Phone banks are an essential component of every campaign. One debate that has continued to present questions for campaigns of all sizes is whether the campaign is better served by hiring a professional telemarketing firm or maintaining an internal phone bank. The best answer is a combination of the two. While some phone operations are better served by hiring outside help (such as polling) and should only be completed by the campaign itself under the strictest supervision and training, every campaign needs to have an in-house phone bank to accomplish vital tasks that are best performed by the campaign:
1. Follow-Up for Direct Mail
Direct mail response rates increase dramatically when accompanied by a follow-up phone call. In-house phone banks can perform the vital task of making follow-up calls for mailed invitations to fundraising events, as well as direct mail solicitations. This on-going operation can be performed by a group of well trained volunteers.
2. Voter ID
When scheduling the candidate’s time, targeting literature drops, and, most importantly, preparing for your get-out-the-vote operations (GOTV), identifying voters committed to voting for your candidate is extremely important. In-house phone banks are well suited for this time-consuming task. Use your phone operation to gather commitments for at least 10% of the votes you will need to win on election day.
After identifying voters committed to your candidate, your campaign must motivate them to vote on election day. As part of your get-out-the-vote efforts, have your in-house phone bank call each of your committed voters early and often, until your poll watchers confirm that every one on your list has made it to the polls.
4. Fundraising Calls
One of the areas where the most debate between professional and in-house phone banks occur is fundraising. If you are running a state-wide campaign, the scope of your fundraising operation is probably too big to effectively use in-house phone banks. For more local campaigns, however, in-house phone banks can provide ample and efficient fundraising ability.
5. Quick Response
Quick and targeted responses to your opponent’s attacks are essential, particularly when those attacks occur in the final days of the campaign. Professional phone operations are simply not well suited for these responses. Your in-house phone bank can get the word out quickly and efficiently, spreading your response or counter-attack. Using an in-house phone bank will provide you with greater flexibility and targeting capabilities.
However You Use Them
No matter how you use your in-house phone banks, it is essential that your volunteers or paid staff be well trained, and kept motivated. Keep the volunteers “in the loop,” and let them know they are appreciated. It is also important to make sure that the operation is well supervised and well planned. By planning in advance and keeping a close eye on the staff and volunteers, you can be sure that your in-house phone bank operates effectively and professionally.