day at Revolution Place in Grand Prairie, Alberta. It was another exciting year for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, which was able to raise over $300,000 in support of life saving newborn intensive care unit equipment thanks to generous donors from across Canada. The energy from the volunteers, Foundation board members, curlers, and community was electric – everyone was eager to answer calls and chat with donors from all over the country all day long.

As the phone services provider of the travelling telethon, held each year in a different Canadian city during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Versature was proud to be a part of another amazing event. Plug-and-play VoIP technology coupled with incredible support from the local community made telethon setup, configuration, and staffing a breeze. This year Versature sent out 30 Polycom VVX 400 multimedia business phones for The Telethon along with supporting network equipment and got to work setting up the telethon space. Branded colour displays and custom on hold messaging graciously provided by Sandra Schmirler’s daughters and mother each added a personal touch to this year’s event.

Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon - volunteer call taker setup

A big telethon highlight once again was Versature’s live call analytics dashboard. Telethon organizers and volunteers alike were in awe at the amount of real-time data available on donor calls. It was interesting to monitor the live call volume chart as each time TSN’s broadcast of the Scotties touched on The Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon, call volume dramatically spiked. Each time this happened, it was all hands on deck as call takers worked to handle the dramatic influx of donors.

TSN Coverage of the 2016 Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon

Another key figure we monitored very closely was abandoned or dropped call rate. The abandon call rate is the number of people who called in to the telethon and hung up before reaching a live representative (and making their donation). Dropped calls can usually be attributed to long call handle and call wait times, statistics that were also available on the live Sonar interface.

Dropped calls are an important metric for any type of call centre but are especially critical to the Foundation’s Annual Telethon, which represents the organization’s largest annual contribution. The use of the custom on-hold messaging, which provided statistics about the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and was voiced over by Sandra’s daughters Sara and Jenna, encouraged callers to remain on the line and overall engaged callers beyond basic on-hold music. This slight change to the telethon setup resulted in a reduction of dropped call rates, from an average call abandon rate of 9% with rates as high as 30% during peak call volumes in 2015 to an average of 1% in 2016 with rates never exceeding 5%. A huge accomplishment for the team!

We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and Curling Canada for years to come and are excited to see what can be accomplished during next year’s telethon.


For more information on Versature’s nonprofit or telethon services, please contact us. You can also download a complete case study on the Sandra Schmirler Foundation’s use of Versature VoIP services here.

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About Sarah Dingman

Sarah Dingman serves as Versature's Senior Marketing Specialist, putting her experience in content marketing and digital strategy to work in a fast-paced tech environment. Sarah has 6+ years experience working in marketing, specifically within the tech industry, and is passionate about advancements in her field as well as her volunteer roles in the nonprofit sector, such as her position with LiveWorkPlay.