The effectiveness of Victory VoIP phone banks - Tennessee 2012 and 2014
The effectiveness of volunteer phone banks in elections and campaigns is indisputable; they are used to identify preferences for issues and candidates as well as to persuade voters towards an issue or a candidate. In the 2012 cycle, The Tennessee Republican Party utilized a a traditional victory center strategy, with physical locations across the state and a fairly large staff necessary to run the operation. In the 2014 cycle, TNGOP implemented movebale phone banking technology from Victory VoIP, with just three main permanent locations in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and the remaining locations being moveable. This strategy cost less overall, generated more voter contacts and provided an overall better result than in 2012.
In 2012, TNGOP organized nine physical phone bank locations throughout the state. Each incurred rent, utilities, staff, and other miscellaneous expenses. Each location had 24 phones, though most went unused on any given day due to lack of volunteers. These phone banks required volunteers to travel to the specific locations, taking more time out of their day. The overhead costs for the operation and the opportunity costs for the volunteers were on the rise. In 2014, they switched from this traditional style of phone banking to Victory VoIP style. With this new format, only three physical locations were organized, in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. Lower level staff were hired to utilize 11 portable Candidate Edition VoIP units. These staffers were able to take a system with them to another location, and easily implement a mobile phone bank. Systems were taken everywhere, to college frat houses, to hotels, to the candidate’s house. The phone bank was now in close proximity to the volunteers and had less phones, making it easier to fill every phone every night. The ease of Victory VoIP systems allowed for minimal time to be spent on training and more time to be spent actually connecting with voters. In this situation, individual staffers were given goals of specific numbers of voter contacts and autonomy in how they wanted to complete the task. Being able to transport the systems to different locations allowed the 2014 team to have a much higher fill rate than those in 2012 with the physical locations. Staffers were able to go to the volunteers rather than waiting for volunteers to come to them.
The team in 2014 saw far better results than the team in 2012. In terms of a cost benefit analysis, the cost overall and the cost per phone call were significantly less with the utilization of Victory VoIP systems. STATS AND NUMBERS HERE. The overhead cost of attempting to maintain nine locations became irrelevant, as they were no longer necessary; rather only three central locations were used, simply to organize staffers. There was also reduced need for paid staff, as the systems allowed for more volunteers to participate. In terms of voter contacts, VoIP allowed for a 20% increase in voter contacts per legislative district in 2014. The technology utilized within these systems allows for up to 75 calls an hour per volunteer, and with a maximum fill rate, a significantly higher voter contact percentage was obtained. Less time was spent dialing numbers and leaving voice mails, and more time connecting with voters about the important issues. There is also the claim that this system generated a much higher quality of call than those in 2012. Taking the systems out to different locations allowed for passionate volunteers, like family and friends of the candidate, to truly connect with the voter. They were also more serious about the issues related to the election, making their arguments more persuasive. Victory VoIP systems also allowed for more candidates to reap the benefits. Staffers could take the units to different candidates throughout the week, in different parts of the state. This allowed for candidates in all races to benefit from the technology, further increasing its effectiveness. This system also lead to an increase in the number of nights per week in which volunteers were making calls, causing an increase in volunteer hours. This was made possible by the increase in volunteers in general due to the mobility and easy to use nature of the system. Mobility also lead to an increase in productivity in rural areas, as volunteers did not have to travel to make calls. Overall, the Victory VoIP system produces significantly better results than traditional headquarters phone banks in terms of cost effectiveness, volunteer involvement, and call quality.