18 Nov

How Hard Can It Be to Give $2 Million Away During a Pandemic?

By Elyn Buscani, Business Development

When Mason City Council approved a $2 million small business stimulus package, Rasor got a dream project. We had the opportunity to help our longtime client, the City of Mason, distribute much-needed money to support small businesses during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Who wouldn’t want this opportunity to spread hope among vulnerable businesses?

The challenge? We had to work quickly to provide a portal to educate and inform the 360 small business owners in Mason about the recovery initiative and provide a simple way for them to submit an application and sign up to participate. Our objectives were to build a clean, easily accessible site, using the theme Reimagine Mason, as soon as possible, and to collect more than 100 applications within the application window.

Our team, which had been working remotely since mid-March, worked through a weekend to create a brand new website in just 7 days. The site was finalized and launched just two days later. We worked with the city to get the word out via a multi-media push that included digital signage throughout the city, social media, email, media relations, direct mail, and other Mason websites.

In the first 21 days following its launch, the site had more than 1,200 visitors and more than 3,100 page views. In addition, meeting our objectives for simplicity and timeliness, our data showed visitors could complete the forgivable loan application in less than five minutes on average. During the two-week window for the loan application, the City received a total of 114 applications and more than 50 businesses had signed up to participate in the Come Together Mason E-gift Card Program. Fast forward to August 12, just three months from the date the initiatives were all approved, the city has been able to inject nearly $1.5 million into its local economy through this recovery program with more to come.