CiviCampaign: Phonebanking

Doing online phonebanks with CiviCRM is fairly easy. This will allow you to check voters out to a volunteer and they can they do the phone calls from any location where they have internet access.

First you have to set up your campaign in CiviCRM.

Go to Campaigns » New Campaign

Fill out the page. Since the phone bank could be financial in nature - such as calling people for membership pledges - you can even put in a goal dollar amount to be raised.

Once the page is filled out, submit the page.

Go to Campaigns » New Survey

Input the details for this survey (what your volunteers will be asking on the phone). Be certain to set up result options for your volunteer so they can mark down the results of the phone calls, such as:

Will you support John Doe for County Commissioner?
1 - supports John Doe
2 - leaning towards John Doe
3 - undecided
4 - leaning towards other candidate
5 - supports other candidate

Then all the volunteer has to do is check one of those options and the campaign can quickly pull a report to see the results of the phone bank.

I also tend to create a custom field and custom profile (Administer  » Customize  » Custom Data  and  Administer  » Customize  » CiviCRM Profile) so that I have a key to show whether the person was reachable. It looks something like this (set up as radio buttons):

Results Key:
NA: Busy/NA/Not at home
WN: wrong number
DX: disconnected
HO: hostile
LM: left a message
LG: language other than English
RF: refused
DC: deceased

Be certain to list all of these keys in the instructions area as well as any script you want your volunteers to use. There is a current glitch in CiviCRM 4.0.1 where this field does not show as a html field. You may need a patch done to the software to turn this into a html-ready field. If you are on our server, we have already located and fixed this glitch.

Then set how many voters a person can check out at a time and when they will automatically be released back to the available pool of voters. This helps to keep voters from not being contacted because the volunteer never got around to it. It also keeps a volunteer from being able to check out the entire database of voters all at once.

Note: the automated release of voters takes a few advanced steps to set up a script that runs periodically.

Once you are finished filling in the details, submit the page.

The phonebank is now ready for use.

Volunteers will need an account on your site in order to be able to log in and access their voters. It is probably easiest if you have voters already assigned to volunteers unless you give them clear instructions on how to pull the correct database list to contact.

Reserving voters

To reserve voters for a volunteer, go to Campaigns » Reserve Respondents

You can now choose which script, interviewer, subset of your database, etc. This will assign those voters to the volunteer (or to yourself). I recommend that whenever you import/add records to your database that will be contacted via this system, assign them to a group up-front. For instance, I may import 3000 records for voters in my area. When I import them, I tell CiviCRM to add them to a group called "voters". Now I know that these records should be contacted by the campaign.

Now all you have to do is choose the group "voters" on the "reserve respondents" page and you'll narrow down the contacts available for phone calls.

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