What is activist phone calling?
Making phone calls on behalf of a candidate or issue continues to be a valuable method of getting out the vote, gathering vital information, and drumming up support. But it’s not your mother’s phone banking anymore. Recent technology has made talking one-to-one with potential voters and supporters easier than ever and more efficient.
Why make phone calls?
Phoning is the most effective way to connect with people (after door-to-door canvassing).
- It enables us to gather critical data that campaigns can use to target their resources.
- It is critical for getting out the vote.
- Phoning builds community and makes groups stronger.
- Anyone can phone from home without having to travel.
How can I get involved?
You can find phone calling actions when you visit the Together We Elect home page and navigate to Take Action by Tactic: Phoning. You can also find phone call campaigns by checking out the Together We Elect calendar. The actions on Together We Elect are carefully chosen to be effective and gratifying.
Phone calling campaigns offer training as well as the opportunity to make the phone calls.
Any useful tips?
- Run through the script before you begin making calls. Note where you need to record responses. Typically, there is a drop-down menu with options.
- Use the script as a guide but find your own rhythm and pace. Listen and engage.
- Be friendly, upbeat, and courteous.
- Don’t waste time by engaging with someone who doesn’t support the candidate. Thank them for their time and move on.
- When you get a message machine, record it as a “not home” and do not leave a message.
- Try to reach everyone listed at that address.
- Set realistic expectations: many people will not answer; you may make 20 calls to actually speak to 3-4 people.
How does it work?
You will use one of several systems to access the virtual phone bank using your computer. These are cloud-based systems that allow properly logged-in users a way to access scripts and the list of people to call. Most often your phone number, name, and location will be anonymous. Once you log into your campaign, a script will pop up with the name of the first person you are to call. The scripts are tailored to the people you are calling.
Most phone calling opportunities use Slack, a messaging app, to communicate the campaigns. Slack is free and useful. You can ask questions and get answers in real time. And it connects you to the activist community.
What do I need?
You will need a fully charged phone, a laptop or tablet, and if possible, headphones.
There are several different platforms that are being used: GetThru, Hub Dialer, Open Virtual Phone Bank (OpenVPB), or Action Network; all work similarly. You will need an account in order to access the information. If you have one already, log into your account. If this is your first time, you will be asked to create an ID when you click the link. Look for a verification email with a link to verify your account. Once you log into your account, you will receive the instructions for accessing the dialer and the script. Now you will see the script and the name and phone number of the first person you are to call.
Each phone bank will have a script, and each script will show you how to record the information for each call. Remember that even when you talk to someone who is not a supporter, you are gathering important data that allows for better targeting of important resources.