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September 9, 2022


How to run an effective phone bank


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Phone banking is a powerful narrative tool. Phone banks work to the extent that they establish an authentic relationship with voters. That starts with a strong list, segmented to issues that speak to the constituency the most, and delivered by compassionate volunteers (Green & Gerber).

Data first

An effective phone bank starts with a strong list, segmented carefully by issues that speak to each constituency the most.

Once the message is carefully catered, invite specificity in the phone script from your data. How can you create a unique phone call experience that engages the recipient and captures their attention and without sounding like a telemarketing call.

Features like householding the calls, asking for the household member’s name, and using variables throughout the conversation based on the data’s column headers create a conversational approach.

One of the most powerful benefits we’ve seen of volunteer phone banking is the ability to segment list universes into multi-lingual phone calls, where volunteers can engage with voters in the language they are most comfortable with. That authentic, micro-targeted conversation starts with the quality of your data segments.

Train your volunteers

Phone banks are proven to be effective time and time again by the quality of the delivery of the phone calls. Phone calls delivered by compassionate volunteers who are committed to the quality of the phone call over the quantity of calls delivered set your campaign up for success.

  • Offer background information and context in the script instructions
  • Provide an FAQs document for callers for commonly asked questions during phone calls
  • Share the importance of quality phone conversations and the importance of their activism
  • Share movings stories heard in these phone calls with each other
  • Use call monitoring to do a health check on the phone script and common problem areas that you can fix in real-time
  • If volunteers are calling remotely, set up a Slack channel or a group chat where people can message in real time with each other and with the supervisor, alerting them to issues, notes, or other details

Focus the message

Commonly, we see campaigns with limited resources and time. The instinct is to cram a ton of information and messaging into the phone script.

But the beauty of real-time phone conversations is the ability to share stories and listen to stories.

You have precious minutes on the phone with someone willing to hear you out. Focus your message on what’s most important to them, and time the call to action with the life cycle of that supporter.

Not sure what is important to them? Ask them. Scripting can group common issues together, so your campaign can create a dynamic script based on the issues they are concerned about.

Data last

Use the dashboard to monitor results in real time, and download the data files to see agent productivity, households reached, and results of responses. Appending that information to your overall dataset can tell a compelling story as you move towards the next stage of your strategy.

Using the data collected from this calling campaign, you can then focus your efforts and resources on the next one.

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