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Powering the 2020 Sandra Schmirler Telethon

The Versature team powered the annual Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon for the 7th consecutive year.

Generous curling fans and Sandra Schmirler Foundation supporters came together to make 2020 another record year for the annual Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon! The Sandra Schmirler Foundation, named after curling champion and Olympic gold medalist Sandra Schmirler, contributes to Canadian hospitals by donating life-saving NICU equipment to care for critically ill newborns. Every year, with the support of TSN and Curling Canada, the telethon is broadcast live during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Opposing curling teams unite along with Sandra’s friends, teammates and family, to volunteer on the phones and collect donations throughout the day. On February 16, 2020, the telethon hit a major milestone, raising over $450,500!

As the phone service provider for the travelling telethon, held each year in a different Canadian city, the Versature team was proud to fly to Moosejaw Saskatchewan to power the telethon for the seventh consecutive year. Within 5 hours, Versature had configured and set up 40 Polycom VVX 400 multimedia business phones along with the supporting network equipment. Branded colour displays and custom on hold messaging graciously provided by Sandra Schmirler’s family added a personal touch to this year’s event.

The Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon volunteers were flooded with a whopping 3150 calls, which bested last year’s total by over 600 donor calls. We set up Insights dashboards, which allowed us to visualize important metrics and call data in real time, such as number of calls handled, average talk time, call volume, and wait times. These statistics enable the Foundation to track caller’s behaviours in reference to the TSN coverage and prepare the appropriate resources for the following years’ telethons.

Here are some of the most notable statistics and moments from the event:

  • Ontario and Saskatchewan residents are big curling fans - and very generous! In fact, 26.9% of the total calls derived from Ontario and 23.3% of calls came in from Saskatchewan.
  • At 8:00 pm EST, TSN shared video coverage of a non-ringing phone, urging those who were tuned in to continue donating. This prompted the busiest call time from 8:00 pm until 11:00 pm.
  • Out of the 3000+ calls, only 10 were abandoned!
  • One of the volunteer athletes uses a cochlear implant to improve her hearing. The Versature team paired her cochlear implant with our Polycom device so that she could participate in collecting donations during the telethon.

“We are very grateful for our long-standing partners who are such an integral part of our success. This couldn’t happen without the collaboration and long-time support of Curling Canada and TSN, and we are indebted to the team at Versature who are there with us every step of the way. They provide all of the phones and their considerable talent in ensuring every call is personally answered when people from right across Canada call in their donations,” said Ian Cunningham, Board Chair of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. “We’re all working together towards a shared vision of helping save the lives of babies born premature and critically ill.”

Through your generous donations, 26 ventilators will be donated to neonatal intensive care units in hospitals across Canada! While the telethon is the Sandra Schmirler Foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year, you can donate anytime on their website, with all of your donation going to support Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across Canada.