Making Voter Persuasion Calls That Count: Elements & Scripts to Get Started

The two basic methods of voter canvassing are– door canvassing and phone canvassing. While door canvassing leads the numbers in getting out the vote, phone banking closer to election dates is not without its advantages and necessity.

Phone canvassing:

  • Can get you in touch with more people per hour.
  • Enables remote canvassing.
  • Is an effective method when you are crunched for time or volunteers.

However, a phone canvassing campaign will not work as desired if you don’t set the right tone, content, and time for voter persuasion calls. This post will focus on those points precisely– the elements of a successful voter persuasion call and scripts for the same.

Let’s get right to it.

Four core elements of voter canvassing calls

Voter canvassing includes regularly communicating and building a rapport with supporters before elections. Calling individuals to gauge their support and persuade them to volunteer, donate, vote and support you in other ways is an integral part of this process.

To ensure fruitful and scalable voter persuasion via calls, you require four primary elements:

  1. A phone banking tool.
  2. Volunteers.
  3. Clean contact lists.
  4. Calling campaign script.

Here’s a detailed look at each element.

Phone banking tool

A voter persuasion call is not simply picking up the phone and dialing the number. Volunteers must know the supporter’s history, they should be able to make a clear and compelling ask, and they should be able to do this at scale.

A phone banking tool, like CallHub, aids in this. It:

  1. Integrates with CRMs like Blue State Digital, NGPVan, and others so you can pull records into the tool directly and inform your campaigns accordingly. The notes and remarks added after a call also sync with the CRM, making your next voter persuasion call even more informed.
  2. Increases the speed of calling multifold. You add the desired contact lists on the tool; when a campaign runs, the tool dials numbers according to the set dial rate. It connects answered calls with free agents, so volunteers spend time only talking, not dialing.
  3. Offers a follow-up feature that automatically drops a text to cell phones or a voicemail for landlines so you can leave your details for unanswered calls.
  4. Provides features to collect data and survey responses during the call so you can personalize your future political texts or calling campaign script accordingly.

CallHub offers three auto-dialer options, perfect for voter persuasion calls. 

The predictive dialer is ideal for high-volume campaigns where the priority is getting through the list in a short time (like GOTV calls). 

The preview dialer and power dialer are ideal for low-volume campaigns where you spend more time researching, speaking with, and adding notes for each supporter (like calls for nurturing or voter persuasion). Try them here:

The right number and nature of volunteers

Volunteers are an integral part of political calling. However, to make voter persuasion calls, just a high number does not suffice. When assigning volunteers to voter persuasion campaigns, remember these points:

  • At any given point, at least 6 volunteers should be active: This is especially important when working with a call center tool. Six volunteers enable high-speed dialing, and fewer calls are kept on hold or sent recorded messages instead of connecting with a live agent. 
  • A volunteer must be comfortable making voter persuasion calls: Persuasion calls to supporters can be stressful. They can cause anxiety and frustration to volunteers. Moreover, a person not comfortable speaking to strangers can make the campaign counterproductive. A volunteer indicates their comfort by showing interest in making calls. If you have to pick calling agents, prioritize those who show immense patience and make a compelling case for your candidate. 

Volunteers, whether comfortable making calls or not yet, require training to make the campaign efficient. Here’s a guide on how to ensure the best training for them: How to train your campaign volunteers.

  • Relaxed, confident volunteers make the best calls: Overworking or consistently calling for long periods can make agents feel frustrated. To avoid that, conduct regular surveys or feedback sessions. Give them substantial breaks as a breather after a long or stressful campaign. Gamification in election campaigns is another strategy to boost morale.

Clean list of contacts

Between a messy but exhaustive list and a clean but shorter list, always choose the latter. The reason is simple: higher response rate > more calls. 

A clean contact list involves individuals who:

  • Have opted in to receive communications.
  • Have responded to your calls, texts, or emails in the past.
  • Are most likely to support and vote for you (projected with a voter predicting model).
voter-persuasion-call-clean-contact-list

You can maintain a clean list by analyzing your outreach efforts regularly and keeping an eye out for contacts who don’t open or respond. Those who voluntarily opt-out and those who request to be on your DNC list are typically weeded out by your communication software automatically.

Calling campaign script

A script aids calling campaigns by providing a backbone and a fallback for the interactions.

  • A Backbone for volunteers who need a guide to set the tone and drive conversations.
  • A fallback for those who may lose track or forget a vital element.

For a voter persuasion call, the script must accommodate different outcomes as well as personalized information on the contact. This is not possible to do at scale with a generic script. Similarly, drafting the script on paper while manually making calls using personal phones is not user-friendly.

To remedy both these problems, campaign managers must invest in a tool, like CallHub, that: 

  • Displays a calling script on the agent’s calling dashboard.
  • Enables script personalization via merge tags.
  • Provides space for different scenarios and for agents to add notes after a call.

Here’s how to add a script for a calling campaign on CallHub:

  1. Create a call center campaign.
  2. Draft a script and add a campaign brief to start the conversation (click on “campaign brief”).
voter-persuasion-call-callhub-script
  1. Add questions related to voter persuasion. E.g., supporter level (CallHub has a ready template for this question, which you can click to add).
voter-persuasion-call-supporter-level-survey
  1. Continue adding briefs for the different answer options and questions as relevant to your voter persuasion call.
  2. You can add call dispositions at this stage, indicating whether the contact requires a follow-up call or should go to the DNC list, etc.
  3. Follow the next steps of creating a campaign and schedule it. Your voter persuasion calls are ready to go!

This covers the four vital elements of a voter canvassing call. Now, let us look at campaign script examples for voter persuasion calls.

Voter persuasion call scripts

During the entirety of your campaign, you will make three types of voter persuasion calls:

  • Cold calls: Contacting opt-ins for the first time. Here, persuasion involves getting them to provide personal information and sign up for specific communications.
  • Warm calls: Second or later contact with confirmed, sway, or undecided voters. Persuasion during these calls involves nurturing an individual and convincing them to vote, donate, or volunteer for you.
  • GOTV calls: Calls made to confirmed and sway supporters 1-7 days before election day. These calls involve persuading supporters to step out and vote.

Let’s look at a campaign script example for each use case.

Cold voter persuasion call script

Not every person who opted in to receive your communications is a sure-shot supporter, let alone a voter. The first contact with them must aim to gauge the level of interest and support the individual is showing towards you.

Things to remember:

  • Calculate the voter predictability (how likely are they to support your candidate on election day).
  • Note any special requests or observations.
  • Request some personal information or opinion required for the next phase of your campaign. Persuade them to participate in or opt for particular communications so you can continue text, email, or call correspondence.

Cold voter persuasion call script:

Hello {first_name}, I am {agent_name}, calling from the *campaign name*. Thank you for sharing your phone number and subscribing to our updates. I wanted to get in touch with you personally to find out the issues that move you. May I ask, why did you choose to opt in to *candidate’s* communications?

Shares details

Noted. (note their expectations) *Candidate* has some ambitious ideas of economic, social, and environmental development of {area_name}. Which of the issues do you relate to the most?

Shares the issues.

I agree. I feel closely about *the issues* too. Well, we plan to update our supporters about events, rallies, debates, and press conferences related to *the issues* via texts. Would you like to opt-in?

Yes

Great. I’m sending you a confirmation text on this number right away. Thank you for your interest! 

Note: Details written in {curly_brackets} are the merge tags used in a call center software. They will show different details for each contact under the same campaign. Details written between *two asterisks* will remain common for the entire campaign. They have been marked differently as a generic example. Sentences written in italics are expected responses from the supporter.  

Warm voter persuasion call script

Once a supporter has “warmed up” to your communications, so to say, you advance into nurturing them for votes, donations, or other kinds of support. These persuasion calls are crucial because they determine whether an undecided voter will sway towards you.

Things to remember during warm persuasion calls:

  • Keep your scripts and conversations informed with the previously acquired information.
  • Check whether there is any change in the previous support level (whether the likelihood of voting has increased or decreased since your last conversation).
  • Craft the script to address concerns if the chances have decreased. Add a higher-barrier appeal if they have increased.

Warm voter persuasion call script for decreased support:

Hi {first_name}, this is {agent_name} from the *campaign name*. I’m calling to thank you for your continued interest in our campaign’s work. We last spoke on *interaction date* and I see that there has been a communication gap since. Is there a concern I can address?

Shares concern

I understand; sometimes, the texts and emails can feel too much. Do you think reducing the number of updates can help you? We really appreciate your support for *candidate name* and don’t want to lose you.

Yes, let’s reduce the number of texts. I don’t need to see volunteering opportunities or announcements.

Alright. I see you had donated for one fundraiser and shown interest in a rally previously. Would you like to keep getting such updates?

Yes.

Noted, {first_name}. Is there anything else I can do to help you?

No, thank you.

Excellent, thank you {first_name}, and I hope you continue supporting us this election.

Warm voter persuasion call script for increased or continued support:

Hi {first_name}, this is {agent_name} from the *campaign name*. I’m calling to thank you for your continued interest in our campaign’s work. We last spoke on *interaction date* and I see that there has been a communication gap since. Is there a concern I can address?

No, I’ve just been busy.

I understand. We really appreciate your support. To that end, {first_name}, we have an upcoming fundraising event. I see you had shown interest in a similar event last month but had to drop off at the last minute. Would you be interested in this event?

Sure, when is it?

*Shares details and makes a high-barrier ask to donate or attend the event*

GOTV voter persuasion call script

The last of your voter persuasion calls will be during your GOTV efforts. This typically targets voters who are leaning towards you but haven’t yet made a firm decision to vote. If your voter gap is too wide, the calling campaign can also target undecided voters. Additionally, you can also target confirmed voters as an added measure.

Things to remember:

  • Mention the importance of voting and how important their vote is.
  • If making the call a few days before elections, ask if they have any special requirements or requests for polling day (e.g., if they need to know the route or bus number).
  • Schedule a follow-up if it feels necessary.
  • Help them make a plan for election day.

Campaign script example for GOTV persuasion calls:

Hey {first_name}, this is {agent_name} from the *campaign name*. Elections are just four days away! Your vote is super important for us. I hope you have decided to vote.

I don’t know; I’m still thinking.

I understand. There’s still some time, and I hope you make the right decision. Your vote can determine the fate of our county and can push it towards sustainable development. In the meantime, let’s go over the logistics. Do you know where your polling booth is?

Yes

Great. Do you have reliable transport for it?

No, I’ll check on the day.

Well, taxis can be hard to get on such a busy day. What time would be convenient for you to come to the polling station?
Afternoons or evenings.

I can tell you there are two buses in the afternoon and one in the evening that halt near your address and at the polling station. Additionally, there are 3 people in your neighborhood going to the booths after lunch. Maybe you can carpool?

That sounds doable. Can you share more details?

Right away. *Share relevant details and schedule a follow-up.*

A voter persuasion call is your nudge to get a supporter to act on their interest and affinity towards you. Of course, it requires due diligence and the right tools to get your message across to thousands of supporters with relative ease.

CallHub promises to deliver that ease. Our call center tools, designed to suit political campaigns, enable automatic personalization, efficient campaign organization, and ease of work for volunteers. Do give the tools a try by following this link

Feature image source: Beci Harmony/Unsplash.