Phone banking for a political campaign can be a pain to manage and plan without the necessary tools. You’d be managing recruitment of volunteers, time schedules, calling lists, digitising survey results…the whole lot. Here are 10 tips to help you win at phone banking by making the process simpler.
Related reading: Definitive guide to Political Phone Banking
A phone banking campaign cannot work without volunteers. The first step to recruiting volunteers is by letting people know that you need them.
For large campaigns spread across cities/nations, what are the best and easiest ways to reach out? Simple, the internet and phones. Use social media to attract people that have similar viewpoints.
The next important step is conversion. This means registering potential volunteers for a campaign, which works mainly when interest is at peak. What could help here is having a registration form online which works as a call-to-action.
|Creating these forms is a cinch using tools like NationBuilder, where you can create, host, and save volunteer registrations directly into a manageable system to then later be assigned to campaigns.|
When campaigns are spread nationwide finding office space can be tough, right? Especially so with the accompanying and necessary phones, computers, etc.
However, an ideal call center software gives multiple options for your volunteers to get started.
For instance, if you are using CallHub, then there are three ways for volunteers to join campaigns. They can:
- Dial in from a phone
- Use the CallHub agent console and make calls through a browser
- Use a SIP phone
No matter what the channel, the experience is similar without any compromise in quality.
There can be several reasons for failed calls, the main one being if the receiver has nothing in common with the caller and vice versa.
The chances of the call succeeding improve when the similarities between the volunteer and the voter are greater. A voter would rather listen to someone that is similar to them when it comes to an area they live in, accent, etc than someone from a completely different background.
Unfortunately, this makes assigning volunteers very difficult. You need a fine balance between sorting volunteers to campaigns by voter profile and campaign size. With volunteers recruited online, you wouldn’t have details about their background.
A convenient solution for this is asking volunteers for this information when they sign up, for example, which area code they belong to.
Using a tool like CallHub that has the ability to manage teams of volunteers, you can then assign a group of similar volunteers to a calling campaign with similar voters. As simple as that!
Keeping volunteers motivated
Traditional phone banking involves manually dialing each number, waiting for the receiver to pick up and then repeating the process. Boring and repetitive much? You bet!
Using an auto dialer system helps take care of these tasks conveniently leaving the volunteer to focus their efforts on just talking to the voter.
This increases their sense of accomplishment and improves the morale of the volunteers as they can make far more calls in a given time period when compared to a manual system.
Having said that, there are still moments of boredom which can creep in and can be removed by having a festive atmosphere, a sort of camaraderie among the callers. The following link explains how you can do this.
7 Tips for a successful Phone Banking party
Moving your phone banking campaigns to an automated system helps you now look at other ways to keep distributed campaigns running successfully.
If all your volunteers were in a single space, running contests, giving out badges, and maintaining a leaderboard on who the best phone banking volunteer is can be done. Akin to the app made during the Hillary Clinton campaign to energize volunteers to action.
This increases morale and motivation and adds a healthy dose of competitiveness which translates to a positive frame of mind during calling; a sort of win-win situation for all.
With a distributed campaign you need technology to connect everyone, for instance, online games can be played and an online leaderboard could be maintained. Volunteers would also be able to chat with each other.
As we’ve seen the Bernie campaign succeeded in gamifying their phone banking efforts to not only encourage healthy competition and encourage their volunteers but to also bring their community together.
Validation from a campaign manager can be very motivating to a volunteer. After all, it does feel good to have one’s hard work recognized. Sending messages to volunteers will help them feel like their efforts are noticed.
These messages of gratitude and encouragement have a higher degree of success when sent at the time of phone banking.
Confused how to go about with this? Simply use a tool like CallHub which helps you send messages through the agent console to volunteers during the campaign. Messages of support, gratitude or even informational ones help keep the campaign unified towards a common cause.
Isn’t it daunting to call a stranger and talk to them about political issues, especially when doing it for the first time? This can often lead to failed calls which is why a script is crucial in phone banking such as the one given in the link below.
A volunteer needs to understand the script you give them, make sure they take down notes as well as make the calls. There can be many gaps in this workflow for a volunteer to fail.
An integrated system for a volunteer to read a script, fill up a questionnaire and add notes as well as see detailed information about the voter will greatly reduce the number of points of failure.
Managing the budgeting
Things that can affect your budget are the length of call to a voter and wasting minutes on answering machines. So how do you minimize these to keep your campaigns under a budget?
Use an integrated tool like CallHub which lets you limit the maximum time a volunteer can spend on a call. Edge cases get removed too where a volunteer spends too much time on one person with minimal benefits.
Additionally, call dispositions allow you to disconnect if you get an answering machine. With a distributed campaign, you could have regional campaign managers.
Managing the sending of funds, invoices and accounting can be a pain too, right? Luckily, with CallHub’s sub-accounts, all regional campaigns can be linked to a single primary account. The main campaign manager can allot funds to each sub account while maintaining invoices and billing in a single account.
To know more about how to create a political campaign budget click here.
When should you call?
Obviously, calling a voter at a time that they are most likely to pick up will help your campaign succeed, right? But these times are different for each voter. Timezones, days of the week and varying work timings affect your campaign schedule.
To take care of this issue, splitting your campaigns by area and profession will help you schedule calls.
CallHub takes care of issues with voter timezones. With the help of prediction algorithms, voters patterns can be gauged and automatically calls can be made at that time period.
Monitoring and recording
The negatives of a distributed campaign are losing your control of which volunteers can make calls for you. In the worst cases, the volunteer could be actively working towards sabotaging each call- don’t want that happening, right!
For this purpose random monitoring of calls should be done which helps you keep these errant volunteers in check.
CallHub lets a campaign manager listen in on any call that is taking place. Every call made is also recorded for the manager to evaluate. Also, during a call, if a volunteer faces issues they can transfer the call to a manager to take over.
With these tips in mind, political phone banking should become a whole lot easier. Additionally, Collective Texting (or peer-to-peer texting) can be used along with phone banking to get an even more solid response from voters.
We wrote about how you can make sense of your phone banking results. Check it out.