“…are calling nonstop and pranking the hotline. I’ve had to stop answering at this point and hope they quit”—advocate at a crisis hotline
The holiday season is starting, and for many nonprofit crisis hotlines this means an increase in inappropriate or prank calls.
Does your hotline sometimes experience lots of inappropriate or prank calls? From what we’ve seen, these calls often require advocates to have to debrief with more senior advocates or staff, and increase burnout.
Let’s outline a few options you have:
Simply Block Inappropriate Callers: The simplest option is to ask your hotline management system provider for the phone number of the inappropriate caller, and request that individual to be blocked.
…but what if we’re not allowed to permanently block callers? If that’s the case, have you considered blocking calls for a short period of time? We’ve seen organizations see nearly the full impact of inappropriate caller blocking by just blocking inappropriate callers for an hour. Just ask your hotline management system provider to block the calls, but only for an hour.
… but what if the caller is calling from an anonymous phone number? There are different types of anonymous calls, and depending on your situation you might still have options. The FCC has been working hard on problems like this with a relatively new technology called STIR/SHAKEN. Although the current deadline is mid 2023, many operators have already implemented it. You can check your provider here. If you think this is the case you’re in then the best thing to do is probably just to reach out to your hotline management system provider, and ask for help.
… but we don’t want to every block anyone, even for a short period of time. You can still be prepared. Ask your hotline management system provider to inform your advocates that they’re about to take a call from a suspected or known inappropriate caller, or that they’re about to take a call from an anonymous number.
Finally, if you’re looking for a Hotline Management System that’ll protect you against inappropriate callers then message us at email@example.com or ask us about your specific situation.
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