How to Run an Effective Phonebank Campaign: A Step-by-Step Guide

This comprehensive guide takes you through every step of running an effective phonebank campaign - from setting clear objectives to analyzing phonebank results for insights. Before we dive into the nuts and bolts, let's cover the fundamentals.

What is Phonebanking?

A phonebank is a coordinated calling effort utilized by political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofit organizations to directly reach out to a large number of contacts over the phone. It typically involves volunteers or staff making calls from a centralized virtual call center powered by tools like Solidarity Tech's Voice platform.

The primary goals of phonebanking include voter outreach and education, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and getting out the vote (GOTV) efforts. Phonebanks enable campaigns to have live, personal conversations at scale with their target audiences.

During a phonebank, callers follow customizable scripts tailored to the specific campaign objectives. Solidarity Tech's intuitive script management tools make it easy to create, test, and deploy effective calling scripts across your team.

Call data like responses, dispositions, and actions are automatically tracked and integrated into Solidarity Tech's unified database. This provides a comprehensive view of your phonebanking performance to optimize strategies.

1. Defining Your Phonebank Goals and Objectives

The first step in organizing an effective phonebank is to clearly define your goals and objectives. Are you inviting supporters to an exclusive event? Are you mobilizing for a public action or rally? Or are you aiming to build deeper relationships with your base?

Solidarity Tech's phonebanking software offers three distinct types to match your specific needs:

  1. One-to-One Phonebank: Use this when you need specific team members to call specific targets, ideal for events requiring RSVPs or yes/no responses.
  2. Power Dialer Phonebank: This option enables team members to efficiently call through large lists of supporters simultaneously.
  3. Predictive Dialer Phonebank: Utilizing algorithms, this type minimizes idle time between calls, boosting productivity and morale.

Screenshot of Solidarity Tech's 'Create a Phonebank' interface with options for phonebank title, event association, contact and dialer strategy.

2. Planning and Preparation

Once your goals are set, it's time to plan and prepare for your phonebank campaign:

Creating the Phonebank and Targeting Contacts

Within Solidarity Tech, you'll create your phonebank from the dashboard by defining the start/end times and assigning team members. You can also segment your contact lists based on criteria like location, language preference, or previous engagement levels. The unified CRM software allows you to target based on any interactions taken by your supporters - be it targeting supporters who signed a petition or who RSVP'd to a previous meeting.

Dashboard view of Solidarity Tech showing targeted people filtering options with rules for adding contacts.

Developing Effective Scripts

Crafting an effective phonebanking script is crucial. Solidarity Tech allows you to draft multi-language scripts tailored to your specific goals, whether that's event invitations, assessing commitment levels, or relationship building.

Editing window of a phonebank script in Solidarity Tech with customizable merge tags for personalization.

Preparing Text Templates for Follow-Ups

In addition to call scripts, you'll want to prepare text message templates for volunteers to easily follow-up with supporters after calls. Solidarity Tech allows you to create editable text templates specific to each phonebank so volunteers can send consistent, on-brand messaging.

Interface for creating an event text template in Solidarity Tech with fields for English and merge tags.

Setting Operating Hours and Attempt Goals

To ensure compliance, you can set operating hours to limit call times. For large contact lists, you can also configure call/text attempt goals so volunteers know when they've completed their assignments.To comply with legal standards during your phonebank operations, ensure your calling times adhere to FCC rules. For a straightforward overview of these guidelines, check out the FCC's telemarketing rules.

Configuring the Predictive Dialer (Optional)

If using a predictive dialer phonebank, there are additional automation options to maximize efficiency:

Voicemail Drop

You can pre-record a voicemail message that will automatically be left on supporters' voicemail if they don't answer the call.

Auto-Text Follow-Up

Draft a customized text message template that will automatically be sent as a follow-up to supporters who missed your call attempt.

Adjust Predictive Calling Threshold

Predictive dialers work by making multiple calls simultaneously for each available agent to reduce idle time. You can customize the minimum number of agents (default is 3) that must be actively calling before the predictive capabilities engage.

Configuration screen for predictive dialer settings showing acceptable abandonment rate, minimum callers before predictive dialing, and options for handling abandoned calls.

By leveraging these predictive dialer configurations, you can run a highly optimized outreach campaign that leaves no supporter uncontacted while keeping your agents productive.

3. Recruiting and Training Volunteers

Engaging volunteers is essential, as phonebanking allows them to have meaningful conversations that secure commitments and drive attendance. To recruit volunteers:

  1. Highlight the Impact: Clearly explain why volunteering is so important and how they'll contribute to your goals.
  2. Make a Direct Ask: Send texts or calls specifically inviting potential volunteers and explaining what's required.
  3. Create an Event Page: Set up an event page on Solidarity Tech for volunteers to easily RSVP and receive reminders.
  4. Confirm Volunteers: Before your phonebank, confirm your volunteer list.

Comprehensive Volunteer Training

Once you've recruited volunteers, providing thorough training is crucial for ensuring an effective phonebank. Follow these steps:

  1. App Setup: First, ensure all volunteers have the Solidarity Tech mobile app installed on their phones and are familiar with accessing the "Workflows" tab.
  2. Script Review: Next, review the phonebank script(s) together as a group. Discuss the goals, key talking points, and potential objections.
  3. Role Playing: Role playing allows volunteers to practice having natural conversations. Split into pairs and take turns playing the caller and supporter roles.
  4. Lead by Example: It's motivating for volunteers when the organizer phonebanks alongside them, demonstrating their commitment to the shared goal. The organizer can make it clear they'll be available for questions while also making calls.

By providing comprehensive training that covers the app, scripts, role-playing, and leading by example, you'll ensure your volunteers are fully prepared and comfortable with phonebanking effectively.

Adding Volunteers to Your Team

Before supporters can access the phonebank as a calling agent, you'll need to add them to your Solidarity Tech team. This will give them the required permissions, and also trigger an automated text message where they can complete their account setup and download the mobile app, ensuring they're ready for training and dialing contacts. You'll typically want to onboard new volunteers before the training itself.

What is phonebanking without a team? Add and list of team members in your phonebank displaying names and call statistics

Gathering RSVPs: Training Team Members

When training your volunteers on gathering RSVPs, it's important to stress the importance of accuracy and clarity. Volunteers should be aware that contacts can be marked as Yes, No, or Maybe. While these seem straightforward, there are nuances to consider to ensure your team captures the most accurate data.

  • The Meaning of "Maybe": Almost always, a "Maybe" is effectively a "No." However, this option is available to prevent mislabeling and potential data dilution. If there's any doubt about a contact's commitment, volunteers should mark them as "Maybe" rather than risk labeling them as "Yes."

  • Ensuring a "Firm Yes": A "Yes" should always indicate a firm commitment. For example, if someone asks, "What's the address?" that doesn't automatically mean they're a confirmed "Yes." Volunteers should follow up with a clear question like, "Can we count on you being there Tuesday at 2 PM?" Only mark a contact as "Yes" when there's a clear and confident response.

  • Automations Based on RSVP Status: If your event automations are configured to send emails or calendar invites, both "Yes" and "Maybe" contacts will receive these notifications. It's crucial to keep this in mind to avoid confusion and ensure attendees are clear on event details.

Training volunteers to correctly assess and record RSVPs ensures your phonebanking data remains reliable and consistent. By encouraging clear communication and providing guidelines for making these distinctions, you can streamline your process and improve event attendance.

4. Executing the Phonebank

With planning and preparation complete, it's time to execute your live phonebank session:

Making Phonebank Calls

Volunteers will make calls by accessing their assigned phonebank through the "Workflows" tab in the Solidarity Tech mobile app.

  • For power dialer and predictive dialer phonebanks, they simply tap "Start Next Call" to be connected with the next supporter.
  • For one-to-one phonebanks, they are taken to their updated call list after each call, with the next suggested contact at the top.

All phonebanking activities can be performed directly through the Solidarity Tech mobile app alone, without needing a computer. Volunteers can make calls, update dispositions, and send follow-up texts entirely from their mobile device.

The calls will all come from the non-profit organization's Solidarity Tech local phone number, protecting the privacy of your calling agents using the platform. The app will also automatically re-queue any missed calls to the top of the list for another attempt.

Mobile app screenshot displaying a 'To Do' task for phonebank with a 'Begin Making Calls' button

Using the Predictive Dialer

A predictive dialer automates phone calls to increase efficiency by connecting volunteers to live contacts, skipping ringing, voicemails and busy signals. It's a critical tool for reducing downtime and maximizing productivity in your phonebank.

To use the predictive dialer in Solidarity Tech, first select the appropriate workflow to enter the dialer screen. Then, either trigger a call to your phone and answer it, or call the linked number on the dialer screen. Once connected, stay on the line to hear call audio. You'll be in a waiting queue with background music until a contact picks up. As soon as they do, start talking—they've already said "Hello." This method ensures a seamless connection and allows you to reach more people in less time.

Sending Follow-Up Texts

After making each phonebank call, volunteers can easily send a follow-up text to that same supporter utilizing the pre-approved text message templates you created specific to this phonebank campaign.

Regrouping and Re-energizing

For extended phonebanking sessions, it's a good practice to regroup volunteers after every 2-3 hours. This allows for a quick debrief, sharing wins/challenges, re-energizing with snacks/water, and a motivational message before getting back on the phones.


5. Observing and Managing the Live Phonebank

During the live phonebank session, organizers can actively observe progress and provide coaching to volunteers through Solidarity Tech's monitoring capabilities:

Call Activity Monitoring

Through the dashboard view, you can see all live call activity as volunteers are making phonebank calls, including:

  • Call details (supporter name, number dialed, etc.)
  • Call duration
  • Any notes/dispositions logged by the volunteer

It's important to monitor call durations - shorter calls may indicate volunteers are not having substantive conversations to secure commitments or build relationships effectively.

Overview of call inbox in Solidarity Tech displaying contact names, team members, and call durations.

AI-Powered Call Insights

If you have Call AI enabled, you'll also see AI-generated summaries and engagement analysis for each completed call, providing deeper insights.

Snapshot of an AI-generated call insight indicating a high level of engagement in a phone conversation.

Providing Coaching

Based on your observations from the monitoring data, you can provide coaching to volunteers in two ways:

  1. Virtual Coaching: For online/remote phonebanks, use video conferencing to coach volunteers in between their calls based on the data you're seeing in the dashboard.
  2. In-Person Coaching: For on-site phonebanks where volunteers are together, you can position yourself to overhear live conversations and provide in-the-moment coaching while calls are happening.

Whether virtual or in-person, coaching allows you to address any issues, reinforce best practices, and continually improve performance throughout your phonebank session.

For example, if volunteers are marking contacts as RSVP'd despite having only 1 minute conversations with them, it's advised for the organizer hosting the phonebank to call the volunteer directly and review the protocol for collecting a firm Yes RSVP. It's extremely rare for someone to be able to introduce themselves, explain the context of the call, and receive a firm committment within 1 minute. So signals like these are tips to the organizer to step in and provide additional one-on-one coaching.

By leveraging the monitoring capabilities along with timely coaching, you ensure volunteers are making productive calls and can provide guidance to improve results.

Live dashboard in Solidarity Tech showing real-time phonebank statistics including calls made and team members' activity.

6. Measuring Success and Optimizing

After your phonebank session, it's crucial to measure your success and identify areas for optimization. Solidarity Tech provides detailed metrics and reporting on both the phonebank and the event pages, allowing you to track:

  • Total calls made
  • Time spent on the phone
  • Top-performing volunteers
  • Commitments or RSVPs captured

Detailed statistics for phonebank team members in Solidarity Tech, showing connected calls and session times.

By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions about tactics, volunteer management, and strategies to improve your next phonebank's effectiveness in increasing event attendance and mobilizing your base of supporters.

Whether you're organizing for an upcoming rally, recruiting grassroots activists, or securing RSVPs for a high-stakes event, running an effective phonebank campaign is a powerful way to drive meaningful action. With Solidarity Tech's robust phonebanking capabilities and this comprehensive guide, you'll be equipped to execute successful phonebanks that achieve your goals.