Phonebanking Guide: Fundraising for #Nov15CornelAndBA Dialogue

November 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Orientation: The following is meant to highlight some key points, and a basic sequence of points, to convey during phonebanking, as well as the overall orientation for these phone calls. It is not meant as a word-for-word script.  Obviously, there may be some variation based on factors including how familiar (or not) the person you are calling already is with the Dialogue and the Indiegogo campaign; how much time the person seems to have to talk;  and how people respond and what they specifically say during the calls, not all of which can be specifically anticipated beforehand.

In addition, while you want to take guidance from and stay within the framework of the guidelines below, you should also keep things fresh and lively, organically conveying a lot of enthusiasm and substance about this Dialogue and the need to GET YOUR TICKET and RAISE BIG MONEY for it, and not sound like you are reading word-for-word from a script. But, again, the following does convey an important basic orientation for these calls…

Finally, to people making calls:  for important orientation before you call make sure to:

1) rewatch the 5-minute video on Indiegogo
2) re-read and be grounded in the “3 Reasons” piece and
3) read this important article about an approach to exceeding the $30,000 Indiegogo goal.



If there’s no answer, see guidance for voicemails at the end of this phonebanking guide.

If the Person Answers...

After saying who you are and, if necessary, who you’re calling with (e.g. Revolution Books, the BA Everywhere campaign, etc)…

“I’m calling you about the historic Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West coming up on November 15.  I hope you have a few minutes to talk right now, because this is very urgent.”

“Do you know about this Dialogue?”

If the person answers “yes,” ask them what they know about it so far.  Generally do not get into a back-and-forth off of people’s response to this question; the main point is just to ask once and get a basic sense what people already know about this Dialogue.  This has importance in terms of being a team of scientists overall and evaluating, in an ongoing way, our work to build for it, and also in terms of assessing how much you specifically need to explain to the person you are talking to about the Dialogue and the Indiegogo campaign.  Establish your audience for that particular call (is it someone very familiar with the Dialogue who has already gotten an email about the Indiegogo campaign? someone who is barely (or not at all) familiar with the Dialogue, etc.)

Then, whether they indicate they know about it or not, say the title of the Dialogue – Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, and that the Dialogue is at Riverside Church on Saturday November 15. And briefly—in 2 or 3 sentences—reiterate/explain who the speakers are, what this Dialogue is and why it so historic, exciting, and not to be missed! 

Then, something like:   

Well, I’m calling you about two things in relation to this Dialogue: One is getting your ticket to be there.  And two, we are in the middle of a BIG NATIONAL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN right now to raise THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS between now and midnight November 11.  And we need your help to raise this money!  This campaign is specifically to raise $30,000 to get the word out throughout society about this Dialogue, and to subsidize tickets and travel for youth and those without funds to be attend.

I’m calling to ask you to make a generous donation to this Indiegogo campaign—as much as you can possibly give—to help us reach this goal.

Pause to allow them to take this in and respond …

[Note: After introducing the question of tickets, we will want to return to this in the discussion, but we also want to quickly get to the question of fundraising.  The thinking here is that you’ll mention tickets at the beginning, get into a discussion of fundraising and then return to tickets.  This may be different in different places or with different people.  The main point of discussion here is taking off from the “three reasons why people should not want to miss this.”  Those are the same reasons it should be funded throughout society.]


Other Quick Notes/Questions

* If people can watch the Indiegogo video while they are on the phone with you that would be great.  In any case, you should definitely refer everyone you speak with (or leave voicemails for) to the video, but people watching the video should NOT be viewed as a prerequisite to them donating, or to you asking them do donate.  The concern about asking people to watch the video and saying you will call them back in five minutes is that it disrupts the momentum of the calls if you have to keep calling people back; if someone asks you to watch the video and call you back (or have them call you back), then that is fine.

*In any case, urge people to go to Indiegogo on their phones or computers while you are talking to them to donate on the spot.

*We are SERIOUS about this, and we are on a MISSION to raise this money, pack the hall, and get the word out throughout society about this Dialogue.  Do NOT waste time talking to people who are antagonistic or who are clearly not serious. Simply note their reactions and move on to the next call. We need to reach A LOT of people.  So, while summing up periodically is important, don’t spend TOO much time doing this during the window you have to call! Mainly, we need to be on the phones calling a lot of people!


Guideline for Voicemails

This is so-and-so calling to let you know about the important Dialogue between Dr. Cornel West & Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion on Saturday November 15 at Riverside Church in Manhattan.  I want to be sure you get tickets, and know that we are raising BIG money to fund tickets for youth & unemployed to attend.  You can find out more and be part of this by going to where you can buy a ticket, and donate.  Please call me at xxx xxx xxxx.  Look forward to seeing you on November 15.

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