You might be wondering what a sandwich has to do with voter contact. No, I'm not talking about the kind of sandwich that you provide for volunteers during those long days of canvassing and phone banking. In the field, sandwich is a term used for maximizing the effectiveness of your voter contact strategy.
The idea is that you sandwich your most important contact in between two others. The first contact initiates the conversation, the second contact makes the sale, and the third contact reinforces (and maybe provides you with important information). For example, if you're trying to identify and persuade undecided voters, here's what a "contact sandwich" might look like:
- Contact #1: Phone bank into a neighborhood you are about to canvass, using an ID script to ask for the voter's position on the issue/candidate. You might also let them know that your canvassers are coming soon.
- Contact #2: Hit the doors of undecided voters with your persuasion script (the sooner after the ID call, the better).
- Contact #3: After you've spoken to your persuasion list at the door, call back to see if they've changed to a supporter (and repeat your persuasion if not). This has the two-fold effect of reinforcing the main points you've communicated with the voter and allowing you to evaluate how effective your persuasion was.
- Could you identify a shift towards your position between the two phone calls? Congratulations! Your persuasion may have been convincing. If you find that undecided voters aren't moving, you may want to evaluate your persuasion message.
- Take it a step further, and have the same volunteers call back the same voters. This way, they will establish a more personal connection.
You can use the sandwich strategy in multiple ways. Maybe you sandwich an important mail piece with robo-calls. Or maybe you call to let people know their absentee ballot is about to arrive, knock the door to see if they've filled it out, and follow up to make sure it got in the mail.
And, of course, don't forget to feed your volunteers too. They'll appreciate a real sandwich after a long shift at the doors or on the phones.
Tim Anderegg is Lead Web Developer at NOI, and has worked in data and field for a number of years, most recently at the Center for Community Change, advising issue advocacy and community organizations on data, targeting and reporting.
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