Phonebank Guide

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Phonebank Basics


As a phone banker, you will help the campaign identify supporters as well as target undecided voters. You are the first voice many voters hear from the Sanders campaign!

⦁ Phonebanking is surprisingly easy. It takes a few minutes to set up. A typical call is about one minute. You do not need to convince people on the phone, share your number, or leave your home.

⦁ Voter ID, the most common form of phonebank, is all about directing the campaign’s resources. You gather valuable data so canvassers know where to focus their attention. The information we collect goes into a database to help the campaign locate new volunteers, supporters, and undecided voters.  Persuasion is secondary and completely optional.  Every call – even if the number is wrong or they are a Clinton supporter – is extremely helpful.

⦁ Click to learn more at these links: Basic | 5 Call Challenge | Toolkit | FAQ | International | Tips

Can we count on you to phone from home?  has tutorials, video, and a step by step guide.

Or would you rather join a group phonebank event in your area at

5 Call Challenge


If you think you do not have time to phonebank, the convenience may surprise you. You can make 5 calls in a few minutes.

Bernie doesn’t ask for big donations from a few people. He asks everybody to give a few dollars here and there– and he outraised Hillary!  I know it feels ineffective only making 5 or 10 calls, but this campaign has NEVER been about individual effort. It is about collective effort. Flex the muscle of our numbers. Make 5 calls.



Community – Slack is a chat client. Recommended, to get help from the experts
Call team slack registration form
Direct slack link

Scripts – There are scripts for each state but this is a good general example
Kate’s quickie script

Responses – Correctly categorize calls. Helps prevent repeat calls.
When you get a wrong number but are offered the correct one, need to update a callee from supporter to volunteer after you’ve closed their LiveVox page, etc., please send that info to Thank you!

Gamification – Optional, but sharing your statistics can raise morale for others
BerniePB Call Tracker
BERNIEPB Instructions
Phonebank Duel

Vote Locations – Useful to inform the voter. You should have one open while you call.

Volunteer To Volunteer – Inform volunteers about local events and group phonebanks. This is a whole other system than the voter identification calls.
Ground Control

Alternatives to a phone
Google Hangouts

Information – Useful if the voter has questions or you decide to try persuasion, which is not required

Video – If you want to see calls in video



Call Team Bernie Guide & FAQ – This is an excellent FAQ.

Other questions:

Q: Which one is the priority, Volunteer calls or Voter ID?

A: All types of calls are important for different reasons. The Bernie supporters we reach on volunteer calls are generally ecstatic to get a call from a campaign volunteer and it’s pretty easy to get them RSVP’d to a nearby event, or at least encourage them to bookmark the big map and check it often. Voter ID calls help us find new supporters (and potentially volunteers). Depends on schedule.

Q: What the heck is a “clicker”? Does Bernie need more clickers?

A: Clickers are the people telling the system what numbers to dial. It’s necessary to have a human being “dialing” the numbers in order to comply with FEC and FCC regulations for political campaigns. The clicker team did a great job recruiting so it mostly seems like there are enough clickers and not enough callers. Calling will always be more important than clicking. But even if you don’t end up “clicking”, it’s still a great idea to get training on everything you can so that you better understand the system.

Q: How exactly does the Bernie Dialer work? How does it call multiple people so you “always have someone ready to talk to”? How does it prevent people (those you’re calling) from being placed in a waiting queue while you’re finishing up with a previous call?

A: This is the balance between callers and clickers (or monitors). There are gauges that display for the clickers that show when wait times are out of sync with the amount of volunteers who are calling. The clickers then simply click more or less numbers in order to even out the flow. In practice, a good stasis point is reached pretty easily where voters aren’t waiting at all, and callers are waiting approximately 15 seconds between calls.

Q: What does a typical “early states” Voter ID call sound like?

A: This is a useful demonstration. Hint: persuasion is voluntary!

Q: What else does calling voters do for the campaign?

A: To help explain, here’s a video from the same group as above.

Q: I’m too young to vote. Can I still make calls?

A: Absolutely! Thank you so much for volunteering when you can’t even vote!! Extra credit: Get with your government or civics teacher and set up a voter registration drive for your senior class! Many states allow 17-year olds to vote in the primary or caucus if they will turn 18 before the general election.

Q: Is it legal for non-Americans to phonebank?

A: Yes it is. Donating is illegal. Phonebanking is not.

Q: My calls aren’t showing up on Phonebank Duel or the reddit tracker, I have BerniePB installed?

A: Both Phonebank Duel and the subreddit tracker have to be updated manually by yourself but thankfully you have BerniePB installed so you know exactly how many calls you made today.

Q: When I’m trying to convince undecided voters in phonebanking, should I stick to the script? I have many things I want to say.

A: No, you really shouldn’t. You should follow the script to the point that you get in what they want you to get in (ex: voting dates, ask the questions that they want you to ask, etc.), but when you talk about why you support Sanders, make it personal. You can’t make it personal if you’re reading from a script. The script is there to help you if you get nervous (which everyone does) and to make sure you hit the important notes. Otherwise, speak from the heart. A smart way to start is by asking the voter what issues are important.

Q: Do these calls work?

A: Yes. They are backed by research and results from the Obama campaign. Correlation is not causation, but Bernie generally overperforms his polls in the majority of states. He has won most of the states in which we reached a goal:

Primary/Caucus Calls Made Calls Needed Percentage Winner
FL 43,225 113,949 37.9% Clinton
MS 1,621 28,270 5.7% Clinton
NC 28,217 102,931 27.4% Clinton
IL 52,220 187,263 27.9% Clinton
MI 19,815 55,227 35.9% Sanders
MO 31,609 75,787 41.7% Clinton
OH 55,364 216,299 25.6% Clinton
AZ 40,560 38,770 104.6% Clinton
ID 26,620 1,806 1474% Sanders
UT 28,992 11,181 259.3% Sanders
WA 35,829 2,742 1306.7% Sanders
AK 6,354 810 784.4% Sanders
HI 10,798 3,420 315.7% Sanders
WI 125,171 110,574 113.2% Sanders



Phone Banking for International Supporters

There is a great image that summarizes how to phone internationally. International Guide Image If you would like a little more explanation, read on. Thank you for your help!

International calling is quite similar to the domestic process. After login you will see a phone number pop up and your unique request code. Now login to your Google account. If you haven’t got one, create an account here. At the bottom left hand side you will see a telephone icon. Click this icon and make sure the flag is set to the US, then type in the phone number which appeared on LiveVox. After the call has been put through you need to type in your unique key followed by #. You are now logged in and ready to get political. Once you’re logged in you will be brought to a screen that says are you ready? When you click on ready you will be marked as active and a call will soon come through. Once you receive a call that voters info will pop up.

Q: How much will this cost?
A: We’ll be using Google Hangouts to call for free! In most countries this is free. If you login to Google Hangouts and you do not see a phone icon then calling is not free. Most Western, Asian and South American countries are free though.

Q: Is it legal for me to Phonebank if I don’t live in America?
A: Yes. International political donation is illegal, but volunteer work is not.

Q: What if I don’t want to make a Gmail account?
A: You can always use your phone if you reside in the US, but it will cost you. Alternatively you can watch this guide I made for Skype, but again, after the trial runs out, it will cost you.

Q: How do I translate these times?
Eastern: GMT-5. For GMT+0 a 10am – 9pm schedule is 3pm – 2am.
Central: GMT-6. For GMT+0 a 10am – 9pm schedule is 4pm – 3am.
Mountain: GMT-7. For GMT+0 a 10am – 9pm schedule is 5pm – 4am.
Pacific: GMT-8. For GMT+0 a 10am – 9pm schedule is 6pm – 5am.
Note that if you do not have savings time you must adjust these times by 1 hour.

Q: Will people dislike me calling them if I am not American?
A: Actually it is not part of the conversation. All you do is identify voters and sometimes elaborate on which issues they find important. Most calls don’t last very long.

Q: I’ve got an accent.
A: Americans interact with Americans from all kind of backgrounds every day. Accents are very common. It is important that you feel comfortable speaking English and that you are able to converse pretty well. If you have trouble with English or have a particularly thick accent consider trying out Gound Control, the volunteer to volunteer phone tool which is used to organize volunteers, or another volunteer option.

Communication Tips


Communication quality is important. You’ll get more effective as you practice, but here are some expert tips which can give you a great head start.

Be friendly and conversational. Research has long established that you can hear a smile. 84% of the message over a phone is your tone of voice. Saying “may I speak with __________” as the first sentence is a big help. According to one prolific phonebank contributor: “I got a call from a Bernie phonebanker on the day of the OK primary. Part of the reason I’m w/ you guys now is because she was so gosh darn friendly!”

Never underestimate the power of having certainty in your voice.“In 2002, I was working for DirecTV, and I talked a customer into spinning a potato ontop of his receiver box to “fix” his unpaired access card. The moral of the story = people will do almost anything if you sound like you know what you’re talking about.”

You can talk before the beep. “If you can read the name they can hear you.”

The script is there to help you if you get nervous (which everyone does) and to make sure you hit the important notes. Otherwise, speak from the heart. You should follow the script to the point that you get in what they want you to get in (ex: voting dates, ask the questions that they want you to ask, etc.). “If you actually say the whole paragraphs as written, they’re very wordy/robotic/formal and even strong supporters get restless.”

One of the more difficult parts of the script to actually get through is the polling location.I usually check that they’re at the same address, then say “it looks like you vote at X place. Is that reasonably convenient for you?” That usually leads to someone saying, “yeah, it’s right around the block” or “it’s a short drive away.” I tell them the voting hours, and ask when they think they’d be able to swing by to vote. Just try to keep it conversational. In WI, or anywhere else with voter ID, I make sure to say, “as you probably already know, there’s a new voter ID law, so make sure you bring your ID with you.””

“”I want to make sure you’ve got nothing in your way for voting,” worked well for me today.”

“Ah, when I get a live one, I’ve say, “I’m thrilled! Thank you for supporting. Now my job is to make sure that nothing gets in the way of you having your voice heard. Now if you still live at X, then your voting place is Y. Does that sound right?””

“I like your suggestion about asking “does that sound right?” about the polling place. I usually do that, too- since often they’ve been voting in the same place for a long time and know where to go, & if we tell them something that sounds off-base we can then doublecheck the polling place.”

“Polling locations do occasionally change, too. And that’s a totally valid reason for doublechecking. Only YESTERDAY I corrected multiple polling locations that had been changed. It only happens once out of hundreds, but your voter might be in one of those ones.”

You may encounter angry voters who were previously contacted.“When people tell you we’ve called them before, apologize profusely and try to get as much information as you can from the voter:

  • Make sure they actually answered the phone and spoke to a Bernie volunteer.
  • Ask for the caller ID. Ask how many calls, during what time frame.
  • Ask them why the volunteer called before. Was it for volunteer recruiting? Voter ID? GOTV? What did they say to the volunteer? – Did they say they were supporting Bernie? –
  • Did they ask not to be called?
  • Offer to put them on our Do Not Call list. Take screenshots if possible and send them to Live Chat on the page. It’s important to report every credible instance of data entry errors.”

“I can’t tell you how many people have screamed at me about multiple calls and I ask them if they’ve ever picked up the phone before, and they say no. Once I explain that we’ll keep trying until we get an answer, they almost always calm down. WI has an open Primary, so voters will ll probably get called by the other campaigns as well, and local Democratic groups. So yeah, they’re getting a lot of calls. Just be apologetic and sympathetic. If they’re super pissy, offer to put them on our Do Not Call list.”

Our campaign does call voters several times in the cycle. If we call someone and they don’t answer the phone, we absolutely will call back at a later date. We call them for voter ID first, then we call Bernie’s supporters again to GOTV, and then we call them one last time on the day of the election. Be upfront, apologize, and acknowledge that we’ve called them before. Say something like “Last week we were identifying Bernie’s supporters, and now we’re calling to make sure everyone knows where their polling location is, so that every vote counts!”

Every state is extremely important, so there are definitely other local groups calling, as well as other campaigns. Independent voters also tend to get calls from all the candidates in both parties.

If the voter is very mad, offer to put them on our Do Not Call list.

Try to encourage strong supporters to volunteer.“I reached tons of strong Bernie supporters in NY yesterday, but all but a few said they were too busy. Anticipate that response and emphasize the fact that some activities like phonebanking can be done from the comfort of your home (the script talks about contacting voters “in your area” and because of that reference they might think they necessarily need to go somewhere or knock on doors) and you don’t need to devote a lot of time to it, there’s no fixed schedule, you can do it whenever you happen to come across a little bit of free time, before or after the elections take place, whether you can actually vote or not, and that even the smallest amount of your time can help if enough people do it.”

“I usually ask “Would you like to make phone calls like I am? Even 5 calls would make a big difference.””

Basic | 5 Call Challenge | Toolkit | FAQ | International | Tips