With the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, DoorDash knew it could play a role. With minimal tweaks to their platform, it could immediately help in supporting small businesses in keeping their restaurants open, supporting recently furloughed employees with jobs delivering food, and providing food resources to those in need in communities around the country.
However, the company couldn’t do these things on their own. They required intimate knowledge of the many varying social distancing and shelter-at-home policies across the country and partnerships with local officials to make happen. But, they lacked a way to efficiently communicate with these officials in order to make deliveries safely and support their communities.
“For years now we’ve been engaged in pretty tough public policy battles across different states, across different cities, across different issue areas,” Max Rettig, Senior Counsel and Head of Policy at DoorDash said. “This is an opportunity to show the world that when we say that our mission is to empower local economies that we really mean it and we are here to help support local businesses that are being hit especially hard at this moment and to help people who are coming to our platform for work.”
DoorDash’s two key initiatives that relate to coronavirus—supporting small businesses as the restaurants transition to delivery and feeding those in need through Project Dash—required the ability to track dialogue from and communicate with state and local officials. Quorum State and Local provided solutions for both the incoming dialogue tracking of policymakers and the outgoing messaging from DoorDash.
As restaurant closures and stay at home policies were implemented, it was critical that DoorDash gets those updates as fast as possible so they could implement relevant changes in a given location and make sure they were complying with the orders coming from governors and mayors.
In order to get that information, they turned to dialogue tracking and set up Quorum alerts for mayors and governors on social media. Anytime a state or local official mentioned keywords around restaurant closures, DoorDash would start their process of routing information to their legal team to fully understand the order, then get the information out to relevant stakeholders across the business.
“Having a tool like Quorum has really allowed us to drill in quickly in a constantly shifting environment,” said Toney Anaya, Head of Government Relations at DoorDash. “The Twitter accounts of the governors are particularly helpful because most of the governors are posting on Twitter prior to or simultaneous with any press conference or announcement.”
Along with ramping up its traditional delivery business during the coronavirus pandemic, DoorDash has expanded Project Dash, an initiative that began in 2018 to facilitate the delivery of excess food from restaurants to food banks. DoorDash needed a way to share the program with state and local officials to identify new partners and increase the program’s impact during this crisis.
DoorDash turned to Quorum’s state and local contact database and integrated email tool, Outbox, to communicate to state and local officials about the Project Dash opportunity. With Outbox, DoorDash was able to send over 2,500 emails to governors, governors’ chiefs of staff, state legislative leadership, mayors in cities with over 30,000 people, and city officials that DoorDash had prior relationships with.
DoorDash used personalization tokens to make each email appear personalized to that particular official and their city or state, rather than sending one generic email. This personalization helps to increase engagement.
“The personalization makes the email much more friendly. It’s coming from my email address, we’re able to customize the fields so it’s going to the individual legislator, you can customize and include the mention of the state or the city in the text.”
Then, DoorDash was able to track engagement with the email in Quorum so they could properly follow up with those who did or did not engage with the email. In the initial email, they saw a 40 percent open rate, then they sent follow up emails specifically to those who did not open the email to drive continued response.
Through these two initiatives, DoorDash has been able to both support the communities they operate in and build relationships with elected officials that they potentially lacked before.
With their outreach for Project Dash, DoorDash was able to connect with numerous officials and kickstart delivery programs for students in New York who no longer have access to school lunches as well as grocery delivery to seniors most at risk of the virus.
By introducing their policy team to many officials for the first time in a moment of support and community relations, DoorDash also expects to be able to more easily have conversations with these officials in the future about the issues their team focuses on outside of coronavirus.
“If elected officials are reading about our efforts around coronavirus in the newspaper, that is going to make an impact and make it that much easier to have a conversation when some of these tough issues come back around,” Rettig said.