Why use the telephone?
Successful campaigners are using the phone more and more for one very good reason: because it works.It’s quick
Using the phone to contact people is quicker than contacting them on the doorstep. Using the phone you would expect to make 30 calls an hour (including outs). On the doorstep you would expect to knock on 20 doors per hour. Over an election campaign this difference adds up. The phone is used more and more by campaigners on polling day to knock up our supporters simply because it is quicker than doing the same thing on the doorstep.It’s easy
In rural wards you should use the telephone to complement your Voter ID on the doorstep. It allows you to get to the really inaccessible parts of a rural constituency. In urban areas you can use it for those flats with entry-phones.
Voter ID tip: Use the phone to contact people who were out from the previous nights doorstep canvassing, rather than going back down the same street again.It’s comfortable
Forget wind, rain or even snow, you can contact voters from your own front room using the phone! The winter by-election suddenly becomes winnable and your campaign team may feel safer using the phone. And you can’t get bitten by a dog on the phone!

It’s cheap
The cost of phone calls is coming down all the time. The various packages offered by phone companies are changing all the time. These days most offer some sort of free local calls in the evenings or weekends (check with your phone company for details). There will probably come a time when local calls are free all the time.You can do it all-year-round
Using the phone can keep your Voter ID operation going all-year round, especially over the winter months. You can do residents’ surveys over the phone, recruit new members and keep your members in touch with the latest information.It gets more people involved
Using the telephone makes activists out of members who cannot join in the doorstep Voter ID campaign. These include the housebound, elderly and people who live outside your ward or constituency.It is easier to target
Using the phone for Voter ID allows you to target different groups of people.  These will not always be geographically co-terminus and would be hard, if not impossible to canvass on foot.  Here are some examples:

  • Contacting the ‘outs’ from the previous nights doorstep canvassing
  • Phoning our supporters who are elderly to offer them Postal Votes or lifts
  • Telephoning people in particular wards, or streets to ask them about local issues
  • Recruiting new deliverers and/or members
  • Inviting local members and strong supporters to an adoption meeting or rally
  • Having a telephone tree in a local party to pass information on rapidly to those who do not have e-mail.
  • Phoning supporters on main roads to increase the number of stakeboards or garden posters or supporters elsewhere to increase poster sites.  This can be done well in advance of the election.
  • Converting supporters of the third party in the election race to vote for you because they can’t win
  • Phone our definites & probables on polling day to get them out to vote

The telephone is a vital tool for the campaigner and should be used in conjunction with tried and tested techniques. Today e-mail and texting has superseded the phone as the preferred method of contacting other members of the campaign team. In the past all knocking-up on polling day was done on foot – a time consuming and weary job.
The telephone fits neatly into your campaign and should be used where it makes the job easier to complete. If it didn’t already exist, someone at ALDC would probably have invented it by now!
You can start with as little as one person
Although you will have more impact the larger a phone canvassing operation you have, you can run a useful and effective phone canvassing operation with just one person.  30 phone calls made twice a week over a few months quickly adds up to contacts with a substantial number of electors and can make a real difference to your campaign.  If you find one person who will enthusiastically do some phone canvassing they will often act as an advocate and encourage others to do likewise – increasing and expanding your pool of canvassers.

A standard phone script  – PDF format

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