The telephone is one of our most powerful and effective tools for communicating and they are everywhere. We carry them with us, they sit on our desks, they hang on our walls, and they are an important element in any Neighborhood Council communication strategy.
For individuals, a cell phone keeps them constantly connected. People carry their personal and business phones with them, able to take calls, check messages, monitor the news, access email, and stay connected on many levels, all through their phone.
But those phones are personal connections and Neighborhood Councils still struggle with maintaining a stakeholder connection to the council through a local phone number.
Google Voice is a telephone solution that offers Neighborhood Councils many features, liberating councils from the need to maintain a land-line, a message machine, or a single phone that sits on a desk in an office.
Google Voice is part of Google and it’s a free service that has many benefits:
- FREE – select a local number and pay nothing
- TRANSCRIPTION – phone messages are transcribed and emailed to recipients
- MULTIPLE RECIPIENTS – phone calls can go to more than one recipient
- MULTIPLE RECIPIENTS – messages can go to more than one recipient
- LIBERATION – There is no need for a physical phone
- ANYWHERE – access your calls anywhere, no need to go to the office
- FLEXIBILITY – take your transcribed messages by email or cell phone or both
- CUSTOMIZABLE – your voice message is yours, change it at any time from anywhere
- MOBILITY – answer that local phone number from anywhere
- CONNECTIVITY – your constituents can easily connect with your Board
Googe Voice is very easy to set up, you just need a gmail account, which is free. Once the gmail account is set up, all you need is a phone number, which you can choose via Google Voice, with your Area Code and you can even type in a word to see if that number is available, something like your name or community.
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council uses a google voice. Their number is 323.413.SLNC (7562). The phone number forwards to the board email address, so everybody on the board receives the transcription of the message and they can then decide who needs to return the phone call. This phone service is free for the council and comes in very handy when community members need to leave a general message for the board or request help with a local issue or if they have questions about a meeting.
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council connects to their constituents with the free Google Voice and hopefully you will as well!