The November 2018 midterm elections are coming up fast. Volunteers from all over Minnesota are already stepping up, fighting back, and getting out the vote—and it’s time to double-down. We’re going to elect lawmakers who care about reproductive rights, access to health care, and civil liberties—and we need your help to do it.
You may have heard that knocking on doors and having face-to-face conversations has a big impact on elections, which is true—but did you know phonebanking is the best way to reach the most people in the shortest time? With early voting already begun and Election Day only weeks away, your calls are more important than ever to make sure voters know how important this election is and reminding them to pink out the polls on November 6.
Here’s everything you need to know about volunteering to phone bank.
1. Although a shift is two hours long, we have a half an hour training and a 15 minute debrief, so you’re only on the phones for about an hour and a half. Plus, we always provide food during training, so no need to worry about dinner! (It’s usually pizza, TBH, but who doesn’t love pizza?)
2. Picking up the phone and talking to hundreds of people can feel daunting to even the most experienced volunteers, but not to worry, we’ll train you, give you a super easy script to follow, and will always have someone there who can jump in if you need help! If you’re new, you’ll have plenty of time to practice with a partner before getting started.
3. We call people who already support Planned Parenthood, so they’re really friendly.
4. We don’t ask for money. We talk to fellow Minnesotans who support Planned Parenthood about what’s at stake in the upcoming election and how to make their voices heard at the polls.
5. We call as a group, with a coordinated start and end time. That means you get to meet other Planned Parenthood supporters—and celebrate your successes or vent about all your frustrations in a like-minded group!
6. If you’re nervous your first time, feel like you need backup, or just want to enlist help to make even more calls—you can bring a friend!
7. We play phonebank bingo and there’s free swag like tee shirts, buttons, and bragging rights if you win.
Still not convinced?
Here are some words of wisdom from experienced volunteers.
Holly's advice for a first time phonebanker:
"I like phonebanking because you're talking to the people who can make a real difference: voters. I'm an introvert and don't really like talking to anyone in general, but because these issues are so important, I want to talk to as many people as I can about them. We need to have these conversations. Period. I understand why it may sound daunting, but the phone calls you have when you can hear it click for someone who not only gets what's at stake but also that their vote matters make it all worth it."
Morgan knows why phonebanking is so important:
I enjoy phone banking because it’s an opportunity to connect with voters and talk about the issues that are so important to Minnesotans. The calls we make can spark a conversation about the importance of voting for candidates who support access to health care and reproductive services. Not every call is an easy one or may not result in a pledge to vote, but I know each contact I make with a voter is important and helps make an impact in encouraging people to vote and get involved in the conversation about who we elect to make important decisions about health care. I enjoy being in the company of other activists who are doing the work together to ensure Planned Parenthood’s doors remain open so they can continue providing the services and education that reaches tens of thousands of Minnesotans each year. I also appreciate the excellent training that the Planned Parenthood Action Fund provides to ensure you feel comfortable before making calls. With phone banking, you may be a voice on the other end of the line, but it’s these conversations we have that resonate and may make the difference in getting someone to the polls to vote for champions of reproductive health care."
Jayne's favorite things about phonebanking:
"1. Phonebank Pizza always adds to my happiness level.
2. It’s a great way to get to know people! You basically are chilling with a bunch of other volunteers, listening in on each other’s conversations and commiserating.
3. Volume: you can reach so many people in an hour!
4. I am an indoor cat, and it’s much more cozy to stay inside, eat snacks, and talk on the phone.
5. I was intimidated by canvassing when I started volunteering with Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and phonebanks were the perfect training ground. I learned to be comfortable with the script and making a strong ask of someone, and I didn’t have to worry about someone shutting the door in my face."
Ready to get started?
Sign up to volunteer for an upcoming phone bank or canvass!