May 1, 2024

How Predictive Dialing Improves Political Phone Banking

How Predictive Dialing Improves Political Phone Banking

Many candidates use political dialing campaigns, also known as phone banking, to reach out to their constituents. Setting up a successful political phone banking campaign requires much more than just signing up campaign volunteers to make the calls. You have to choose the right calling tools and ensure your campaign abides by federal and state regulations, too.

Using a predictive dialing tool can help improve your political dialing campaign.

What Is Political Phone Banking?

Political phone banking describes the action of calling historic and potential voters on the telephone. Phone canvassers use the conversation to communicate with the constituent about a certain candidate.

This type of voter outreach typically involves campaign volunteers making the phone calls under the direction of a campaign manager. The volunteers may follow a script or might use their own judgment when speaking with constituents to achieve the following goals:

  • Discover supporters
  • Inform constituents of upcoming events
  • Ask supporters for donations for the campaign
  • Encourage supporters to vote on election day

It’s at this grassroots level that political campaign volunteers make the most difference. Each day, just one volunteer may speak to hundreds of voters. Political candidates and organizations depend on volunteers to help spread a candidate’s message.

Phone canvassers are particularly helpful for “get out the vote” (GOTV) activities. Volunteers can even help the candidate or political organization obtain more volunteers.

Phone banks are effective at reaching vast swaths of the voting populace. Phone banks are typically used in conjunction with other types of voter outreach, such as door-to-door canvassing to distribute campaign materials.

Types of Political Phone Canvassing

It takes a lot more than signing up some volunteers to orchestrate a successful phone banking operation. For example, campaign staff:

  1. Obtain voter logs from the city or state government
  2. Review and segment voters into targeted lists
  3. Further segment voter lists into precincts or voter areas
  4. Coordinate a campaign kickoff to introduce the candidate or cause
  5. Recruit volunteers at the kickoff party
  6. Separate volunteers into door-to-door and phone bank canvassing groups
  7. Provide door-to-door canvassers with voter lists in blocked, neighborhood grids
  8. Provide each phone canvasser with a set of voter phone numbers (canvassers get different pages from the master list so voters don’t receive repeat calls)

And that’s just to get up and running!

For phone canvassing, specifically, there are three types: telephone canvassing, text canvassing, and phone banking.

Telephone canvassing

Members of the campaign, such as the candidate, the campaign manager, or even locally known celebrities, call voters from the list and engage in deeper discussions about the candidate’s policies and ideas.

Text canvassing

Also known as canvassing via SMS, texts are a voter outreach method to keep voters who have opted in to receive your messaging via text updated on campaign business. While text is a popular communication method, it doesn’t necessarily equate to greater engagement.

Phone banking

Phone banking is phone canvassing, but it’s different in that it’s typically not members of the campaign doing the calling but rather campaign volunteers. The volunteers have a script to follow, either on a computer screen with various drop-down menus or screens to toggle through depending on responses received from the voter.

In some campaigns, volunteers dial every call. However, larger campaigns may outsource phone banking to an outbound call center or keep calls in-house but with a predictive dialer system.

How Predictive Dialing Helps Political Campaigns

Choosing the right dialing solution can significantly improve your political dialing campaign. Using a predictive dialer or calling solution provides various benefits for your outbound campaign.

What is a predictive dialer?

A predictive dialer is a telephone system that automatically dials each number on a list so the agent or campaign volunteer doesn’t have to. Once a called party hangs up, the caller hears a brief tone that signals the beginning of the next call.

Predictive dialing tools use algorithms to place calls in the most appropriate fashion. For example, presidential campaigns are nationwide, and the most widely accepted cut-off time for calling residential phone numbers is 8:00 pm. If the candidate’s campaign office is on the West Coast, a predictive dialer can ensure phone bankers don’t call people on the East Coast after 5:00 pm Pacific Time (8:00 pm Eastern Time).

Predictive dialing solutions:

  • Are more efficient
  • Provide higher contact rates
  • Offer enhanced targeting
  • Improve data management efforts
  • Allow real-time analytics

But how?

How does a predictive dialer work?

A predictive dialer works in conjunction with a software program on a computer system. Once the dialer calls out, the program presents the agent or volunteer with a set of screens they can toggle through. The fact that the process is simplified helps volunteers learn how to operate in the system quickly.

The process is the following:

  1. Import voter data, such as name, telephone number, precinct, time zone (if applicable).
  2. Set the call parameters, such as the number of phone calls each volunteer should make per shift, and the start and end times for each shift.
  3. Predictive dialing, wherein the dialer places the call and, when the call connects, forwards the call to the volunteer.
  4. The volunteer speaks with the voter and can easily pull up their information and record any responses given by the voter directly into the system.
  5. After disconnecting, the volunteer can also make quick notes while waiting for the next call.

Overall, using a predictive dialer is a more effective way for political campaigns to reach voters by phone. However, understanding political dialing regulations is important for both the volunteer and the campaign overall.

Political Dialing Regulations

Following proper dialing regulations is the first and most essential step for political dialing campaigns. These may vary from state to state, meaning your campaign headquarters (if calling from headquarters) or outbound call center (if hiring a call center) must know each state’s laws when dialing constituents nationwide.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lays the groundwork for dialing regulations as they pertain to political campaigns. Interestingly, the rules of the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry don’t apply to political campaigns. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the prevailing regulation.

While the rules of the DNC list generally don’t apply, there are some important political dialing regulations to keep in mind:

  • Autodialed calls with prerecorded messages are allowed to landline phone numbers.
  • No live voice, autodialed, or prerecorded message calls are allowed to mobile devices unless you have the voter’s express permission.
  • No text messages can be sent to voters without their express permission unless the text message is typed out and sent by you (no autodialing or robotexts are allowed).
  • For compliant calls with the TCPA, volunteers must state their name, the name of the candidate, and the reason for the call at the beginning of all outgoing calls (live voice or prerecorded) and when leaving any messages. Then, either at some point during the call or at the end, the volunteer must state the phone number for the campaign headquarters.

It’s important to understand your responsibilities under TCPA and DNC. Fines for violations can be as high as $500 for negligence and as much as $1500 for willful violations — per violation!

CallTools Predictive Dialing Solutions

Don’t sink your political ship. When you partner with CallTools for outbound, you get:

  • Predictive dialing with an efficient algorithm you set to power through your voter list.
  • Create filters in the moment through rule-based segmentation, such as placing no answers or voters requesting to be removed from your list in appropriate call buckets.
  • Political scripts to keep your volunteers “on message.”
  • Call suppression parameters to ensure you don’t call anyone on the DNC, call or text any mobile devices, and more.

Contact us to see how we can support your phone bank volunteers and help you dial your way to victory.

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