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United Way of Lancaster County


Lancaster County eyes software for email newsletters, social media campaigns

Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Lancaster County government is taking steps to bolster its outreach to county residents.

On Wednesday, the county commissioners will vote on purchasing “Communications Cloud,” a communications suite from Minnesota-based software firm Granicus. The $50,417 contract would encompass initial setup, training and a three-year subscription.

Using Communications Cloud, governments can send out emergency alerts via text. (Source: Granicus)

Communications Cloud’s features include scalable, customizable tools for mass email, text and social media messaging. It is specifically designed for use by government entities, and Granicus says it is significantly more secure than comparable products used in the private sector.

The system will allow the county to interact with constituents “in a way that we’ve not been able to before,” Communications Director Michael Fitzpatrick told the commissioners at Tuesday morning’s work session.

Residents will be able to sign up for email newsletters and specify which topics they’re interested in. The county is looking forward to raising awareness of the services offered by its agencies, such as the benefits available to veterans through the Office of Veterans Affairs.

It’s vital for the county to communicate with constituents in the ways that work best for them, Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said: “I think this is a definite step in the right direction.”

The commissioners have been taking steps to enhance the county’s communications capacity — most notably through the creation of the communications director position, a new role at the county, and the hiring of Fitzpatrick this past February.

Fitzpatrick said he spoke with communications officials in other counties that use Communications Cloud and heard strong positive feedback.

Pending the commissioners’ approval, the county plans to get the software up and running over the next two months or so and debut it to the public in October or November, he said.