In response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, Hustle offered all organizations coordinating or fundraising for hurricane-related disaster relief with unlimited access to their platform for free.
There are many ways that Hustle can be utilized in rapid response to a natural disaster. With water levels reaching as high as 50 inches in some areas of Houston and the uncertainty of when the communities in Texas and Florida will be able to resume to life as they knew it, it is vital for information, resources, aide, and funding to be readily available for those in need.
Hustle set out to enable these communications about urgent updates, shelter locations, coast guard aide, check-ins, fundraising, and make them accessible to the citizens of Houston and Florida during Internet outages. f any organization is in need of a way to reach thousands of people in real time, please let us know.
During internet outages and transportation lockdowns, texting is often the quickest and most resilient method of reaching affected populations. But due to US law, text messages cannot be sent in bulk unless each recipient satisfies a double opt-in requirement before receiving those messages. Even organizations that have mobile numbers of their members cannot send mass texts unless a strict sign-up flow is followed. Therefore, organizations providing relief needed to find another way to send texts, since it was not feasible to collect opt-ins during the emergencies.
Thanks to Hustle, a new platform for rapid person-to-person texting, it became possible for a small team to send tens of thousands of messages in a single hour. Messages sent with Hustle don't require a double opt-in because each one is sent by a human hitting a send button on their smartphone or computer. Organizations were able to reach out to their members without delay.
Halfway into the free access period, Hustle is already being used by several organizations to connect with people affected by the hurricanes. Here's how some organizations have incorporated Hustle into their efforts:
● American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Houston has been Hustling to check in with their staff and local teachers via text message to ensure that they safely evacuated.
● Lyft has also been using Hustle for Harvey-relief efforts. They've invited over 1,000 drivers out to their supply drive, where they will put together care packages for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
● Others including state parties, elected officials, and community nonprofits are currently using Hustle for rescue operations, supply donations, volunteer recruitment, clean up, and access to civic services.
As of September 13th, it is still too early to measure the results of all efforts using Hustle for their communications. But the creative uses of Hustle that we have never seen before have changed how our team views our social responsibility to help those in need.
People at all levels of our partner organizations are joining in to send tens of thousands of messages. In the span of two days, one community organization messaged 20,000 of their members in Houston, with over 10,000 responding immediately.
"Houston Federation of Teachers has been reaching out using Hustle to our leaders and teachers and we are finding it to be a helpful tool during this difficult time." — Zeph Capo, President, Houston Federation of Teachers
Hustle is here to enable these communications about urgent updates, shelter locations, coast guard aide, check-ins, fundraising, and make them accessible to the citizens of Houston and Florida. If your organization in need of a way to reach thousands of people in real time, please reach out as soon as possible.
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