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Tornado As we gear up for the approaching Memorial Day holiday, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the tragic events of last weekend. Many of us watched as severe weather and multiple tornados ripped through the Midwest destroying homes, business and lives. Communication from local government during these times is critical, both for preparedness and recovery. Two GovDelivery clients recognized the impact of these storms and leveraged their partnership with us to get pertinent information to citizens as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The City of Fayetteville, Arkansas received notice that the National Weather Service had issued a hazardous weather outlook for northwest and west-central Arkansas. Fayetteville immediately sent an email asking citizens to consider the implications of these alerts and included information on emergency preparedness in structures, vehicles, and non-sheltered areas.

Understanding that more than 500 people have been killed so far this year by tornados, NPR recently posted an article on tornado preparedness emphasizing the point that being prepared for such severe weather would lower the death rate. By spreading the news from the National Weather Service in conjunction with severe weather safety education, Fayetteville was able to provide their citizens all the resources necessary to be as protected as possible.

On Sunday, May 22, a tornado touched down and tore through a densely populated area of northern Minneapolis, Minnesota. The City of Minneapolis immediately began sending email alerts through GovDelivery  in conjunction with posts to its social media pages. Because Minneapolis offers an option for subscribers to sign up for alerts in their precinct, the city was able to quickly target specific locations to provide vital recovery information including:

  • Warnings to non-residents to avoid the area and make way for first responders
  • Information on Tornado Recovery Assistance Centers
  • Notifications to the City Council for emergency meetings
  • Warnings of burglaries and tips to avoid door-to-door home repair scams
  • Public Works schedules of debris cleanup plan

These efforts remind us how imperative it is that government agencies are able to get the word out through as many channels as possible (email, social media, text, etc.) to ensure they reach the people who need it the most. GovDelivery commends the cities of Fayetteville and Minneapolis for anticipating these emergency situations and acting quickly to communicate with the public.

Jen Kaplan
Client Success Consultant, GovDelivery


The year was 1996, and the Internet was still in its infancy. Keeping with its tradition of being a cutting-edge city, the City of Bloomington, Minn. launched its first website – at a time when most communities relied solely on newsletters and the local paper to get their messages out.

Fast forward to April 2009 when Bloomington launched its new E-Subscribe service through GovDelivery, allowing residents to subscribe to specific areas of interest and receive relevant updates directly to their email inbox or wirelessly on their mobile phones.

One fun example of how Bloomington residents use E-Subscribe is to learn about the popular Farmers' Market – more than 2,000 people are signed up for this topic alone. Another 1,000 subscribe to snow alerts to keep tabs on snow emergencies and related parking restrictions – demonstrating how E-Subscribe is effective in delivering time-sensitive messages.

To learn more about how Bloomington has continued its tradition of digital communication – with help from GovDelivery, click here.

 

 

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We at GovDelivery are always looking for better ways to provide better digital communications solutions to our clients. One client we recently profiled in a “success story” is the Port of Tacoma (Washington).

Prior to coming on board with GovDelivery, the Port implemented an email marketing solution (more specifically designed for commercial or for-profit purposes) and found the integration with its system to be far from seamless. Additionally, the Port’s automation and delivery needs were not met by this solution.

The Port of Tacoma conducted a focus group to find out what was important to its many stakeholder groups – businesses, legislators and the general public. Officials found that many people wanted to access information on their smart phones instantly. “Based on focus groups with our stakeholders and research conducted by other local government agencies, we found that most people prefer to read email and get information on their mobile devices,” according to Megan Anderson, New Media Specialist. “We needed a system that played nice with mobile devices, email clients and the web.”

Since launching GovDelivery in October 2010, the Port of Tacoma has realized improved efficiency and enhanced citizen service by moving print communications to digital delivery and utilizing GovDelivery’s social media integration. The Port of Tacoma now offers more than 35 unique subscription topics, such as business opportunities, employment opportunities, current projects, and commission meetings, as well as its popular newsletters – the Inside Line and E-Port Business Report, now created with the GovDelivery newsletter editor.

For complete details on how the Port of Tacoma successfully implemented GovDelivery, click here.