Texting is now live!    Learn more


underline vector

Complete Guide To Political Campaigning

loudspeaker logo

The ultimate guide to political phone banking: making an impact with your voice

The success of any political campaign depends on many factors. Planning phone banking campaigns and executing them with the help of volunteers, phone banking scripts, and other field tactics are among the most effective tactics you can use for political races.

Well-organized and carefully planned phone banking campaigns can majorly impact any political activity, which is why political organizations need to get them right. Volunteers can call from hundreds to thousands of voters and achieve remarkable impact. 

For example, around 1.7 million calls were made on the first Vote Save America Weekend of Action in 2020, which was nothing less than amazing.

If you are new to phone banking or just starting, we will break down the most important concepts in this complete guide and help you understand the main ideas of this powerful political tactic.

What is phone banking?

Phone banking refers to contacting potential voters via telephone to persuade them to vote for a particular candidate or cause. Phone banking is a type of voter outreach that usually involves volunteers who make phone calls to identify supporters, raise funds, get people to attend events, and encourage them to vote.

Political campaign volunteers who participate in phone banking efforts often make a real difference by reaching out to hundreds of potential voters each day. Thanks to volunteers, political organizations can use phone banking for targeted political activities such as GOTV (Get Out The Vote) or recruit more volunteers by connecting directly with communities.

Phone banking can be an effective way to reach large numbers of voters in a short time. Volunteer calls can be used in conjunction with other methods of voter outreach, such as political canvassing or distributing campaign materials.

Political phone banking process
Political phone banking process for connecting with supporters

Effective phone banking targets specific groups of voters, such as those who live in swing states or who have voted in previous elections. 

How does phone banking work? 

Phone banking relies on volunteers and calling agents to perform calls effectively and at scale.

Volunteers are typically given a list of people to call. They dial each number manually and then talk to the person who answers the phone. In the past, this process was done manually by volunteers who would have to dial each number individually and then talk to the person who answered the phone. They would also have to record information about the call on paper, which would then need to be entered into a CRM by the campaign manager. 

This process was both tedious and time-consuming and often resulted in errors. With the advent of new technology, phone banking has become much more efficient. Now, automated systems can call hundreds or even thousands of people at once, record information about each call automatically, and easily keep track of data. 

Simply put, there are two ways to do phone banking:

  1. By manually dialing each person’s number on the phone and physically logging the results 
  2. Using autodialer software, which is typically a web-based software that dials the number automatically and connects you to a person only when someone picks up the phone

For volunteers with little experience, manual phone banking allows them to control the calling tempo, but they don’t maximize the volunteers’ time. Once volunteers get more confident and comfortable, they usually switch to autodialers that help them reach out and persuade more people.

Autodialers are much more efficient than having volunteers manually dial each number and save a lot of time. Volunteers don’t have to worry about incorrectly recording information or forgetting to enter it into the CRM (Custom Relationship Management software). Other options include voiceover IP (VoIP) technology, which uses the internet to make calls instead of traditional phone lines, so again, volunteers do not need to manually dial each number.

Phone banking and predictive dialers workflow
How phone banking and predictive dialers work together

Another aspect of phone banking is the location of the volunteers when making the calls. Traditionally, volunteers would gather at the campaign headquarters and create a collective call center using physical phones and manual data entry.

However, there are more and more examples when volunteers meet at someone’s house or call people directly from their homes using the data provided. And web-based auto-dialers enable phone banking from anywhere. Volunteers log in and start calling – all they need is an internet connection. 

Why to use a phone bank? 

The main goal of any phone banking campaign is to establish conversations with people, gather information, and collect data. 

Phone banking also has a couple of big benefits for organizations:

  • Conversations that motivate actions at a personal level. Authentic volunteers have higher chances of persuading someone to vote.
  • Time effectiveness and scalability compared to door knocking and the possibility to reach more people in the same amount of time. Furthermore, research shows that the estimated vote costs from phone banking campaigns are similar to those from door-knocking campaigns. 
  • Phone banking helps test the quality of voter lists (based on the replies volunteers receive). At the same time, it helps analyze additional voter data for statistical analysis.
  • Volunteers and staff can conveniently and comfortably make calls right from home
  • Quality conversations with people that might feel left out. Many people are often excluded from social interactions and appreciate having someone to talk to them about important topics.

Phone banking is still a fantastic tactic that every political campaign, nonprofit, and advocacy group/organization should use to establish meaningful connections with many people.

When to use phone banking for political purposes

There are many scenarios and use cases for political phone banking:

  1. Voter outreach

Phone banking is essential when reaching out to voters and trying to learn more about them, their motivations, voting preferences, etc. 

  1. Phone canvassing

Phone canvassing is another form of political outreach that can include phone calls for collecting information, candidate or issue support, or mobilizing voters. People performing phone canvassing are either volunteers or paid staff working on campaigns. 

  1. Get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts

Phone banking helps with GOTV efforts and voter mobilization by reminding the voter of their polling locations and voting hours and to answer voters’ questions. If early voting is available, phone bankers support people with additional information about how to vote. At the same time, the collected data during GOTV help update the voter databases.

  1. Campaign volunteer recruitment

Phone bankers can ask potential volunteers from their list if they are interested in participating in a campaign. Phone bankers can then share and collect information to support a campaign’s volunteer recruitment team.

  1. Political call centers

A political call center is where volunteers or paid staff call voters. When using phone banking, political centers can be more efficient, make target calls, integrate phone scripts into the calls, collect data and motivate people.

  1. Voter identification 

Phone bankers use scripts to ask voters about their political affiliation, voting history, and support for specific candidates or programs. A good phone banking campaign can scale and leverage all these efforts. 

  1. Voter persuasion

Similar to voter identification, phone bankers use their prewritten scripts to persuade undecided voters to take some form of action – either to vote in general or to convince them to vote for someone or something specific.

  1. Political and grassroots fundraising

Phone banking is very useful for identifying and targeting potential fundraising donors, providing information about the campaign, and asking for financial donations of all sizes. In addition, phone banking helps follow up with existing donors and ask for additional contributions when working on grassroots fundraising for campaigns.

Volunteers running phone bank from home
Phone banking can be executed from any location

How effective is phone banking?

Now that we know what phone banking is and why it is beneficial, we should also ask if it is effective and worth the effort.

Phone banking can be extremely effective, especially when calling people likely to vote for your candidate or support your cause. Here are some other reasons why it is effective:

  • When you have a meaningful conversation with someone, you are more likely to persuade them to vote or take action. And this is what phone banking is all about.
  • It collects valuable campaign information that helps make informed decisions about resource allocation.
  • Phone banking is the best way to recruit more volunteers and connect with people that are passionate about your cause.
  • Phone banking reaches voters that may otherwise be ignored and overlooked.
  • GOTV success is improved when the calling lists have been vetted and cross-referenced with previous phone banking campaigns
  • If you have a well-trained, big and motivated volunteer team, you can make millions of calls quickly, which greatly impacts voter engagement and turnout.  

Phone banking is personal, and this is what makes it effective. Although door-to-door canvassing is a more effective method for voter contact, phone banking reaches more people in less time. And throughout an entire campaign, the goal is to get as many voters as possible – phone banking is the best way to accomplish this while maintaining the personal touch of peer-to-peer conversations.

Phone banking is highly effective whether you work on GOTV, fundraising, voter activation, or recruiting volunteers.

How to organize a phone bank campaign 

The organization of phone banking activities can be quite complex. Here we summarize the most common elements every phone banking campaign should include.

Generally, there are three main phases of political phone banking:

  1. Preparation and planning
  2. Calling and talking to people
  3. Tracking, analyzing, and improving the results

Let’s dive in and go through each of these phases.

Preparation and planning

Unsurprisingly, good preparation and planning can make or break your campaign. Some basic elements that you have to think about include the following:

  • Budget – how much money can you dedicate to calling efforts?
  • Goals – what do you want to achieve with each call? E.g., will you focus on fundraising, building awareness, calls to action, etc.?
  • Campaign metrics – you must determine key metrics depending on your campaign goals. Examples include:
    • Several volunteers are needed to contact the total calling universe.
    • Win number – how many votes you need to get your candidate elected
    • Cost of contact – an estimated cost of contacting the voters during a campaign
    • Vote deficit – how many votes you need to reach the win number compared to your existing voter base
  • Plan of action – this should be some written document that specifies how you will operate once the campaign starts and how you plan to execute everything you have planned.
  • Getting the voter contact list – this can usually be obtained from local election offices, political parties, or by using 3rd party data vendors.

A big part of planning includes volunteer recruitment and management. This can include

  • Volunteer recruitment and outreach efforts
  • Volunteer training 
  • Training volunteer recruiters 
  • Finding volunteer coordinators 
  • Forecasting outcomes based on the operational numbers and estimations 

Typical planning of volunteer activities includes answering questions like:

  • How many phones do you have available for the task?
  • When will you run the phones? Specifying the right days and times of the week is crucial for voter contact rates.
  • How many calls can you attempt in one hour? Things like voter identification, candidate preference, or GOTV calls typically take less time than persuasion calls.

Other important aspects include the following:

  • TCPA compliance which defines what is allowed for automated and manual calling
  • Deciding how you will make the calls – choosing between manual and call center tools and finding the right software that maximizes efficiency and time 
How to plan a political phone banking
How to plan a political phone banking campaign

It would be best to focus on these most common aspects when planning call campaigns. A checklist is always valuable to ensure you get everything vital before moving to the calling phase. 

Calling people

If you have prepared correctly, you can now start calling people. This phase also comes with a couple of big activities, such as:

  1. Connecting call lists to the volunteers. If the volunteers are going to call people manually, all they need is a list. However, if you want to use web browsers to make more effective calls using auto-dialers like HubDialer, you will need to educate them on how to use the software. 
  1. Training the volunteers can include anything from the tools they will use, note taking, what type of data they need to collect, conversation inputs, and much more. The more care you put into training directly affects the success of the calling campaign overall.
  1. Script preparation is a crucial element that can’t be emphasized enough. A good script should include a proper introduction, ask the right questions, engage voters in the conversation, and make a specific call to action. 
  1. Assigning contacts to volunteers can be done randomly (without any preference), statically (by giving follow-ups to the same volunteers that initiated the first call), or by using advanced methods such as cutting turf (where local volunteers are assigned to calling local people).
  1. Choosing the right calling technology. Most phone banking campaigns will rely on some autodialer since they have numerous advantages over manual dialing. It is up to campaign managers to find the right dialer type, which typically includes autodialers, power dialers, predictive dialers, and progressive dialers.
  1. Most of the time, the volunteers want to make follow-up calls to remind voters about taking action or sharing more information. Each calling campaign should enable volunteers to make notes easily and set up reminders for follow-ups. A missed follow-up means a missed opportunity, which is why it is also important to include this element in the volunteer training.
Effective political phone banking and calling
Effective political phone banking and calling in practice

Note: volunteers need to be motivated throughout the calling campaign. Calling voters repeatedly can be exhausting, so it helps to show volunteers how much you appreciate their efforts and the energy they invest. Supporting them during campaigns and showing gratitude makes phone banking even more successful. 

Tracking, analyzing and improving the results

It is almost impossible to do everything right during a call campaign. That is why it is important to monitor and improve things in real-time.

If you use one of the calling tools available on the market, campaign supervisors can listen to live calls and share their advice with the volunteers. Many modern tools enable users to share feedback and messages with the volunteers using their in-app messaging features. 

If the voter conversion rates aren’t satisfying, campaign managers can listen to call recordings, identify potential issues (for example, if phone bank scripts are too long), and adjust accordingly.

Call metrics and analytics

Every phone banking campaign should use call analytics to analyze the performance. It is common to have detailed reporting with calling tools, but focusing on the right metrics might be challenging.

Typical call metrics that you want to monitor:

  • Agent utilization rates – shows how much time volunteers spend calling against idle time
  • Drop rates – number of disconnected calls before being connected to a volunteer, divided by total calls
  • Reach rates – tracks what percentage of calls were picked up by people and potential voters
  • Call conversion rate – shows the number of people that took specific action divided by the number of people called

Looking at the campaign metrics can reveal if

  • volunteers spend too much time idle and why (e.g., bad call list)
  • There are too few volunteers involved compared to the campaign’s needs
  • Low conversions happen as a result of a bad script, unclear messages, or something else

Whatever the reasons for not reaching the campaign goals, you should get enough insights to improve the performance and drive greater impact.

Everything listed above shows that a successful phone bank campaign requires careful planning, execution, and management. It depends on many different factors and often requires flexibility and experimentation. It is very hard to hit a home run the first time. You should test other scripts, training types, or even dialers. 

For example, Hubdialer is used by many political professionals during political events because of its simplicity, reliability, and ability to track and evaluate the results of any phone campaign.

Why does every phone banking campaign need volunteers? 

Volunteers are a vital element of any campaign, big or small. There is simply no way to conduct activities at scale and reach out to many people without having volunteers involved.

There is no shortage of activities that volunteers can do, and in a typical political campaign, they can:

  • Distribute flyers and printed materials
  • Communicate with journalists and work on press releases or radio shows
  • Organize and guide fundraising events
  • Make thousands of calls during a phone banking campaign 
  • Research and find information on political candidates
  • Do door-to-door knocking and engage with people in the field

Volunteers can be a part of every phase of the political campaign. Historically, volunteers were mostly used to support fieldwork, but their knowledge and energy can do much more than that. 

Finally, if a political campaign has many volunteers, the public sees the candidate is supported by “ordinary people,” which improves the general image of a campaign. Gone are the days when only consultants and TV ads would win a campaign. Simply put, volunteers can be the difference between winning and losing. 

Best Practices for volunteers when making calls

So far, we have focused mostly on how phone banks typically work, how they are organized and described their most important elements.

We want to share some practical advice for volunteers and people directly contributing to phone bank success. Experienced callers can make up to 100 calls per hour, so campaign managers need to provide consistent support and feedback.

Some of the most common aspects of call include:

  • Preparing yourself and staying relaxed before making calls
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and tone
  • Using persuasion during the calls
  • Dealing with negativity
  • Sticking to best practices

Let’s look at these scenarios and how volunteers typically handle different situations.

Preparing yourself and staying relaxed before making calls

As a first-time volunteer, you might feel nervous before making calls. This is quite normal; after all, volunteers make many calls, which often means that some calls will be awkward and unpleasant. 

Here are a couple of points you can follow before the calling phase begins:

  • Remind yourself why you’re doing it and tap into the larger mission
  • If you are not sure how to use calling tools properly, talk openly with your supervisors and start using an option that is beginner friendly – like HubDialer.
  • Take some time to go through the calling script first. Get comfortable with it by reading it out loud a few times and practicing the key messages and points of emphasis. The preparation helps a lot once you start calling people.
  • Not all calls will follow the script, which is also fine. Talk naturally and improvise as needed.
  • Don’t worry if you are not an expert. It is perfectly fine to admit that you don’t know the answer and need to check. What matters is that people feel good after talking with you; this will encourage them to take action and get involved.

If you stick to these basic rules, you’ll call and make an impact in no time!

Making calls with a positive attitude

A good advice to everyone involved in making calls is to think about calling as a way to establish a small relationship with someone. And if you bring a positive attitude to each conversation, the person on the other end will be more likely to act.

In practice, this could include things like:

  • Focus on starting the conversation right. To achieve this, you can include small things, like smiling during the call and emphasizing that you’re a volunteer. It also means paying attention to call tactics, like jumping straight to the topic and not losing control of the message. It would help if you were specific about why you are calling – to ask questions or inform.
  • Listen and find out what people would like to know about the candidate or your preferred option. Use affirmation words (“yes,” “I agree”) and ask questions that show that you are interested in listening. And don’t forget – occasional silence is totally fine.
  • As the call approaches the end, always end on a positive note. Thank the person for their time and participation.

In short – stay natural and relaxed while sticking to the script.

Using persuasion during the calls

Persuasion is a critical element of any calling campaign. Conversations are all well and good, but you need people to take action.

But how can you ensure you bring the persuasion elements into your calls? We have some advice for that too:

  • If you notice someone has a strong opinion and doesn’t want to be persuaded, just be polite and finish the call. There is no point in wasting time on lost causes.
  • Find common ground. The more you agree, the more open people will be to hearing your thoughts during the call.
  • People often express their values during the calls. It helps if you agree with them and paraphrase the main thoughts, which allows you to establish a strong connection with people.
  • Listening to others is good, but don’t allow them to run monologues. Ask questions early enough so they can share their thoughts with you. Establish a balanced give and take. 
  • Political campaigns are often about making people vote, regardless of the candidate and party. While it is not easy to change someone’s mind, you should use the time to persuade someone to vote and not stay at home

Making persuasive calls is not easy, just like with other aspects of phone banking – the more you practice, the better you get at it.

Dealing with negativity

It is normal that some callers are negative and difficult to talk to. Most likely, you will experience cases like:

  • The voter hangs up on you
  • The people you call get irritated during the conversation
  • The voters are misinformed and talking nonsense
  • Some people might talk about supporting extreme organizations
  • A small portion of people might be aggressive and insulting

These scenarios will inevitably happen from time to time. Don’t worry; the best advice is to say “thank you for your time” and politely finish the conversation. You want to focus on the people that are open to talking.

Sticking to best practices

As a wrap-up of this section, let’s look at some DOS and DON’TS.


  • Not all people are ready to launch into political discourse. If you are kind, understanding, and empathetic, you will have a better chance of establishing a productive dialogue.
  • Take enough time to go through the calling script before making a call and familiarize yourself with it.
  • While people on the other side can’t see you, it helps if you smile, stand, or do whatever you need to project energy on the call.
  • Some people don’t want to talk or truly don’t have time. If this is the case, politely end the call.
  • Use the voters’ names when addressing them. Ask them if they’re comfortable with you referring to them by their first name. 
  • Always thank people for their time – this will ensure you politely end the call.
  • Be yourself!


  • Talking too fast will prevent voters from hearing you – speak slowly and articulately. 
  • The voters will want to talk sometimes and make the call longer. Let them finish, and don’t interrupt them; there should be enough time for your part after they are done.
  • Stick to the call script. There is a reason why scripts are designed in that way, so don’t change their meaning.
  • If you are unsure about the answer to voters’ questions, say you don’t know and need to check. This is much better than giving false information. You can always do a follow-up and return to the voter after researching the answer.

Being a successful caller can be challenging. But if you prepare properly, stay positive and deal with negativity correctly, you’ll master phone banking in no time. 

Phone banking and dialer types

When working on political phone banking as a volunteer, you will often be introduced to various tools that help with call preparation, call making, data collection, follow-up calls, etc. Different dialers are one of the most common tools that make the calling process more efficient and scalable.

Depending on the preferences of campaign managers, you might encounter predictive, preview, and power dialers, which are different types of auto-dialers. 

Let’s quickly look at what these are and how they work.

What is an auto dialer?

An auto dialer is software typically used in a call center or by political campaigns to make multiple calls simultaneously, depending on the agent/call ratio chosen during setup. Auto dialers allow phone bankers to reach many voters quickly since they eliminate the need to dial each number manually. 

The biggest benefit of auto-dialers is that they make phone banking more efficient, requiring fewer volunteer hours spent on calls. Auto dialers have many advanced, useful features like automatic calling back to numbers that were unanswered or that reached a voicemail, script programming, leaving pre-recorded messages, and data analytics.

What is a predictive dialer?

A predictive dialer is a phone system that helps improve call efficiency by automatically making calls and predicting when a call agent will be available for the next call. Predictive dialers use an algorithm that analyzes statistics (answered calls, dropped calls, number of active agents, talk times, etc.) and determines the best time to make the next call based on current call volume, often called a dialing ratio. 

Predictive dialers are very popular because agents that call voters can make up to 100 calls per hour while having up to 50 live calls. While predictive dialers work the best when you have 10 or more agents working on a call campaign simultaneously, they are practically irreplaceable when many people need to be reached in a short time frame, such as during the GOTV campaigns.

And as mentioned before – less waiting time and more connected calls mean more efficiency, higher voter outreach, and more voter mobilization.

Hubdialer predictive dialer for phone banking
Hubdialer’s predictive dialer makes phone banking simple and efficient

What is a power dialer?

A power dialer is another popular outbound type used for political phone banking. In contrast to predictive and auto dialers, power dialers dial the next phone number from the list right after an agent completes his current call. The agents can manually move to the next calling number if a call is unanswered or busy.

Power dialers don’t require having multiple agents at a time – one person is enough to work with a power dialer. However, the number of calls per hour is limited, and most often, up to 20 calls per hour can be made.

Power dialers are used when call quality is more important than quantity. For instance, if you want to make the most of every call, e.g., ask for donations, collect data and persuade people to perform some action, power dialers can nicely complement predictive dialers. 

Do phone banking properly and your candidates will thank you

There is no doubt that phone banking is a powerful tactic that significantly impacts the outcome of political campaigns. If you carefully prepare, execute and monitor its progress, there is almost no limit to what you can achieve.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to recruit, motivate and appreciate volunteers and their work in phone banking. Use this guide’s best practices and practical advice to establish healthy and meaningful relationships with your volunteers throughout your campaigns.

And once you start planning your call campaigns, sign up for Hubdialer and use the power of predictive dialing to get the most out of your phone bank. We work with hundreds of campaign managers and political consultants annually and understand that each call counts, just as each vote counts!

Take HubDialer for a test drive with 500 free minutes! Get your account up and running in minutes with no set up fee or credit card required.

Sign up to stay informed on all the latest news and feature updates!

Contact Information