The 1900’s saw the early days of phone banking where the phone quickly turned into a tool for mass contacts in election campaigns. Now, phone-banks form an integral part of the political toolbox for every modern election campaign. While volunteers would hand dial 17 to 18 calls an hour on landlines back in the day, now, with computers doing automatic dialing, it’s up to 60 to 80 an hour (assuming a 40-second message). Phone-banks have evolved over the years with modern phone-banking software supporting advanced analytics and integrations that come along with the software. These tools gave campaign managers a great way to streamline scarce campaign resources.
This excerpt from an article on The Huffington Post gives one example of why it’s great to have a phone-bank for your campaign:
“If you’re an expat like Charley James, an American living in Toronto, Canada, who wants to volunteer for a favorite candidate, a virtual phone bank is the way to go.
James contacted the Obama campaign by signing up online. When he has a few free hours after work, he logs in, receives a list of names, a script and a report form and starts calling the all-important Ohio voters. He calls undecided and likely voters and registered Democrats.
The use of political technology like mass texting and online phone banks has been key to Sen. Obama’s startling wins during the primary against better-known rivals, who also employed digital-tech outreach but not as efficiently or effectively.”
Now let’s take a look at the reasons why every campaign needs a phone-bank:
Follow-up to direct mail
Direct mail is great for delivering specific messages, fundraiser invitations, and GOTV mails. But who remembers everything that they get in their mail? To make sure that your supporters don’t forget about that invitation to next weeks fundraiser, accompany your direct-mail with a follow-up phone call.
Gather voter information
Voter ID’s are usually collected at the early stages of a campaign to gauge the voter’s level of support for the candidate and the issues that are important to them. Identifying voters that have committed to vote for your candidate is an important step in every campaign process. And with thousands of calls to be made, time is paramount. Volunteers have to get through as many calls as possible to collect voter information. Modern phone banks are ideally placed for this task with features such as automatic dialing that eliminates time lag between calls.
Whether your candidate is giving a speech at the town hall or you’re organizing volunteers for a door-to-door campaign, you want people to know about it and show up on time. Having an in-house phone bank is a great way to instantly get the message out to supporters about rallies and events.
One-on-one conversations fare better at acquiring donations for your campaign than an anonymous email or a CTA on your website. Phone-banks give volunteers the chance to have personal conversations with donors and present the case for their cause. A genuine appeal from your side that takes the time to listen to donor grievances seriously raise the chance for a contribution.
A campaign cannot work without its volunteers, the people who set aside the priorities of a work-life and put their heart and soul into a cause they believe in. But first, election campaigns have to find the volunteers that share their values for the cause. And what better way to do that than hosting a phone-banking session and putting through calls to thousands of supporters. Most modern phone banking software integrates seamlessly with CRM software. This means that volunteers using phone-banking software have the information about people they are calling right in front of them. When making calls to find volunteers, calling lists can be tailored so that only the supporters who have committed to the candidate during the initial Voter ID calls are contacted.
GOTV calls are aimed at voters who we already know are supporting the campaign. GOTV calls provide the voter with the motivation, urgency and basic voting information necessary to make sure they cast their vote. See to it that your phone-bank calls every one of your supporters early and often till the poll watchers confirm that everyone on your list has made it to the polls.
I know you’re all excited now to start making calls. But before your phone-banking session gets on track there are a few pointers that you have to consider. Your volunteers are taking time out of their lives for the campaign; they may be new to all this. Make sure you keep them motivated and well informed about the campaign strategy. Basic training and supervision should be a priority. Happy calling!