Resource Library

Sister District NYC Case Study: Virtual Phonebank

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Calling for: Harold “Howie” Hayes
Date: Saturday 3/14/20
Time: 3-5 pm
Attendees: 10
Training time: 15 mins
Call time: 105 mins
Total dials: 621
+ Monday 3/16 = 5 people, 204 calls, 26 convos
+ Tuesday 3/17 = 3 people, 84 calls, 22 convos

What were your steps to put the party together?

We scrambled. Had phonebanks and a canvassing trip set up already. We had an RSVP list for the phonebank. Earlier communication to the volunteers had offered the option of phoning from home if people didn’t feel comfortable attending. A day or two prior to the event we decided to change to at home only. We sent out an email to that effect along with a Zoom link to meet at 3 pm for a greeting and orientation. We also sent an email invitation to people who were planning to canvas that weekend.

How did you recruit for the party?

Mailchimp, Facebook

How did you confirm/remind RSVPs?

We send out information emails a few days before and a reminder 2 days before.

How did you prepare for the party?

  • Created Zoom link
  • Decided who would lead the welcome/orientation.
  • We had already sent instructions for getting an Action ID, link to VPN (also put it in the chat box for ease) and tally sheets.

How did the party flow? What happened?

We took a ~15 minutes to introduce ourselves, give an overview of SD and the candidate, reviewed calling protocol and data collection. Not everyone joined the Zoom call and not everyone stayed on. Most did. Everyone muted themselves while they made calls; some kept their cameras on, some didn’t. An hour in, we all took a break to reconvene, share how it was going, and cheer each other on. We had a brief closing at the end of the phone session. Everyone was instructed to send in their data sheets to the organizer. We kept the chat open for questions and issues.

What worked?

It was much easier to do one review of the protocol rather than explaining it to each person as they arrived, which often happens at in-person events. We were able to fold would-be canvassers in to the phonebanks easily. I felt people enjoyed the opportunity to do something together.

What challenges did you encounter and how did you navigate?

Some people needed help; we had the chat window available and we gave a phone number of an organizer for anything that needed more detailed help.

If you do this again, what would you do differently?

This was a change in plans, done on the fly. It worked well but advance planning always gives the possibility of more participants. Our Phonebank leader for 3/16 suggested using the chat box to share difficult or good calls. She reports people found this encouraging. Also, some concerns about volunteers who might be less technically comfortable.

What suggestions do you have for teams planning and executing similar parties?

Just do it. It works. We are thinking of doing this for postcarding too. One of the things people like is the socializing, so we will try recreating that virtually for at least one scheduled postcard time.

What suggestions do you have for staff in preparing teams to plan/execute similar parties?

Zoom access and training.

Invitation and reminder communications:

INVITE 3/12

Dear Volunteers,

In order to protect the health and safety of our volunteers, their families and our community, Sister District NYC has decided that our Saturday 3-5 pm phonebank will be conducted from individual homes rather than as an in person group.

We ask that you make calls from your home during the scheduled time (3-5 pm on Saturday). If you have not phonebanked before, please read this Phonebank Training Guide. (And always good to review!). Familiarize yourself with our candidate, Harold “Howie” Hayes at his SD guide, expanded issues guide, or website.

Prior to our 3 pm start time I will send you the link to make calls. I and others will be available during the session for any questions or problems.

IMPORTANT: Please keep track of your calls on the attached sheet. You can take a photo of your completed sheet and send it to me via email or text or you can send me a summary of the data. Also, take some Phone Call Selfies and send them if you’re OK with them possibly being used on social media and future announcements.

NOTHING KEEPS SISTER DISTRICT FROM GETTING OUT THE VOTE — NOT EVEN COVID-19!

Stay safe, stay well, wash your hands and we will be in touch soon!

REMINDER 3/13

Hello all —
Here are some more details on tomorrow’s virtual Phone Bank Party!
We will start at 3 pm with a Zoom video conference. We will help you get logged in, give general advice, and let us feel the strength of our community.

To get ready for the virtual get-out-the-vote party:

  1. Go to our Take Action On Your Own page, to find the phonebank link and to print out a tally sheet and a candidate dossier. (if you haven’t already).
  2. Find a comfortable spot, and have your computer and phone ready. Earbuds or headphones for helpful for hands-free dialing.
  3. At 3 pm on Saturday join the video call on your computer. You can stay connected the whole time, or check in periodically.

Note: If you don’t have the Zoom video conferencing app on your computer already, please download it here before the event. Most people should choose the “Zoom Client for Meetings.”

If you have any questions or problems, please contact me by email or text to [Insert number]

REMINDER 3/14

Hi everyone,

I’m sure you’re disappointed not to canvas today but we are having a virtual phonebank from 3-5 and we’d love to have you join in! We will start out with a Zoom meeting at 3 so we can give orientation to anyone not familiar with phone banking and also so we can have a feeling of community even if we’re each in our own homes. Instructions are below. Please let me know if you will join and LMK if you have any questions.