Fresno State Students For Life made 4,000 election calls in one day as part of our Vote Pro-Life First Campaign! Club President and SFL Action Captain Ryan Yang is guest-blogging to share details.
If there is one thing that can be said about COVID-19, it’s that it has made life immensely more difficult. For us as pro-lifers, you may be wondering how we can further fight against the tyranny of abortion when our movements are so restricted. Here in California, we have many restrictions which disable our ability to properly host tabling events, sidewalk counsel, or protest Planned Parenthood. So what’s something that you can do?
The answer is to phone bank. As we all know, we are in a pivotal point during the election year. For the last few months, my fellow SFL Action Captains and I have been calling into states to try and get citizens to Vote Pro-Life First. This past week, SFL members from Fresno gathered in-person to hammer out 4,252 phone calls in Michigan!
You may be wondering “How did you guys do that? How can my group do something similar? With COVID, was that safe??”
The answer is a little bit complicated. Allow me to state that during our calling day, all safety precautions possible were taken. Members arrived with masks, physical contact was abstained from, and social distancing took place. With these precautions in mind, how can your group do a similar call day? This blog will be my sort-of “how to” in making a successful call day in-person!
Well first, I should probably say that you don’t need to meet in person – you can meet virtually and call that way. I only made the decision to meet in person so that we could maximize time and efficiency.
When organizing a calling day, if you’re meeting in person, you need to find a venue. What really worked well for us is working through our local Right to Life to find a spot that could meet our needs. We ended up being sponsored by a local conservative media headquarters in just a few days. Contact people who know people! It will do wonders for you! Maybe we’ll get to phone bank at the Vatican next time! You’ll for sure need a good amount of space, lots of access to outlets, and tables and chairs.
Remember: when you’re organizing the call day, you need to think about the logistics. How is everyone going to call? How can we best maximize the i360 system? Is there Wi-Fi? Who’s getting the food? Oh, right. We need food. That’s kind of part of being human, needing sustenance (Hey! Just like an preborn baby!). For my calling day, we chose a cost effective but delicious source of nutrition. Students for Life Action was willing to pay for our lunch due to the large number of people, and they bought for us a delicious meal of melted cheese, tomato, and lightly toasted bread. I’m talking about pizza, of course. Make sure to provide lots of water and snacks; you will need it!
In order to make the most amount of calls per person without interruption, try to make sure every person brings a phone and/or tablet or computer. The day of the phone bank, print out the scripts from i360. This will save you a lot of hassle with trying to remember the script during calls! Encourage people to bring headphones with a microphone, as well as making sure that they can use data if you need to.
Now comes the big part of phone banking: getting participants. I asked several families, Pro-Life/conservative groups, and friends to clear out their day for several hours of phone banking. This is another step for safety during COVID; involve people who can account for their health. If they’ve been tested, even better! But as long as you keep people who arrive in groups in their own socially distanced spot, then you’ll be fine. One issue all volunteer organizations run into is motivating people to attend and participate in the event. Favors with friends can always give you a few people, but how about rewards? Students for Life Action gives away giftcards to encourage people to participate in phone banking. Isn’t that awesome?! You can literally get a free $25-$50 gift card for calling people for a day! Make sure you inform your volunteers about this (as well as informing them about the cheesy baked bread), as this will provide them with three excellent sources of motivation to attend.
1. Free food
2. Free STUFF!
And the most important:
3. You make a REAL difference in elections. During the summer, all pro-life candidates we phone banked for were elected. If that doesn’t say something about how effective our calls are, I’m not sure what does. This is, perhaps, my greatest piece of advice- let them know they are making a difference. Yea, you’ll get people who curse at you and hang up on you. In fact, you may feel a bit down in the dumps after a calling day. But when you see the results of an election due to your work as a volunteer, then you know you really made a difference to save a few babies 🙂
Now that you’ve read my basic guide on how to still host in person phone banking, get out there and do it! Get creative and keep the Pro-Life movement alive! Just because we are all slowly going mad in our houses doesn’t mean that preborn lives are not being aborted. So, in the words of Linguini from Ratatouille: “Let’s do this thing!”
Sign-up at studentsforlifeaction.org/volunteer to get started or reach out to your Regional Coordinator!