This last week I spent waaaaaaay too much time reading the political blogs and getting depressed. So I decided to take that negative energy and put out some positive energy by volunteering for the Obama campaign. I came home today and wrote a diary for Daily Kos, which I am cross posting here:
Phonebankers need Kossacks’ help!
Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 05:10:15 PM PDT
Hopefully there’s room on Kos for another phonebanking/volunteering story today, as I’d like to offer some suggestions and a call for help from everybody.
I’m trying to write this and not sound critical and nit-picking. And as this is my experience in one HQ in my city, I have no idea about organizational matters elsewhere.
So let’s start here: I assumed a few things about my local Obama office. I assumed that everybody is quite tech savvy. I assumed that because phone banking is a big part of GOTV, then the phone banking kit would be jammed full with facts and figures.
Ok, so I assumed wrong. There’s a script. There’s also a sheet on the issues, but it’s not easily digestible. Now, everybody in the office was very friendly and helpful, but I soon found I was lacking a lot of materials.
A few calls in I got a “leaning McCain” voter who saw Obama as someone who was going to raise his taxes. (“I’m what you’d call a rich guy,” he said.) I soooo wish I had that tax-plan breakdown graphic that was in the Washington Post, because this man may not have been “rich” according to the McCain plan. Nuts!
Another lady was interested in voting for Obama, but didn’t know how to register. I suddenly realized that I had no sheet on how to register to vote…I knew a few places (DMV, etc.), but I wanted a sheet with specific locations and such. As our Obama office is calling people in Nevada (Clark County), I realized I had no local info.
My favorite call today was to a 37 year old lady who had just come back from Iraq. She was so enthusiastic about Obama that she wanted to volunteer, but…she didn’t know her city too well. Where was the Obama HQ? Well, er, that was more info I didn’t have!!! Fortunately, she was a dear and held on while I raced upstairs and jumped on the net to find the addresses of the HQ. (And my complaint about the Obama site is that this info is hard to find. I went to Google maps instead.)
Of course, I shared this info with the people in charge at the office, and they were very ready to include these sheets in their phone banking packs. When I got the voter registration info (off the net, again), I made copies and gave them to all the other phone bankers.
But while driving home, I was wondering…is this the first time in the whole GOTV Nevada period that this has come up at my local office? Shouldn’t this be basic knowledge?
So, as I said, I’m not trying to be negative. My point is to all of us here at Daily Kos: if you know your stuff, if you have good info charts and visuals, if you have an idea about how to help the average phone banker–who may not be a natural speaker and/or debator, who does not have photographic memory–head down to your local Obama office and donate your intelligence!! DO NOT assume that they have everything they need. Often the staffing is very, very limited and they’ve got a lot more on their minds.
PHONE BANKING SUMMARY: 90% wrong numbers/out of service/answering machines. (We were told not to leave messages, because a later return call might get a person, which is better). I had a lot of people hang up on me (Dems, Reps, Independents alike!). No Dems were thinking about McCain, but about 1/3 of the registered Republicans were leaning or thinking of Obama. Issues? Taxes, education, change. (Does anyone have a good graphic explaining Obama’s education plan? Or one vs. McCain’s? Does McCain have an education plan anyway???)