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Volunteer Recruitment By Phone

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“Personally contacting volunteers more than doubled RSVP and attendance rates over sending just emails.” – – Call Your Girlfriend blog post by SDAN

“For 2.5 hours between March 23 and March 26, Organizing Fellow Erika Siao called 40 volunteers in New Jersey. She spoke with 15 people (a 37.5% contact rate), and seven of those (47%), said yes to the primary ask.” – – Phone Recruitment blog post by Neal Morgan, Head of Organizing

“We put together a team of 7 volunteers to make calls. We have found that there are volunteers who want to make an hour or two of calls to invite volunteers to an event every month or so . . . we just needed to ask.” – – Phone Calls Boost Attendance blog post by Taryn Young, SD Sonoma County East

Steps for a successful phone recruitment effort: 

  • Identify a Phone Recruitment Coordinator 
  • Test and publish your event registration link(s)
    1. If you’re using Zoom, make sure you’re prepared for Zoom security. Work with your Organizing Department contact for help on this and follow Zoom Guidance.
    2. Make sure you’re collecting phone numbers so you can text RSVPs day-of to remind. Why? Texting/calling can more than double attendance vs just emailing. 
  • Coordinator to work with Organizing Department contact on script and team spreadsheet
    1. All callers will work from the same script and the same VOL LIST tab in your Team Spreadsheet
    2. The VOL LIST columns’ asks – primary, secondary, tertiary – will map to the script



  • Coordinator to recruit the right number of people to make calls for the right amount of time
    1. Average time to make one of these calls is 2-3mins
  • Coordinator sends follow-up Emails
    1. Suggest send each evening during the phone call effort to follow up YES / MAYBE
    2. This separation of duties is crucial for efficiency – – keep callers just on calls.
  • Coordinator prepares Callers
    1. Suggestion to start making calls at least two weeks out
    2. Share script and spreadsheet link with Callers
    3. Decide the start time and deadline for completing calls
    4. Train Callers on how to use the script and spreadsheet to make callsContact Result column – pull-down menus
      • VM: left a voicemail
      • CONTACT: spoke with person
      • REF: refused (very rare!)
      • WRONG #
      • NOT HOME

      Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary ask columns – pull-down menus

      • YES, NO, MAYBE

      Notes column

      • Indicate any useful intel; suggest next steps; flag question
  • Sample instructions for callers:
    1. Add your name in multiple rows as a block – suggest 10 names at a time – in column H to indicate the people you will call 
    2. We leave messages, follow the VM script
    3. We lead with our primary ask but we also have secondary and tertiary ask if either the primary ask doesn’t land or if the person is eager to do more. It’s a dance; make asks tailored to what you learn.
    4. Make calls! Record the outcomes of your call:
    5. Flag anything urgent to the Coordinator
    6. Let the Coordinator know you’re finished




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