What is it?
Phonebanking is an organized effort to reach targeted voters by telephone. It can be used in many ways. Our experience is with using phonebanking specifically to get out the vote among Democrats living abroad.
Democrats Abroad has an on-going phonebanking program that volunteers use to call Democrats Abroad members, reminding them about upcoming elections in the states where they vote and providing information about registration deadlines, requesting a ballot, and returning a ballot.
Phonebanking is a vital tool for getting out the vote from abroad by helping to insure that Americans living overseas don’t miss important deadlines and lose their chance to vote. In 2018 to support the mid-term elections, Democrats Abroad volunteers made over 154,000 phone calls to members in over 130 targeted calling campaigns.
Does it work?
Research results show:
“Phonebanking remains one of the preferred strategies for communicating with voters. Even in the age of digital campaigns and increased engagement of voters on social media, campaigns still rely on phone banking to start a conversation with their voter base.
“This is because personalized communication with the voter is always the best way to ensure they go out to vote...Running a political phonebank lets the voter come in contact with supporters they identify with – people they consider part of the community and who share their issues and emotions.” - Does Phonebanking Work?, CallHub
“Experiments of professional and volunteer phone calls...have suggested that personalized messages delivered in a conversational manner over the phone may be as effective (and cost-effective) as canvassing….many results suggest that it is the dynamic interaction of authentic person-to-person contact that is most important in determining whether a method will successfully mobilize voters.” - Lessons from GOTV experiments, Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies
People who have done phone banking with Democrats Abroad say:
“Quite a few voters were effusive in their thanks for helping them vote and answering their questions. They were even effusive if they'd already voted! No one ever asked me not to call again.”
“Got one person to change their mind about not voting.”
“People were just really grateful for the call; they were thrilled that DA was active, that people were doing positive things to make a difference and be engaged in our country, etc. I got so much gratitude. Also, there were many people who didn't know how to vote, or hadn't thought about it much, so it felt good that they were able to be engaged now after my efforts.”
How to participate from abroad
Democrats Abroad has a Voter Help team that is continually running phonebanking campaigns to turn out and inform the overseas vote. They use a free-for-you online system called CallHub that lets you call Democrats Abroad members all over the world from a computer.
After you sign up to help, you’ll get instructions on how to log in, scripts to use, and the voter information so you know who you're talking to. Then you can simply follow the script and fill in the survey answers: no other record-keeping is needed. No one answers the call? Leave a message using the script that is provided for that.
*Follow this link to download & install Google Chrome on Windows, Mac or Linux.
Get Started: How to sign up
- If you are not yet a member, join Democrats Abroad. Then sign up to be a volunteer at Phonebank or select Take Action > Phonebank from the menu. The system will step you through the process of training and give you instructions for signing up for specific campaigns.
- Contact the phonebanking team at [email protected] if you have any problems signing up. Note: to sign up, please do not contact the phone banking website support. They will not be able to sign you up as a Democrats Abroad phonebanking volunteer.
A few helpful things to know:
- You don’t have to be an expert on voting from abroad to call voters who live overseas. The script is set up by the Democrats Abroad experts.
- It’s flexible and easily adapted to your schedule. Democrats Abroad is a global organization. So, there is always a region with a calling campaign underway. You can participate at any time of day, from anywhere. You chose which campaign to work on and when.
- Calls made via Call Hub are to Democrats Abroad members--motivated voters who appreciate the outreach. Our phone calls may be the only outreach that our members get!
What does it cost?
Nothing! All you need is internet access, a computer, Chrome browser and a speaker with a microphone.
Have you written participated in a phonebanking campaign? What was your experience like? We are interested in your suggestions, other information, and advice. Let us know!
Links to resources
- Information about phonebanking with Democrats Abroad
- PRESENTATION: GOTV Phonebanking Introduction (Google Sheets)
- 2019 Phonebanking Do's and Don'ts (Google Docs)
Author: Mickey Farrance, Democrats Abroad France GOTV coordinator
Intro meme by Helen Stickler