There's no shortage of ways to reach voters swiftly in the months leading up to an election. Email, text, social media, and phone calls allow campaigns to canvass and educate voters directly at home. It’s best to use a combination of all of these communication methods for maximum engagement, but each varies in time, effort, and cost spent. 

Campaign teams can decide which channels are best for them by understanding the pros and cons of each method. Weigh the benefits of political phone banking here:

Pro: Phone calls allow voters to hear a human voice. 

Emails, texts, and social media have changed the way people receive communication by allowing anyone with a mobile phone to access information quickly. In fact, over 95% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of sending, so campaigns can trust that their message is being received. 

However, phone calls provide a level of personal connection that text messages and emails lack. Hearing a human voice can be a warmer experience for undecided or low-propensity voters than receiving a text or email. In fact, phone calls can be especially useful for deep canvassing efforts — the process of engaging in honest and human connections to engage with voters and shift perspectives. Therefore, campaigns focused on persuasion can benefit most from political phone banking. 

Con: Answer rates can be low.

Most Americans are unlikely to answer a call from an unknown number. Many phone carriers also have an automatic spam filter that flags robocalls and other calls likely to be untrustworthy. Not to mention — voters aren’t always readily available to pick up a call. 

At the same time, connecting to more voters per hour is easier than ever. Most campaigns use predictive dialing software tools for their political phone banks. This convenient tech streamlines the process of phone banking by automatically placing calls and only connecting callers when the line is active. In other words, it allows volunteers to only engage when there's a person on the other end. Volunteers spend more time talking to voters and less time manually dialing numbers or listening to a dial tone. 

Pro: Phone banking only requires a single interaction.

A voter can ask all the questions they have during one phone call. By contrast, an email or text message may require some back-and-forth communication if a voter has multiple questions. If a voter is especially curious about a candidate and their stance on critical issues, it’s best to use political phone banking to hold a quality conversation.

Political phone banking also comes in handy when campaigns reach out to voters without the capacity to communicate properly via email or text threads. For example, limited ability to pay for SMS or MMS messages and low access to wifi or data plans can limit a voter's ability to text or email a campaign with questions. Phone calls can be more reliable in these situations. 

Con: There’s no written content to reference if voters need information. 

The benefit of sending an email, text, or post is that voters can access and re-read the content whenever they need. Unfortunately, phone calls don’t provide the same benefit. 

One solution that many campaigns use is sending a follow-up text message to the voter after a phone call. Unless the call patches through to a landline (in which case, a follow-up email also works), campaigns will already have the voter’s cell phone number that can receive text messages. This is an ideal solution for campaigns that want to send texts with more information about the nearest polling place, ways to request a mail-in ballot, and other vital voting materials after a phone call. 

The Bottom Line: Political Phone Banking Is Here To Stay

Political phone banking still remains a popular method of outreach by campaigns. As essential as digital communication is, phone banking provides qualities that aren't easily replaced by texts or emails. 

Impactive’s Phone Banking tool provides the easiest way to reach voters by phone. Campaigns can even pair this predictive dialer with Peer-to-Peer Texting and Friends and Family Messaging to expand outreach to text, email, and social media, all in one platform. Use these tools together to power swift and effective communication to voters and supporters! 

Feb 28, 2022
Tools & Tech