Invite your friends and neighbors
While you can certainly make effective calls to voters on your own, it is often more fun and productive to call in groups. Some of the best times to make phone calls are after dinnertime on a weekday or on weekend afternoons. Working together helps keep morale up through lots of calls, and allows you to share tips and learn from each other. It’s also an opportunity to make it a fun social event—have a potluck, play games, use your creativity to make it fun and enjoyable while also having a strong political impact.
Know who your target is
Focus on a member of Congress who you are trying to get to take a specific action to end the war in Afghanistan. Make sure you are only calling people who live in that district. Members of Congress are concerned with getting reelected, so they want to know what their potential voters think about important issues. E‐mail Rebecca Griffin, Political Director, to get lists of voters to call in your target district.
Before people meet up, should to have all the materials ready for them. Each person needs:
• A script that he or she can read from when making calls
• A pen or pencil
• A phone to call on. It works great to ask people to bring their cell phones
• A comfortable place to sit
• Enough space to have a phone conversation without disturbing or being disturbed by other callers
• A list of people to call
You should also provide a list of people to call that is reasonable for the amount of time you have. There should be space on the call sheets for people to write down what happened (not home, said no, said yes). That way you know if you didn’t reach people in case you want to try calling them again another time. You want to be especially careful to record the number of yeses so you can see if you met your goals and celebrate your success!
Finally, make sure the materials are split up so you don’t call the same people morethan once.
Prepare your team
Before everyone starts calling, spend 10‐15 minutes briefing the volunteers. Fill them in on information that will help make the calls more effective: the political climate, background information on your target, what you want to achieve with the calls, an explanation of the rap, and how to keep track of the calls. Throughout the night, check in and work to keep people motivated. It can be frustrating to get hung up on or talk to people who don’t want to take action, and that can start to show in people’s voices. As the leader, you want to make sure you are keeping people politically motivated and having fun.
Have a concise “rap” and a clear “ask”
Provide people with something simple and brief to say on the phone that also conveys the urgency of taking action. It usually works best to have this written down in the form of a script. You should also make sure that there is something specific you want the voters to ask for when they call their representative’s office.
See below for a sample script.
Having specific goals about how many calls you want to generate can help keep people motivated and excited throughout the phone bank. You can find fun ways to acknowledge successful calls (like everyone rings a bell when they get a yes) and to keep track of your progress (have a chart on the wall that shows the number of “yeses” growing throughout the day).
Calling strangers can make people a little bit nervous, so it’s good to do some role playing together before you start calling. Have people practice in pairs or in front of the group pretending to play each role. That way people have had the experience of talking through it and all the calls will be more effective.
One of the most important things to practice is having assumptive and confident tone, which is critical in getting busy people to take some time to talk. You can also practice challenging situations that might come up, such as the person on the phone saying she doesn’t have time to talk.
Wrap up and thanks
First of all, thank your volunteers for their efforts and celebrate the impact you’ve had with your successful phone bank!
SAMPLE PHONE BANK SCRIPT
Hi, my name is ____________ and I’m a volunteer with _________________. I’m calling with a quick action to end the war in Afghanistan. Do you have a minute?
Great. The House is voting this week on a bunch of amendments to end the war in Afghanistan. The more members of Congress support these amendments, the more pressure there will be on the White House to end the war. The Pentagon is pushing really hard against the idea of withdrawing troops, so this pressure is really important before President Obama decides how many troops to withdraw in July.
Can you take a minute right now to call Rep. __________?
Great. Are you ready to write down the number? You can reach the office at _____________
(check ahead of time whether there is an answering machine in the DC office if you are calling after business hours)
Call and tell them your name, address, and that you want Rep. ____________ to vote in favor of amendments to the Defense Authorization bill to end the war in Afghanistan.
Again, just let them know you want them to vote in favor of amendments to the Defense Authorization bill to end the war in Afghanistan.
Thank you so much for calling!