How Camden Liberal Democrats are calling party members to help with coronavirus

Yesterday, I reported on how Hull Liberal Democrats are ringing residents to help them through the coronavirus crisis. Today, it’s Janet Grauberg from Camden, back for another set of tips about phoning: 

Some of the Camden Lib Dem campaigners have been meeting weekly (via Zoom) to think about how best to serve our local communities in this crisis. Last week we created a “Coronavirus Useful Information and How to Help” page on our website, and sent out emails to residents, tailored by ward, with links and suggestions.

This week we started telephoning members. We decided not to go straight to telephoning residents under the Liberal Democrat brand because we felt that, because of our different situation from Hull and with only two of our 18 wards having Lib Dem councillors, it would feel too close to traditional phone canvassing.

Instead, we decided to try two sessions – Saturday late afternoon (4pm) and Tuesday early evening (6.30pm) – to call members.

We advertised our first sessions as events on our Camden Facebook Group, and set up a 30 minute Zoom call to start with as a briefing session for those who were new to telephone canvassing. This was useful to help those who had forgotten their Connect login details, or only previously used Minivan on their telephone, and to talk them through the script.

We used the My Campaign part of Connect to create three Virtual Phone Banks of members, one for each main area of the borough, so that people doing the telephone would be more likely to be calling people in their area. We used the 2020 Coronavirus Support script intended for residents, but after the initial questions about whether they had support and knew where to get help, we asked if this was the best number to call them on, checked whether we had the right email for them, and asked whether they were getting our weekly member emails.

After 50 minutes of phoning we logged back into Zoom to debrief – just like you would after a physical phone banking session (except without pizza – we’re still working on that). We discussed what the best answerphone message was, and whether the slot we’d picked worked.

Of course, we left some answerphone messages and found a few wrong numbers, and some people who have moved out of the area, who we encouraged to update their details on the Lib Dem website. But everyone we actually spoke to was grateful to be called, and to know that they could call on us, as well as their local support network, if they needed help. And a couple of people said they’d be interested in joining us when we start calling residents, one of whom, as far as I know, has never previously volunteered for the local Lib Dems.

We’ve got our first evening session tonight, and hopefully we’ll get as good a response.  We’ll probably make some adjustments to the timing and the approach as we go along – I’d be interested to hear from others who are doing the same thing and what they are learning.

Good luck with the calls this evening, Janet.

If you sign up for my blog posts digest you’ll get a handy one-a-day email with links to all the latest posts. You can also sign up for a range of other lists, including Liberal Democrat Newswire – a monthly newsletter about the party. Just pick the options you’d like on the sign-up form.