Why is phonebanking important?
Phonebanking increases turnout.
In 2018, phonebanking increased voter turnout likelihood by about 0.4%. That might not sound big at first glance, but in the context of marginal gains that win elections, it’s huge – and it translates into real votes. Remember – Trump won Wisconsin by 0.8% of the vote in 2016. We need every vote we can get this year. We need every call we can make.
Phone calls have moved our candidates to victory (or close!) in the past.
Indivisible’s massive voter outreach campaign helped push Marie Newman over the finish line in March 2020. And even progressive champions who didn’t win, like Andrew Gillum, narrowed huge gaps through the power of direct voter contact.
Phonebanking is one core tool of a vast voter turnout campaign
We use different platforms to hit as many different demographics, people, and communication styles as possible – and we need all of them to win. Some folks do not live at their mailing address, so they might not receive a letter; other folks do not have a listed cell phone number, so they may not receive a text. Phonebanking reaches key voters we won’t reach through other methods!
The average voter needs anywhere from 10 to 14 “touches” to turn out to vote
Whether via direct contact or media. Phone calls are among the most effective because they are memorable and personal. Every time you talk to a voter, you’re one of those crucial touchpoints!
Phonebanking is key for voters who don’t have consistent internet or cell phone access.
About 20% of the country still doesn’t have at-home broadband internet – even more in rural communities – and about 10% of US residents don’t use the internet at all. Phonebanking has a greater impact for voters who don’t have a listed cell number. When you make calls to Indivisible’s voter universe, you’re a crucial touchpoint for folks who don’t have consistent access to common media channels.
Phone calls reach people other direct voter contact methods don’t
Some people don’t pick up unfamiliar phone numbers, but many people still do. In 2018, phonebanking made the biggest turnout impact for older voters and voters without a listed cell phone. Your calls matter, even if the people you reach don’t use their phones the same way you do.
What is it like to phonebank?
Who will I be talking to?
You’ll be calling a wide range of voters who are likely to vote Democratic – though you may get some independents and the occasional Republican. Some will be consistent voters; others will be people who haven’t voted in a long time. Every conversation counts!
How many people will I connect with?
In the average 2hr phonebanking shift, you’ll generally have full conversations with about 5-15 people. Tell a friend or fellow volunteer about all your memorable conversations – it makes things more fun and meaningful!
Hangups and refusals are normal.
Some people don’t want to talk, and that’s okay. Many people still pick up their phones, and many will stay on the phone with a curious, committed volunteer like you.
Wrong numbers are normal – and actually helpful!
Voters often change their phone numbers or move. No need to be discouraged! Identifying disconnected or wrong numbers helps “clean the list” so that as we get closer to election day, we’re calling accurate numbers for crucial voters.
Some voters might get contacted more than once – but others aren’t getting contacted at all.
It’s common to feel concerned that you’re just bugging people. But remember, the average voter needs anywhere from 10-14 “touches” to turn out to vote, whether from direct contact or from media. You might be touch 15 for some people, and they might even be a little annoyed. That’s okay! For other voters in our expansive universe, especially those without internet or a cell phone, you might be only touch 2 or 3. That’s the impact we need!
Hubdialer Pro Tip: Host a (remote) party or a phone with friend!
Hubdialer is an “audio-dialer” – it dials for you and weeds out disconnected numbers and voicemails so you can have as many conversations as possible during your shift. The more people on the tool at a time, the more voters you’ll actually talk to!
OpenVPB Pro Tip: Don’t take too many breaks!
Phonebanking is more impactful when we connect with more voters. On OpenVPB, that means fitting in as many dials as we can, since we have to dial each individual number ourselves. See how fast you can dial, and plan a reward for yourself for right after your shift!