I know that I have already written one article on why everyone should go canvass with a campaign. However, as everyone is also aware, COVID-19 has changed the world vastly and campaigning has not been immune to those changes. Canvassing has lost a lot of support due to the face to face interaction required by it and therefore many campaigns have had to turn to other methods of public outreach. With these wild turn of events and the importance of the 2016 election, I am writing to give 5 reasons why those of you who haven’t phone banked before should do so now.
- Phone Banking is a Great Form of Political Engagement
I know I listed this as one of the reasons for canvassing, however this cannot be understated. Phone banking is a campaign outreach activity just like canvassing. Phone banking is a chance to be able to convert a swing voter, to inform people of an election (I speak from experience sadly with this where many people are clueless about local election dates), to provide another view on political issues, and to inform people of the candidate you’re supporting. I am not saying protesting is useless, but protesting doesn’t elect the right political leadership. Elections do, and phone banking is one way in which to ensure the candidate you want to see elected to enact the change and results you want to see is put into a place where they can do that.
2. Phone Banking is a Safe Form of Political Engagement During COVID
One of the understandably biggest scares and limiting factors for campaign volunteers right now is the risk of infection and spread of COVID. This risk is significantly higher while canvassing with door-to-door knocking and face-to-face interaction. This is the nice part with phone banking. There isn’t any sort of face-to-face interaction. Phone banking can be completed in quarantine from the comfort of your own home. In most cases, meeting with a campaign staffer isn’t even necessary. As a former staffer, I have run plenty of phone banks where I never met the phone bank leaders in person. The risk of infection therefore can be reduced to none and therefore providing a COVID safe campaign engagement activity.
3. Phone Banking can be Done Anywhere
This is a nice perk of phone banking that has expanded the base of volunteers that campaign staffers can draw is that it can be completed from anywhere. While working in Virginia on a rural campaign, I had Washington State volunteers complete phone banks for me. One of my friends ran for a city council and I completed a phone bank for her on the opposite side of the country. Feeling fired up after some controversial news or a nation shaking event, but don’t have a local or state election happening? You can use that energy with any election across the country and help to create change for your party.
4. Phone Banking Allows for You to Reach Out to Exponentially More People
One night in 2016 in the months leading up to the presidential election, a state campaign I was working with had 25 volunteers canvassing. In total those volunteers were able to reach out to roughly 750 voters. Another night with the same number of volunteers while phone banking, we were able to reach out to nearly 18,000 voters. Needless to say that’s a huge difference in numbers. During phone banking you can just go from one number to the next, with no effort. That means more people are reached, and more conversations can happen leading to a larger impact with your time. More voters are informed, and hopefully more minds are changed.
5. Phone Banking is More Accessible
One of the biggest issues with canvassing is that it’s not always accessible for everyone. You are walking long distances or climbing many different flights of stairs. This isn’t an option for many volunteers who still have the fire and passion to do something for a candidate. The beauty of phone banking is that the physical aspect of engaging with voters is removed. I have had many volunteers who had medical issues that made canvassing impossible who instead completed phone banks for me! This isn’t to say that this is a completely accessible campaign activity, but it does allow more people to engage with the campaign and to make a difference.
COVID-19 has changed everything in our lives and certainly elections have not escaped that change. Phone banking is one traditional method of campaigning that is now gaining more traction as a result. Therefore I encourage everyone especially in this pivotal year to go and volunteer with a campaign and to make change through action. I will appreciate it, the campaign staff will appreciate it, the candidate will certainly appreciate it, and most importantly you will appreciate it knowing that you have made your voice heard and that you are making an impact on your community.