When I was in college, a politico friend persuaded me to join him in campaigning in New Hampshire. I took the bus trip with him and knocked on doors, talking to elderly white people. That wasn’t so bad, but afterward, the campaign wanted us to write handwritten notes to everyone that we spoke to.
My handwriting is illegible in general and I prefer to type my communication. Still, I wrote out postcard after postcard until my hand cramped. And that was the full extent of my political campaigning until now.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, so despite my negative view of political canvassing, I decided that I would regret not doing everything in my power on behalf of a political outcome that feels like a battle for the soul of our nation.
I signed up for phonebank training.
The training took one hour and was led by a very personable and intelligent young man who is in charge of large swath of New England’s phoning efforts. A STEM guy interested in sustainability, he appears to be on GAP year to works full time on this presidential election. He reminds me of my college roommate who also did this grassroots campaigning which led her down a really impressive career path. I was in good hands.
He reassured the 1700 of us on the call that:
- We don’t need to be tech-savvy
- Calls make a difference in an election outcome
- Elections are won on the margins; a 3.8% increase in votes means a blowout victory
- SLACK is the new “office space” because of the pandemic, but despite looking complicated, we only need to click a few buttons to get to where we needed
- We don’t actually have to “persuade” anyone
- We don’t have to engage with anyone hostile
The process is quite technologically automated for maximum efficiency. There is a robo-dialer that makes all the calls so you are only connected to a live human.
SLACK walks you through each call, feeding you what to say.
It’s like this:
- First say hi and introduce yourself
- Ask how they are
- Ask if they are planning to vote for your candidate
- They are voting for the opponent –> thank them and hang up
- They are not willing to talk –> thank them and hang up
- They are voting for your candidate –> ask them if they have a voting plan and if they want to volunteer
- They are undecided –> ask them about what issue they care about. SLACK will send them more info if they give you their email address and their phone number
It’s that simple!
After the first presidential debate, over 100,000 people signed up to volunteer for the Democratic nominee. I’ll see you all on Slack #call-crew!
Want to join me? Sign up here.
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