Through data collection and targeted calling, they raised the percentage of meaningful conversations with members from low double digits to upwards of 90%.
“When we added CallHub to our voter outreach tool set in 2016, we knew that it would impact our outreach to our members, helping to coordinate our efforts around the world and ensure we were all using the same messaging. What we didn’t realize is how much it helped to recruit and energize volunteers. ”
Turnout in the 2018 US midterms amongst Americans living abroad went up three-fold on average, increasing up to eight-fold in certain states, compared with previous midterm elections.
“Phone-Banking our members works! CallHub has enabled our volunteers across the globe to easily join in the effort to reach US citizens voting in every US state and every congressional district. It’s rewarding and inspiring to help people exercise their right to vote!”
Helping members across 190 countries cast their ballot
Statistics from a study on 2016 elections show a 65% voting gap for overseas voters. Source: Overseas Citizen Population Analysis Report
“For Americans living abroad, additional steps are required to request, to register, to have their ballot sent outside of the United States and then cast their ballot. We are responsible for reaching out to them and making sure they have the support they need to vote. It’s a little bit more complex than an American who in their hometown goes down the street to a local voting center and is able to vote there.”
A complicated absentee voting process, issues with shifting addresses, and lack of awareness about voting rights mean that most overseas US citizens do not end up voting.
Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic Party arm for more than 3 million potential US overseas voters, is responsible for making sure these voters have all the help they need to get out the vote.
Merrill Oates, former Regional Vice-Chair of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, tells us why developing a global strategy for phone banking was a game changer for Democrats Abroad.
From unorganized manual dialing to a centralized automated dialing platform
Back in 2016 when Democrats Abroad first moved their manual calling operations into CallHub, the improvements in productivity were huge.
- Calls made per hour doubled.
- Call tracking and budgeting became a breeze because all calling campaigns were now managed from a centralized platform.
But the 2018 US midterm elections were a whole different ball game, with historic levels of voter interest across age groups and demographics.
To build on this interest, and to increase their effectiveness in turning out voters, Democrats Abroad sought to significantly scale up their phone banking activities for the 2018 election cycle, making full use of CallHub’s capabilities and deepening integration between CallHub and the organization’s membership database, NationBuilder.
The CallHub coordinating team knew that they had to improve the calling in at least three main areas:
- Use calls to correct and update missing and outdated voter information
- Make it easy for volunteer calling agents to make calls around the globe.
- Enable the flow of survey responses and action triggers back into the membership database
Missing or outdated voter information
Volunteers need to be able to reference the voter’s US voting address information and input data updates and survey responses to constantly improve the quality of membership data.
Calling restricted to a few countries
Lack of real-time data in the membership database
Reaching members across 190 countries through personal conversations
Missing or outdated voter information >> Quality conversations
|Feature||How it was used||Impact|
|Tags||Each contact was tagged with details of voting history, volunteering history and their involvement in groups.||Targeted messaging. For example. Getting previous volunteers to volunteer again|
|Custom fields||Agents were shown details of occupation, voting address and email so they could verify and update the information while on a call.||Clean data increases the effectiveness of follow-up communication.|
|Surveys||Agents use surveys during calls to collect details of voting status (registered to vote, received ballot, sent ballot) and future communication preferences (email follow-up, personal follow-up, GOTV reminder, do not contact)||People receive exactly the help they ask for and not generic calls which is what leads to so much frustration with political calling.|
Calling restricted to a few countries >> Volunteers given global access to campaigns
Slow decision making >> Quick decisions based on live data
90% positive conversation + distributed campaigning across 190 countries + quick decisions = 3X increase in voter turnout
More than 90% of conversations DA volunteers had over CallHub were positive, a far cry from the lower double digits found in most campaign outreach.
With their global structure, 1,124 DemsAbroad volunteers calling from 57 countries help eligible US voters living in more than 190 countries to request, receive and return their ballots in 2018. As Merrill puts it, “we can now reach members living in nearly every country around the world to help them exercise their right to vote as US citizens.”
When the 2018 midterm results arrived, turnout among US overseas voters was three times that of 2014, going up by eight times in certain states. Efforts by Democrats Abroad, from phonebanking to extensive advertising campaigns and on-the-ground voter outreach efforts, drove more than 50% of overseas voter registration and 50%-70% of these overseas votes.
Although voter turnout is generally lower in midterm election years than Presidential election years, for Democrats Abroad, the proof of the effectiveness of their 2018 calling campaigns is how close it got to previous presidential election cycles. And this time, they weren’t far off.