From virgin to addict in 2 evenings – my introduction to phonebanking. Guest Post from an Edinburgh Volunteer.

I’m no political hack.  I’m not a member of any political party, I’ve never canvassed before, and I hate cold callers … but

 but here I am, in Helen’s flat, mobile phone and canvassing script in hand, wondering how many more times I can look through the script before plucking up the courage to dial the first name on my list.  I’m feeling strangely calm – or perhaps resigned to my fate?  It is just a phone call, after all, and … ring ring, ring ring … heart rate goes up a little … will they be in?  She is.  I introduce myself, read the first part of the script and from the reply realise she’s blissfully unaware of any referendum.  She’s also busy, and so I say goodbye politely.  Phew – survived that without major embarrassment!  Only 5 or 6 left on my list for tonight.  Next couple follow the same pattern – people are either too busy, or haven’t heard about the referendum, or both.  I begin to start tinkering with the script, but by the end I have 1 No, 4 Too Busys and a couple of Not Ins.  The others have had mixed success too.  I’m feeling a little deflated, but I’m also wondering how I might change my approach, and discuss it with the others.
 
A week later, we gather in Danny’s flat.  This time I make sure the list of names is mine (instead of borrowing part of someone else’s list), having printed it out from the website.  Am I really starting to think about that league table on the website already?  This time I start by reeling off the whole of the initial canvassing script only to realise I’m talking to no one by the end of it.  Strike that approach.  Next time I try the opposite – after a brief introduction, I ask if my ‘target’ is aware of the referendum?  No?  May I take a minute to explain it?  Yes … and a minute later I have a firm yes and an email address!!  Couple of Busys, an At Her Boyfriends (as always!) and then I’m allowed to explain again.  This time I try putting a Scottish slant on it – we’re campaigning to make the Westminster system more like Holyrood, and make MPs work harder – and I elicit  a wry chuckle from him.  Another Yes in the bag.  Not only am I starting to enjoy this, but it’s becoming a challenge – and a fun one at that.  How can I best engage with my contact to get that ‘yes’?  How can I tweak the script?
 
Calls made, we discuss how we got on.  Seems awareness is a widespread issue – not surprising really in the current economic climate.  I finish by entering the results on the website.  Pah – 12 contacts off the list but I only get credit for 3.  I guess I won’t be top of the league any time soon … but it won’t stop me trying.  This game is addictive … I’ll be back next week!

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About fairervotesedinburgh

The unofficial blog for the Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign in Edinburgh. All views expressed are our own and do not necessisarily represent the views of the official Yes to Fairer Votes organisation
This entry was posted in Guest Posts, Local Activism, Personal Views, Phone Banking, Tools for Activists, Yes to AV. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to From virgin to addict in 2 evenings – my introduction to phonebanking. Guest Post from an Edinburgh Volunteer.

  1. Pingback: Hi, I’m Danny and I’m Volunteering With Rastafarian Votes | fairervotesedinburgh

  2. Pingback: Shades of ’79 – “If less than 40% of the electorate vote in the referendum, the result shall not be binding” | fairervotesedinburgh

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