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How Ten Boroughs Research Boosts Union Engagement By 113%

Published: Mar 31, 2024

UK trade union membership figures have fallen from 32.5% of employees in 1995 to just 22.3% in 2022. What does this mean for workers fighting for the right to work in safe environments, receive fair pay, and demand benefits from their employers?

It means they have less scope to bargain for fair working conditions. It is crucial to remember that during the COVID-19 pandemic when 56% of workers reported having inadequate funds, trade unions and their lobbying helped workers stay afloat. 

When things get rough, the power of a united workers’ front through trade unions empowers workers. Therefore, addressing falling membership rates and declining participation in trade unions is crucial.

This is where organizations like Ten Boroughs Research, UK, step in. In this article, we speak with Alex James, Co-Managing Director at Ten Borough Research, and explore how they play a crucial role in engaging union members, increasing responses by 113% through their campaigns.

About Ten Borough Research

Ten Boroughs Research is a technology and communication platform that aims to engage and organize union and charity members.

They conduct market research and communications on behalf of trade unions to engage their workers, build momentum for a campaign, conduct surveys, and more. A recent independent review of their organization revealed that their calling campaigns increased union engagement by up to 113% compared to other communication channels.

Usually, unions reach out to Ten Boroughs Research when they need help managing large outreach campaigns, require sophisticated communication strategies, or need grassroots-level support to reach union members. 

They focus on three areas to help organizations with outreach:

  1. Improving work conditions: Encouraging members to complete surveys and actively participate in initiatives to improve the work environment.
  2. Engaging members: Run phonebanking campaigns to remind members to return ballots, driving participation in democratic processes.
  3. Voter identification and persuasion: Identifying potential voters, assessing their likelihood to vote, and mobilizing them during elections through calling, texting, and other communication.

The Ten Boroughs Research team running a live campaign.

Their sophisticated outreach strategies include persuasion through phone calls, targeted follow-up text campaigns, creating target audience personas, and more. 

Their success can be measured by their campaign with a major education union to take strike action over pay. They made an average of 3000 calls every day over eight weeks, reaching almost 100,000 trade unionists and speaking about issues that matter to them. Telephone calling through Callhub was supported by texts and emails, feeding into a data-driven approach focused on securing the votes of those most likely to support action.

The result? While passing any national strike ballot is subject to the UK’s tough rules, Alex and his team helped to win not one but two strike actions!

How does Ten Boroughs Research achieve such results with CallHub?

Ten Boroughs Research has used CallHub since 2015. They began with CallHub’s call center software, but now, Alex James says a combination of CallHub products is crucial to their campaigns. 

With CallHub’s dialers, they can reach 3x more people in less time than manual dialing, catapulting their campaign efforts immensely. 

Not only that, CallHub’s commitment to security and compliance with local regulations is vital for Ten Boroughs Research. Here’s what Alex says: 

“It’s not just about the product – I trust CallHub. If I have an issue, they’ll fix it. And if I can explain a problem to the CallHub team, it will be fixed. And suppose there are any changes in calling regulations here in the UK. In that case, I feel confident continuing to use all CallHub products because I know you would produce a compliant system much more easily and readily than anyone else.”

Notable CallHub features that helped Ten Boroughs Research.

Union engagement is a multifold strategy that includes multiple touchpoints through calls, texts, emails, social media, etc.

It is imperative to have a solid follow-up strategy when running significant campaigns, such as voting for a resolution to pass an action. These strategies are only possible through a combination of outreach tools that can enhance strategies that Ten Boroughs Research puts in place.

These tools include:

  1. Call center software
  2. Texting from the call center
  3. CallHub’s mobile app
  4. Workflows
  5. Compliance features

Let’s explore how these products impact union outreach and how Ten Boroughs Research uses them for their campaigns.

Call center software

CallHub offers a variety of autodialers in its call center software. Autodialers automatically dial your calling list based on the criteria set by the campaign manager, such as the order to dial numbers.

Learn about CallHub’s dialer offerings.

Power dialer: Power dialers place a call only when an agent initiates it. They are perfect for lengthy conversations and when you want your agent to take notes for future reference.

Predictive dialer: A Predictive dialer helps you reach an extensive list quickly by predicting the pace of calls. It places calls by calculating the answer rate and the number of active agents, ensuring agents always have a live call to attend to as soon as they finish the previous call.

In trade unions with hundreds of thousands of members, dialers easily facilitate communication during a crisis, notifying members of emergency meetings or mobilizing them to vote for an issue. 

“…it might be in improving a workplace or participating in a union’s democratic process or broader political debates and discussions; we do that [engagement], primarily through CallHub’s technology. We are big users at various points of the excellent communication products that you provide.

– Alex James

Autodialers on CallHub also offer branching script features that prepare agents to handle any conversation. Depending on your audience’s response, a branching script addresses their unique concerns. 

The manager would have added a script branching out to different responses to a contact’s replies to survey questions. The branches can capture conversations as complex as your scripts demand yet not burden agents with searching for these responses. Traditionally, this complexity of scrolling to the response to a particular reply was done on pen and paper (or Google Docs), with prompts such as “If Option A, move to part 4”. To simplify the Branching Scripts, they do this scrolling part automatically, saving time and avoiding the awkwardness of those precious silent seconds. Needless to say, they also avert possible human errors.

A branching script is an excellent facilitator for a trade union trying to gauge the temperament of its members and their allegiances to various causes.


Texting from the call center

Another feature that Alex heavily emphasizes is the text from the call center feature. It is an excellent follow-up tool and encompasses a second touchpoint to engage members.

This feature is handy during a campaign to send additional information while on call. For example, you can share survey links via text while nudging union members to fill it out on call. If you want to share posters, an address for an event, or other details, a text message is an excellent addition to a call.


CallHub’s mobile app

It is much easier for volunteers and agents to call through their mobile phones rather than learn how to use a desktop app. At CallHub, we tried to eliminate this learning curve by introducing its mobile app.

Training and onboarding agents onto the mobile app is seamless and easy; everyone can place calls through their phones.

The mobile app helps volunteers log in from anywhere. It improves the scope of volunteer recruitment and lets volunteers from different locations contribute to a campaign.


One of the things that Alex James and Ten Boroughs Research appreciate is CallHub’s automation.

CallHub does this through our workflow feature. All is possible through workflow automation, from onboarding contacts to scheduling emails and text messages. Here’s a visual representation of how a workflow functions:


Workflows are an excellent tool to ensure no member slips through the cracks. It is quite possible with manual efforts to forget to call back that one contact or miss a text message when it is due – but not with workflows.

Union engagement increases significantly with timely outreach and follow-up and ensures every trade union member is included in a process.

Compliance features

Our commitment to compliance is the most notable feature that has ensured a continuing collaboration between Ten Boroughs and CallHub for years.

CallHub is a SOC2, GDPR, and ISO 27001-compliant platform, ensuring data security and compliance with local communication regulations. 

Union engagement: What comes next?

Learning from Ten Boroughs Research’s campaign experiences and their boost in union engagement by 113% is impressive!

Do you want to boost member engagement in your union and save yourself from declining member participation?

Learn more about union engagement on CallHub’s campaigning platform for unions. Learn how to use call center software, texting, workflows, relational organizing, and more tools to keep members engaged.

If you want impactful union campaigns, you can contact Ten Boroughs Research or find them on the CallHub Partner portfolio.

Featured Image Source: Matheus Bertelli

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