A favorite technique of successful campaigns is to establish a phone bank and call registered voters. Usually staffed by volunteers, the calls may be made from a central location or from volunteers' homes. These phone banks are useful for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) drives, as well as to develop name identification for candidates. To use a campaign phone bank, follow these steps.
Get a list of registered voters. These lists are usually available from the local election official or private political consultants. Many local political parties also provide voter lists for their candidates. These lists may be available in either paper or electronic versions. Some voter lists do not include phone numbers; if they do not, enlist volunteers to look up the phone numbers.
Develop the call list. A phone bank can remind targeted voters to vote, advise on voting location, offer rides to the polls or introduce a candidate. The call list must target the correct audience; for example, a GOTV pone bank should concentrate only on your candidate's likely voters. Do not get the opponent's voters out!
Set up the time and place for the phone bank. Campaign phone banks may run over several days or weeks, depending on the purpose. Some campaigns choose to send the campaign lists home with volunteers. This may be more convenient for the volunteers, but a centralized call center is more efficient. Locate an office with several phone lines available. Stock the office with food and drinks for volunteers. Recruit a phone bank supervisor to open and close the office, answer questions and conduct trainings.
Recruit and train volunteers. Provide a written script for the volunteers to use. Explain the purpose of the phone bank, how they will tally any results and explain how to deal with difficult calls. Allow volunteers to sign up for certain phone bank times.
Open the phone bank. Have a system in place to gather the replies and feedback of the calls.
Compile the data. Software programs are available for managing information obtained during phone banks. Evaluate the data.
- Be mindful of calling hours. Early morning, late night and meal times are not good times to make campaign phone calls.
- Encourage volunteers to be polite, non-argumentative and thick-skinned. They are representing the candidate; any negative reaction to a phone call reflects poorly on the candidate.
- Have the candidate participate in the phone bank. The candidate will usually get a more positive response from callers and his presence boosts the morale of volunteers.
- Always obey federal, state and local electioneering laws. For information about these laws, contact the appropriate election official.
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