Mobile SMS Community Surveys Guide Government Spending Decisions

Government Budgeting Decisions

The Scenario

For all levels of government in developing countries, understanding the needs of their communities can be a challenge. Constituents are often located in regions where there is limited electricity and/or Internet availability, making it difficult to gain insight into their needs, opinions and preferences.

This information is especially critical when government agencies budget for spending each year, as funding needs to be allocated to the services that are most needed by people in their local communities.

In order to gather this information, government agencies may choose to hire an organization that can offer advisory services (collect information about constituent needs) or may choose to gather this information themselves. In either case, there are two components making up the data collection process:

A) The actual constituents from whom data will be collected need to be identified. Depending on the data collection method, this may require contact information and/or address information.

B) The data collection survey needs to then be administered to these constituents, and the results analyzed and reported.

The Bamba platform can be used for either or both of these components, depending on the needs of the organization.

Ideal for Use By:

  • Organizations looking to collect data in regions where Internet access and/or electricity are limited
  • Agencies at all levels of government looking to survey constituents
  • Polling & data collection organizations contracted out by government agencies to survey constituents

Leveraging Bamba

Based on the two components outlined above, the Bamba platform can be used in three different ways depending on the preferences of the organization. These are explained in more detail below.

Model 1: Bamba Platform Used to Administer Survey Only

  1. The sample of constituents that will be surveyed is provided by the organization itself.
    • May have phone numbers for constituents from previous surveys
    • May prefer to collect the contact info themselves
    • This is typically done by hiring people to go door-to-door and speak with constituents directly, qualifying potential participants and requesting phone numbers
    • Phone numbers are then entered into a database
  2. The contact numbers are imported into the Bamba platform, forming the representative sample that will be surveyed.
  3. The survey is administered via free SMS messaging to the pool of numbers in the sample.
    • If the organization chooses to offer a financial incentive for survey completion, respondents are informed at the start of the survey that the money will be transferred to them upon completing the survey
  4. Constituents respond to the SMS survey questions via free SMS messages and responses are sent to Bamba.
  5. When the respondent completes the survey, they instantly receive a mobile airtime payment via free SMS for the incentive amount.
  6. The Bamba platform collects responses and displays results and analysis in real-time.
  7. Detailed customized reports are generated and made available to the organization.

Model 1 - Bamba for Survey Only

Model 2: Bamba Used to Collect Sample of Qualified Constituents Only

  1. The organization can specify the criteria that people must meet in order to be eligible for the survey. For example:
    • The survey may aim to collect feedback about a specific government service, and only individuals who have used that service should be included in the sample
    • The survey may be designed to collect information on healthcare needs for young children, and only parents that have young children should be included in the sample
  2. We use these criteria at Bamba to build a list of a specified number of contacts that contains only relevant target constituents (meaning that they meet the criteria specified by the organization).
  3. We provide a database of the sample to the organization, which then carries out the surveys and analyses.

Model 2 - Bamba for Sample List Only

Model 3: Bamba Used to Collect Sample & for Survey Administration

This is a combination of Models 1 and 2.

  1. We’ll build the sample of target constituents, matching any specified criteria and size requirements.
  2. We’ll administer the survey, offering incentives and results in real-time, and create detailed custom reports as requested.

Model 3 - Bamba for Sample List & Survey Administration

The Outputs

When the Bamba platform is used to create the sample of constituents to be surveyed, we can customize the database as specified. It will contain whatever info has been specified by the organization for each individual (name, phone number, location, etc.).

When the Bamba platform is used to administer the survey using our mobile survey tools, we’ll generate beautiful customized reports detailing all the info requested. Here are some examples of what you might see in the report:



Benefits of the Approach

  • Collecting phone numbers using traditional methods involves sending people door-to-door to qualify potential participants and request their contact info.
    • This can be a very time-consuming and expensive undertaking. Using our platform cuts down on time and cost.
  • Because of the nature of our method of collecting participants for the survey, the resulting list will yield much higher response rates than other methods.
    • The contacts in our database have actively engaged with our platform, meaning that they are more likely to complete the survey because they have an established relationship with our platform.
  • Participating in the SMS survey is simple and requires no training of the respondent – responding to questions is like having a conversation via SMS.
  • There are no costs to send/receive SMS messages.
  • The ability to provide immediate rewards/incentives greatly increases survey completion rates.
  • Feature phones are the only technology needed by respondents to complete the survey, which most people have, even in more remote locations.
  • Reports can be customized as needed.
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