Drywall Support Program - Addressing Real Needs In Real Time
Drywall Prices Increase
- In fall 2016, extra tariffs were imposed on drywall imports, resulting in unexpected losses for drywall contractors and builders across Western and Northern Canada.
- The increase in drywall prices also hit homeowners in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the 2016 wildfires.
- In February 2017, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) was asked to create a program to help those affected.
New Client Groups
Meeting Their Needs
- Working directly with the construction industry was new for WD.
- We were unfamiliar with their process and records, as they were with ours.
WD also needed to reach out to individual homeowners in the RMWB.
- This was made more difficult as not everyone was present in the community after the fires.
- WD knew that the program needed to be streamlined, straightforward, and that applications needed to be processed quickly.
Quick to Action
Going for Grants
- It was determined that WD's current programming didn't fit the target audience.
- The decision was made to create a grant program from the ground up.
- For homeowners, WD created an online application form that also functioned as the legal agreement.
- The streamlined form could be completed in 5 minutes and reduced program delivery costs.
- WD's internal processes were also automated to reduce time spent on assessments.
- 63 days after the request, the Drywall Support Program began accepting applications.
- This was twice as fast compared to the Canada 150 Program.
- WD consulted with industry associations to assist in the development of the application and assessment processes.
- Additionally, WD worked with industry, the RMWB, and other unique partners to spread word about the program.
New Outreach Strategies
- In order to reach this new client group, WD used social media more than ever before.
- Utilizing Twitter, WD launched the hashtag #DrywallSupport to publish new information.
- LinkedIn was also used to spread the message amongst the business community.
- The Drywall Support Program webpage received over 9,000 page views, of which 6,700+ were unique.
- Twitter engagement reached new highs for WD:
- 22 Tweets were seen over 74,000 times and resulted in 872 engagements and 220 URL clicks.
- Compared to routine Tweeting, the drywall Tweets saw:
- 4 times as many impressions (# of views),
- 5 times as many engagements (# of likes/retweets),
- 6 times as many clicks.
Who We Helped
- WD received interest from hundreds of homeowners and organizations from across Western and Northern Canada.
- Throughout the summer and fall of 2017, relief was provided to those most affected by the increase in drywall prices.
Support for Future Programming
- With the Drywall Support Program, WD effectively piloted its first grant program.
- Client reception to the program was positive as it reduced the reporting and administrative burden on applicants.
- Low risk and low dollar value programs could benefit from this streamlined approach in the future.
- Date modified: