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Let your supporters tell their stories by phone

Call-in days to decision makers can showcase the wide range of support for your campaign and empower your supporters to tell their own stories. A successful call-in day requires careful planning beforehand. Here's how to do it! 

Call-In Day Checklist

 Pick up the phone

Depending on your campaign and the structure of the organization you're focusing on, you may want to try to get the CEO's office or you may want to call the public relations office. If you're targeting a smaller group or organization, it could be effective to call the main switchboard. Ask yourself, who is likely to respond? Who is likely to care that many people are calling in?

If you're calling a large organization, or a high-up official, it can be tough to find direct phone lines. Be sure to set aside time to do this well before the call-in day. Some ways to find phone numbers are to:

Check the company's website.
Search the staff directory. You can also look through press releases sent by the company for phone numbers.

Call the main switchboard.
Ask to be transferred to your decision maker. What happens? Are you sent to voicemail or transferred to a live person?

For elected officials, go to the governmental website.
When you find the main switchboard line, call and ask who the best person would be to contact about your issue.

Once you've found a phone number to use, have a friend or colleague try the number as well, to ensure they have the same experience. It's best to have a few phone numbers on hand, in case a voicemail box fills up or someone is out of the office.

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Choose "public" or "surprise"

Will you work with the decision maker beforehand and let them know you're calling in, or will you just do a surprise phone rally? This depends on your relationship with your decision maker. If you're trying to convince an elected official to vote a certain way, and the testimonials from callers might help him or her justify a decision, you may want to notify them beforehand.

If your interactions with your decision maker have not been cordial, it may be best to call unannounced. An unannounced phone rally creates more of a sense of urgency and may mean the decision maker hasn't planned a response.

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Identify your team

Do you have a tight group of supporters who are personally invested in your campaign? Do you have thousands of petition signers who may or may not have a close connection to the issue?

Since your "ask" to your supporters for a call-in day is more involved than simply asking people to sign a petition, think about who you want to participate. You may want to message all of your signers, or you may want to choose only supporters from a specific geographic area, members of a Facebook group or a local organization.

Some members have found success by looking through the "Reasons For Signing" and messaging the members who have left compelling comments.

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    Write a script

    Your supporters may feel shy, or be too busy to collect their thoughts. Help them out by writing a script. Email them your request for help, as well as the script, on the day of the call-in.

      Sample Call-in Day Script and Email to Supporters

      Dear ______,

      Great news! Today, as I write, Burger Shack officials are meeting to discuss the future of hiring at the company. That Burger Shack is having these meetings at all is thanks to you taking action.

      Now, I am asking for your help one more time. Burger Shack needs to hear, right now, that it can't ignore you. The company may be on the verge of ending their discriminatory hiring program, and your voice could be the tipping point.

      Will you take just a few minutes to call and leave a message for Burger Shack CEO Jane Lopez?

      Call: 212-XXX-XXXX. If you go into voicemail, please be sure to leave a message.

      Here's what you can say:

      Hi, My name is _____, and I'm calling to leave a message for Ms. Jane Lopez about Burger Shack's hiring program.

      I'm distressed that Burger Shack has been firing workers for reasons such as missing work due to sickness and injury on the job. Because I am a Burger Shack customer, I support the ongoing campaign for better hiring practices at Burger Shack.

      I will be avoiding Burger Shack and its products until I hear this has happened.

      A phone call will send a powerful message to Scholastic at this crucial time.

      Thank you for taking action,
      Your name

      P.S. I'd love to hear back if you made a phone call. Let us know how it went!

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    Check in

    Throughout the call-in, periodically check in to make sure the phone number is still working. Frequently, the voicemail callers are transferred to will fill up. If that happens, message your callers again to give them an update, and make sure they know about any alternate numbers.

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    Circle back

    Thank your callers for their support, and circle back after the fact with your decision maker.

    If the call-in day catapults your campaign to victory, mobilize your supporters to thank your decision maker, whether it's with more calls, posting on social media profiles or sending appreciative emails.

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