North Carolina Bar Foundation Helps 9,712 Callers in One-Day Virtual Telethon

North Carolina Bar Foundation Helps 9,712 Callers in One-Day Virtual Telethon

When the North Carolina Bar Foundation needed to quickly and reliably spin up a high-volume call center for a virtual telethon event, they turned to Telzio. The modern functionality combined with the ease-of-use was key to ensuring that there were no delays with deployment, and no issues during the time of the live event.   

Here's how Telzio helped 437 attorneys offer free legal aid to 9,712 callers in one day. 


Challenge:  Due to the pandemic, the NC Bar had to move their telethon to a virtual platform where volunteers could take calls remotely. The telethon was promoted across local TV stations and was expected to receive a high surge of calls.  

Solution:  Telzio provided the phone numbers and virtual call center software, which included a mobile app and web browser phone for receiving calls remotely. The software, support, and unlimited users were included, enabling rapid scalability and easy deployment. 

Features Used:  The primary features used included auto-attendant, queues, live reporting, scheduling, announcements, and the Telzio webphone and interface.  

Impact:  The solution was deployed within a matter of days, and 400+ volunteer attorneys were able to help 9,712 callers with free legal aid in a single day.  The product and support created a great experience for administrators, volunteers, and callers. 

Connecting the community to free legal aid

The North Carolina Bar Foundation (NCBF) is a nonprofit association for legal professionals that provides pro bono legal service and education to local communities. A few times a year, the foundation runs telethon events where volunteer attorneys answer legal questions on a call-in basis. The NCBF initially used Telzio last summer to run their first virtual telethon, after hosting them in-person every year prior. The virtual event was such a success, that they decided to use Telzio again - this time to support its 14th annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day

Migrating the call center to a virtual platform 

The 4ALL Statewide Service Day is the North Carolina Bar Foundation’s annual “call-a-lawyer” program. Hundreds of attorneys volunteer their time to provide free legal advice to thousands of North Carolina residents in need. Traditionally, volunteers meet in-person to field calls from a central call center – however, the global pandemic forced the foundation to take things remote.   

The challenge for the NCBF was to create a consistent, call center experience spanning 437 volunteers participating from all over the state.  

"Due to COVID-19, this year’s telethon was unprecedented and Telzio enabled us to move our event onto a very effective virtual platform. We are grateful for the product and the Telzio team for supporting us in handling an incredible number of calls. Telzio has been the perfect solution for remotely connecting volunteers to members of the public who needed help." - Kim Bart Mullkin, Senior Director at the North Carolina Bar Foundation 

Telzio solutions

Here’s a brief overview of how Telzio helped NCBF build a virtual call center to support an event of this scale. 

  • Telzio’s user-friendly interface and the ability to add unlimited allowed NCBF to onboard 437 volunteer attorneys in a matter of days - allowing them to receive calls remotely during the event.  
  • Volunteers received fast and personalized support in the days leading up to the event and during the entire telethon. This enabled them to get up and running quickly and reassured them that Telzio experts were standing by to support during showtime.  
  • The attorneys were able to answer calls with the Telzio Webphone, which allowed them to answer phone calls simply by logging into the website.   
  • Telzio also provided several critical call center features including call flow, real-time queue management, and the auto attendant.  

In these next few sections, we’ll discuss the logistics of powering a virtual telethon across 400+ distributed devices.   

Onboarding 437 legal professionals into a new phone system

 Perhaps the biggest challenge in pulling off an event of this scale was onboarding the 437 volunteer attorneys participating in the virtual telethon.  

To streamline the initial onboarding process, attorneys were given access to the Telzio Webphone, a virtual phone that allows you to make calls directly from your browser, the Webphone is built directly into the Telzio website—no downloads or external hardware required.   

To help volunteers prepare, Telzio provided multiple days of testing prior to the event, allowing users to log into the system and get acquainted with the app--and also provided live customer support starting at 5 AM EST.  

Customizing the solution with call flows, queues, & multi-language options  

Once the attorneys were set up with accounts, Telzio helped the foundation configure the system to make it as easy as possible for callers to connect with the right person.  

The Call Flow feature made it easy to set up 35 queues--each focused on a different practice area--i.e. business law, unemployment, family law, etc. and attorneys were assigned to specific queues based on their expertise.  

In some instances (like the ability to speak Spanish or additional practice areas), attorneys were assigned to multiple queues--but the Webphone made it easy to manage multiple lines from a centralized hub.  

Additionally, the Auto Attendant was used to create menus that automatically guide callers to the appropriate channel.  

For the NCBF event, callers were able to select their issue and were directed to an attorney best equipped to help. Callers were also given the option to speak with a live person if they were unsure which option to select, and intake staff manually transferred them to the right place.  

 To optimize the caller experience Telzio also:  

  • Provided Spanish-speaking options. 
  • Played hold music, inserted custom announcements, and enabled queue position announcements. 
  • Eliminated long wait times by routing calls to agents based on availability and set a cap on hold times so that callers were automatically re-routed to an alternative option if no agents were available at the time.  

On the volunteer side, Telzio also made things easier by:  

  • Enabling announcements for attorneys so they know what issue the caller selected. 
  • Adding the hours of live operation through the system to ensure that calls would only come through the system during the time of the live event. 

One of the key features the administrators used during the live event was the Live Queue Management Dashboard. Through the Telzio Dashboard, the administrators were able to monitor calls and agent activity associated in real-time. This feature enabled event organizers and support staff to make sure things were running smoothly and jump in if they detected any bottlenecks.  

Getting support from Telzio  

In terms of support, Telzio provided a dedicated account manager and personalized configuration assistance, plus a free trial and testing period to ensure that the solution met the requirements to host a virtual event at this scale.  

"Our account manager has been an incredible resource for us at Telzio from day one. I also need to give a shout out to Telzio’s tech support, which has been absolutely wonderful and super responsive." - Kim Bart Mullkin, Senior Director at the North Carolina Bar Foundation 

Telzio assigned a dedicated account manager to the event to answer volunteers’ questions and a technical support team on hand to provide real-time support throughout the entire live event.   

Q&A with Kim Bart Mulkin, Senior Director of the North Carolina Bar Foundation 

What is your role at the organization?   

I'm the Senior Director of the North Carolina Bar Foundation. The mission of the NC Bar Foundation is to engage members of the North Carolina legal community – including lawyers, paralegals and law students – to serve North Carolinians across the state. We carry out our mission by coordinating pro bono and public service programs through which volunteers can use their legal expertise to provide free help to those in need. 

What need are you serving in your community that brought you to look for Telzio?   

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolinians have faced significant and new legal challenges including eviction, health coverage issues, bankruptcy, and wills, and estate planning concerns. The NC Bar Foundation sought to respond to this community need by mobilizing volunteer attorneys to help answer legal questions and direct people to appropriate resources for assistance. Because of the COVID-19 shut-in orders, we had to devise remote and virtual ways of connecting attorney volunteers with members of the public who needed help, and Telzio provided the perfect solution. 

How are you using Telzio to fulfill this need? 

Since May 2020, the NC Bar Foundation has hosted 6 COVID-19 (Virtual) Legal Hotlines focusing on various regions of the state. For each Hotline event, we partnered with a TV station to broadcast the local Hotline number and we recruited attorneys to take Hotline calls and provide free legal answers to questions from members of the public. We used Telzio to administer the Hotlines.   

What were your biggest challenges prior to Telzio? 

We never ran a virtual hotline event before 2020; Telzio made this type of event possible. 

How has Telzio improved your ability to serve your community? 

Telzio has made it possible for NC Bar Foundation attorney volunteers to provide much-needed pro bono legal services to North Carolinians in a safe and convenient way through our Hotline events. We expect to incorporate Hotlines into our regular annual programming going forward, even after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.   

Would you recommend Telzio to other organizations? 

I would and I have!! Other charitable nonprofit organizations in North Carolina have contacted me to learn more about how the NC Bar Foundation administers its Hotlines through Telzio. I have done 2 informal “demos” for other organizations and referred a number of organizations to our Account Manager, who has been an incredible resource for us at Telzio from day one. I also need to give a shout-out to Telzio’s tech support, which has been absolutely wonderful and super responsive for each and every one of our hotline events.  

Kim Bart Mullikin, Senior Director at the North Carolina Bar Foundation 

Telzio for Nonprofits  

Telzio enabled the North Carolina Bar Foundation to put on a successful virtual event that brought in over 9,700 callers in just eight hours. What’s more, the remote format made it easy for volunteers to participate--not only bringing in more attorneys, but also law students and paralegals who were able to triage calls and answer questions.  

Telzio makes it easy to build call center solutions - whether you need it for a charitable campaign or a long-term, enterprise operation.

Learn more about Telzio for Small Businesses and Enterprises. 

Grace Sweeney

Grace is a content marketing specialist with a focus on SaaS, technology, and digital marketing. Grace is a digital nomad and savvy user of modern communication technologies to travel and work from all over the globe.