Why Campaigns Phone Bank and How Bernie 2016 is Reinventing the Game
The main purpose of phone banking is voter ID. We call people to cross the Republicans off our list, and make sure that the people who are either undecided or supporting our candidate get a visit in person from our canvassers. If they let us talk to them about the candidate and persuade them, that’s a bonus, but most people don’t like getting phone calls. In-person visits work far better for persuasion. Canvassing maps are drawn by us phone bankers.
Usually phone calls are done by in-state volunteers in campaign offices, but Bernie has seen such a rush of support that he’s been able to shift it over to out of state volunteers who run the whole ship online. That means more time for volunteers to knock on doors and results 5% better than polls predicted for both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now with a new texting system, volunteers are able to sign people up for text updates through phone banks and even mass-text fellow volunteers through experimental new apps like Hustle. Hillary may have the money for more call centers, but young innovators are changing the game for Bernie.
Tracking Calls for the CBB Phone Bank Competition: BerniePB
What you need: Google chrome
BerniePB was designed by a few college students and, while most volunteers don’t use it (hence the low call counts in each state), it is a fun way to track calls and compete with the colleges that have teams on it. Its live call map, which shows the calls as red streaks traveling from their state of origin to their destination, can get pretty busy during peak hours and provide a cool visual. It has achievements and ranks to encourage you to make just one more call to round out your numbers.
To join our team, create an account on the site, go to leaderboards, and click here to go to our team page or search for us in the all-time team leaderboards. Then click on apply to join and you’ll be brought in to the group. Whoever makes the most calls before Nevada, and then again before South Carolina will win a prize, like a fancy new Bernie sign!
Our New Tech: HubDialer
What you need: A computer or tablet and any type of phone
The Bernie campaign just finished a site for its new HubDialer after its old system, LiveVox, got flooded with too many volunteers and started to glitch out. In terms of problems, too many volunteers is always a good one, but HubDialer should solve that and speed up the process. It automatically dials multiple numbers simultaneously based on pick-up rate to lead to 3x more conversations per hour than a manual dialer. It will get more efficient as it learns call patterns through increased use. But because it calculates based on how long each call takes and wants to make sure that no one picks up the phone without a Bernie volunteer on the other side, leaving it on idle will slow the whole system. Log out whenever you would like to take a break. Pick your state and will gives you a login, then sign in and prepare to talk as soon as you hear a beep.
The Dialer provides you a script that you can just read off of the first few times. If you want to get an idea of what phone banking is like before jumping in, your talk should go something like this:
“Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a volunteer [you’re not paid staff, you’re doing this on your own time and people care about that] with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Is Mr./Ms. [a little respect in terms of titles goes a long way, especially with older voters] ________ there?”
Yes or no (if no, check the appropriate box, wrong number/not home etc.) If yes…
“Great. I’m just calling to ask if you’re planning on voting in [date]’s caucuses/primaries, and if you’ve decided on a candidate to support”.
If they like Bernie, try to get their cell phone number and maybe even a commitment to volunteer. If you get one volunteer, congratulations, you’ve just multiplied your power by 2. This is how our base crew from a devoted core following into the massive army it is now.
If they’re undecided, ask a persuasion question [see voter tips below] if you’re up to it or just direct them to BernieSanders.com.
Make the talk your own, as every candidate has the same script and you want yours to stand out.
Tips when talking to voters
- Do your best to make the canned script your own. Every candidate has the same script and voters prefer to hear from you personally.
- It’s pronounced “Nev-a-da”, as in “advertisement”, not “Nev-ah-da” as in “cheetah”
- Smile! You’ll sound more approachable when talking according to multiple studies.
- Have an org up in another tab so that you can look up the answers to questions you don’t know.
- If the voter is undecided, ask them questions like “What do you most value in a future president?” They aren’t yes/no questions that can be brushed off quickly and encourage the voter to actually contemplate what criteria they’ll hold the candidates to. If you have the info at hand, you can target your answer, which will make it far better.
- You can phone bank from anywhere. If you have some spare time between classes, why not work the revolution with your lunch break? Campaign work never ends.
Phone bank Parties
It’s much easier to phone bank with food or friends so meet us on the ground floor of Hamilton to head to events on Mondays and Thursdays from 8-10pm or Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm (though we may be away the day of the South Carolina primaries if we road trip to Massachusetts for Super Tuesday). Check them out on our FB page.
There are also parties in Harlem and the Morningside Heights area where we will post pretty regularly and a Bernie War Room open every day from 5-11pm at 355 7th Ave. Room 207! See their event details every week on TeamBernieNY.org
If you feel up to it, host your own phone bank party and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can promote it!
Last but not least, make sure to sign up for a trip to Massachusetts to win the Bay State on Super Tuesday!