Telephone calls are an essential part of every successful political campaign’s voter contact strategy.
Now there are two ways to call voters: making live calls or using recorded messages delivered through automated services commonly referred to as “robo calls.”
My preference (and that of many many voters) is actually for live calls.
Live calls can be made three ways.
- By the candidate
- By campaign volunteers
- By a professional call center
A voter getting a personal phone call from a candidate is huge.
It is the best type of phone call to make.
Like a personal note, you the candidate doing the calling will go a long way in turning a voter into a supporter.
However, it is difficult if not impossible for a candidate to call thousands of voters during an election.
That’s where volunteers become extremely helpful.
Volunteers can increase the number of voters reached on the phone to push you and your winning message.
Still, it’s not always easy to connect with every voter in your universe.
And a lot of volunteers do not like making cold calls to people who might slam the phone down on them.
To deal with this issue, you can always turn to a professional telephone call center to make your calls to voters.
For over the past decade I’ve used the company RT Burns, Inc. to handle live calls for the campaigns I’ve ran.
Here’s how it works.
I send RT Burns the call script and the voter phone list.
The company cleans the list, splitting out the cell phones and the landlines, makes the calls, and returns the results daily to me for the campaign.
From those results you can identify voters who are supporters, supporters who want yard signs, and voters who remain undecided.
The undecided list can then be turned over to the candidate and volunteers to make follow up persuasion calls.
This has proven to be a highly effective practice.
I contribute many of the victories my candidates have won to these live telephone calls.
For this article, I interviewed Robert Burns, the president of RT Burns, about the benefits of campaigns using live phone calls to reach voters.
Here’s the interview. I hope you will find it informative and useful.
When is it a good option for a campaign to do live telephone calls instead of robo calls?
There are many instances where doing live calls would be a better option than a robo call.
- When you want to be sure you have reached a specific voter and not just someone who answered the telephone.
- This is very important during low turnout elections and for down ballot races.
- When you want to ID voters who support the candidate or the issue.
- When an issue is highly-nuanced.
- When dialing cell phones.
- A live caller can legally dial a cell phone. The FCC prohibits automated dialing to mobile phones and there is a stiff penalty assessed for such violations.
- When you need to collect accurate information from your audience, like when a campaign is surveying voters on issues or identifying supporters.
- When a campaign is doing a Get Out The Vote drive.
What type of message or questions are typically included in a live calls?
With live calls we work to identify voters and their positions.
We speak with a specific voter and we ask them if they support a specific issue or candidate and record the results.
We make calls to get out to vote for a candidate then provide the results to the campaign so they know which supporters they need to get to the polls on Election Day.
We also ask survey questions on issues facing a community and candidate running for office.
This has proven a very effective method for smaller campaigns to get the lay of the land when they cannot afford a traditional poll.
What do you do with the information your phone banks have gathered from the voters they’ve called?
Responses to the calls are sent out daily to our clients for use in their campaigns.
Some candidates believe live phone calls are too expensive. How do you respond to that?
The response rate with live calls for surveys or patches is exponentially higher.
It is the only way you can legally dial cell phones.
Connecting with voters who only use a mobile phone is key for collecting accurate polling data, doing ID calls and GOTV calls.
People also respond more positively to live calls.
There’s a living, breathing person on the phone with them which automatically makes them more personal.
Live calls are also the only way to convey a nuanced message.
Under what circumstances would you use bilingual callers?
It is sometimes wise to use bilingual callers when calling into an area with high Spanish speaking populations
Is this a service you offer?
Yes. Bilingual Spanish speaking reps are readily available through our company.
What do you believe is the greatest benefit of a candidate paying for a live professional telephone calls instead of volunteers make the calls to voters?
The message is delivered by callers who are trained to talk to people on the telephone. The message is more uniform and professionally delivered.
Call centers have sophisticated computer systems to capture the information.
The collected information is very accurate.
We have access to thousands of reps and can do small or large programs very quickly.
Making telephone calls is what we do so we aren’t distracted by other issues.
Thank you for your time and this valuable information you’ve provided today.
It’s my pleasure.
I hope the information I’ve provided is helpful to your readers and their campaigns.
*** End of Interview ***
So let me tell you a bit more about Robert Burns.
Robert Burns has been working with political campaigns since 1992 and has conducted many millions of live and automated calls to voters at the national, statewide and local levels.
Mr. Burns has extensive campaign experience and top notch call centers used for Voter ID, Persuasion and Get Out The Vote calls, as well as benchmark and tracking polls
Robert Burns also has a proven track record of launching political calls on short notice and experience motivating voters to take action
He offers competitive pricing, works only with experienced professionals, and provides accurate reporting and reliable data to his clients.
You can contact Robert Burns by clicking this link.
Now should you contract with RT Burns for live calls, please be aware there is an affiliate relationship with the company.
That means Brian Floyd Enterprises, the company behind The Campaign School, will be paid a commission.
And that’s not a bad thing. Capitalism is good.
Plus the money helps to keep this website and all the valuable free content provided here up and available.