Starting A Monthly Calling Campaign

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Description
This training describes how chapters can create an ongoing daily system that ensures their member(s) of Congress receive phone calls every day from different constituents. If you’d like to move your member of Congress on an issue via a steady drumbeat of daily calls, then you may want to launch a Monthly Calling Congress campaign in your chapter or district or state. 
Breadcrumb
/topics/contacting-congress
TOC and Guide Section
 
What is the Monthly Calling Campaign?

The Monthly Calling Campaign is a new tool that allows members of the public (whether they are CCL volunteers yet or not) to sign up to receive an email or text message with a provided call-in guide. They will be invited to call their representative’s office to express their concerns and respectfully urge climate action. CCL's Monthly Calling Campaign is designed to be an effective lobbying program. Calls to Congress are most meaningful when you are courteous, personal, and focus on a specific bill or issue. Your phone is a potent tool for participatory democracy.

How does it work?

Your chapter’s Monthly Calling Campaign will sign up and support volunteers in the district/state to regularly call their members of Congress, with enough volunteers participating so that every week day is covered by three to five volunteers. Any group of CCL volunteers can set up a steady long-term drumbeat of phone calls to a member of Congress using the following steps:

  1. Encourage volunteers to sign up via this online page (short link cclusa.org/mcc) and commit to calling their member of Congress once a month.
  2. Designate someone in your chapter to take on the administration of the tool by applying through admin.cclcalls.org.
  3. Implement a reminder and follow-up system to make sure volunteers remember when to call.
  4. Create a way for team leaders to see a frequent report for the progress you are making in generating calls.

Note: By clicking "Register" to join the Monthly Calling Campaign, you are not joining CCL. We will only use your information to contact you regarding your calls. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Is this similar to Project Grand Canyon?

Project Grand Canyon launched in June 2019 as a volunteer-generated project created by CCL leaders and volunteers, inspired by earlier Minnesota groups and calling congress campaigns featured in this training page. Thanks to your efforts, more than 1,500 people have signed up to call their Member of Congress about climate change.

CCL has decided to make this promising grassroots project the official tool for calling Congress. This exciting advancement comes with a few immediate changes for 2020:

Feel free to email feedback@cclcalls.org with any feedback or questions you might have.
Why is calling Congress important?

CCL volunteers have been told at times by members of Congress and their aides that, “We don’t hear much from constituents about climate change, and nothing is more powerful in getting our attention that written letters and phone calls.” By generating your own Monthly Calling Campaign locally, you are making sure they are hearing from their constituents every day about climate change. A key goal is to hear someone in your congressional office say, “we seem to be receiving a lot of calls asking my boss to enact climate legislation.” And then use this opening to meet with the member of Congress. The following recommendations are based on the experiences, and thanks to the work of, CCL chapters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina. 

Note: As with all local chapter activities, we trust you to know what’s right with your member of Congress and whether a campaign would advance the relationship forward toward their support for the Energy Innovation Act. 

What are the benefits?

At least two times per year, CCL has a Call Congress day on which every member of Congress receives a surge of calls from CCL volunteers. With the Monthly Calling Campaign project, members of Congress also receive both a steady stream of support from constituents, punctuated by the occasional flood of calls on our national call-in days. These phone calls also give volunteer constituents the opportunity to inform their MOCs of climate-related topics, or educate them on the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R.763). 

 
Advice and tips for administrators/organizers
  • Keep your calling scripts to participants as short as possible and put the most important information at the top using bullet points.
  • Remind your group leaders to regularly ask for new volunteers. Sending a report to group leaders on how many calls were made each month or quarter can help motivate more participation.
  • Having a partner or small committee to share the work can keep you going too!
  • In your script for your callers, stay focused on climate. Don’t bring in other issues, not even as an appreciation, because it will muddy the focus of the call.
Supporting your callers

It’s normal that some people sign up and don’t call. People have many distractions to pull them away from their good intentions. 50% is a good rate, but you are welcome to do better than that! Try these tips to get the highest number of people calling:

  • Send personal reminders to people who don’t report their calls. The more connected they feel to you, the more they won’t want to let you down by failing to call.
  • Let participants know how many calls were made each month and how it was related to your campaign’s goals.
  • Newer participants often need more encouragement, so pay extra attention to them. Once someone has done it 3-4 months in a row, they have formed a habit that keeps them going.
  • Be sure to share any encouraging news from your members of Congress, such as lobby meetings held, good positions taken or signs of decreased opposition.
  • If someone has not reported any calls for 3-4 months, call and ask if they have any suggestions for how to make it work better for them or it they would like to be removed from the campaign. 
Outreach Tactics

The hardest part of generating a sustained number of calls is often getting enough people to sign up to make the calls. Sending an email to your chapter’s roster is a great start, but what do you do after that? Below is a list of ideas you could try to get more constituents to sign up to call their member of Congress. 

  • Call CCL volunteers who live in that district and ask them to sign up to call.
  • Ask the chapter members to invite their friends to sign up to call. You could make a friendly competition for who could get the most people they know to sign up.
  • Attend a local community event like a neighborhood association meeting, make an announcement about what you are doing, and pass a paper sign up sheet around as well as the Monthly Calling Campaign Quarter-Page Flyers.
  • Set up one-on-one meetings with people who know lots of people in the district and ask that person to help recruit 5-10 sign ups.
  • Go to a public event like a festival or a farmers market with sign up sheets and ask people to sign up to call.

Generally, be creative. Don’t limit yourself to the CCL list, try new things, find what works and keep doing that.

Setting up a Dialing Congress Campaign

Moving forward, CCL National will be encouraging new campaigns to utilize the Monthly Calling Congress Tool described above. However, if you are already engaged in a Dialing Congress Campaign with Google Forms, decide which tool is the best fit for your group(s). 

For instructions on how to start a Dialing Congress Campaign approach, see this PDF document or view this CCL video training and learn from other groups that used this approach.

We know that change takes time so please be empowered to keep using your Dialing Congress Campaign or make the switch to the Monthly Calling Campaign set up above on the timeframe that works with your group. If you are already engaged in a Dialing Congress Campaign with Google Forms, consider the strengths/limitations of each:

  • Dialing Congress:
    • Allows for calling all three of your members of Congress (your House district representative and both Senators)
    • Provides flexibility in setup to also choose a statewide program
    • Allows you to customize your welcome message and monthly reminder system
    • Field reporting must be done by the local admin
  • Monthly Calling Campaign (MCC):
    • Provides a smooth automated way for constituents in your district to sign up (independent of signing up as a CCL volunteer) for a monthly reminder
    • Provides extra support via the Monthly Calling Campaign Admins Action Team
    • Focuses on only one Congressional office that your local admin deems is most strategic (plans to eventually provide access to calling all three offices)
    • Field reporting is automated
  • Both provide the following benefits:
    • Provide your chapter with the chance to engage in an organized, strategic local campaign 
    • Engage your local chapter’s volunteers with an easy action with an important local goal (i.e., 20 calls a week)
    • Help engage your grassroots outreach opportunities (tabling and presenting) with a specific ongoing action to join
    • A mechanism for people to report their call and a way for the admin to send a follow-up reminder to people who haven’t yet reported calling that month.

Overall, decide which tool is the best fit for your group(s). We know that change takes time, and please be empowered to keep using your Dialing Congress Campaign or make the switch to MCC.

If you do decide to make the switch, feel free to email your list as a .csv/.xls file to feedback@cclcalls.org and the MCC admin will upload your contacts to the new tool.

Length
Press play to start the video (42:54)
https://vimeo.com/album/5914493
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Calling Tool Background
(3:38)

How to Make a Call
(6:37)

Running a Calling Campaign
(14:31)

Success Stories from the Field
(27:26)

Getting Support Ahead
(35:04)

Instructor(s)
  • Ben Boral
  • Ham Richards
  • David Malitz
Downloads

Download the Powerpoint or Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (42m 54s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline

To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Calling Tool Background
(3:38)

How to Make a Call
(6:37)

Running a Calling Campaign
(14:31)

Success Stories from the Field
(27:26)

Getting Support Ahead
(35:04)

 

Instructor(s)
  • Ben Boral
  • Ham Richards
  • David Malitz

 

Go Deeper
Want more support? Join Monthly Calling Campaign Admins
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Category
Training
Topics
Lobbying Congress
Format
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File Type
Google Slides, PowerPoint (.pptx), Other