Resist with Quist!: House Party Host Guide

Thank you for hosting a Resist with Quist: Phone Bank House Party!

Volunteers are coming together across the country to support Rob Quist, as he fights to flip the U.S. House seat held by Republicans in Montana. The seat was vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, who was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior in March.

At Swing left phone bank parties, volunteers will be calling into Montana to talk to key voters. Some voters will just need a reminder to turn in their ballots, while others might need an extra push to support Quist by getting out to the polls.

Our calls could mean the difference between a win and a loss on May 25th.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done something like this before. We’ll provide a phone script and a list of voters to call using Democracy for America’s online call tool. In this guide, you will find all the information you need to run a successful event!

Table of Contents:

House Party Overview
Inviting People to Your Event
Getting Ready for Your Party
Detailed Party Agenda for Hosts
Social Media
Hosting Tips
Additional Information & Important Links
Documents to Print
Frequently Asked Questions

House Party Overview

The “Resist with Quist” House Parties are a great opportunity for you to meet other Swing Left volunteers and also to introduce new people to the organization. Creating real connections and community is the most important step in building a movement, so take the time at your house party to get to know each other.

During your party, each volunteer will make calls using Democracy For America’s online “hub dialer” tool on their own personal computer. The dialer is a really useful program that sorts through thousands of calls at once and removes all of the lines that are busy or not answered. It only connects you when a voter picks up, so you can have lots of conversations without having to spend hours listening to busy signals or voicemails. It’s like phone banking magic!

The tool also has a phone script and a list of voters to call, both updated regularly by the Quist campaign. This makes it easy to reach out to voters in Montana to help get them out to vote for Rob Quist on May 25th!

Inviting People to Your Event

Recruitment starts with simply inviting a few of your friends and asking them to invite some of theirs. You will be surprised how quickly you can fill a room.

  • Write a list of all your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues you want to invite.

    • Don’t limit your list to people who you think are involved in politics. This is great opportunity to invite new people into activism, and lots of people are getting involved right now for their first time.

    • About half of the people who say ‘yes’ will actually show up, so invite a few more people than you think you have room for.

  • Spread the word digitally: Action Network, the online event tool we’re using to coordinate these events, has a number of useful recruitment features built into it.

    To check them out, log into your Action Network dashboard, scroll down to Actions, and click Manage next to your House Party. Once you’re in you’ll see two helpful features:

    • Sample text that you can use to email your friends (“Email a friend”). This includes an RSVP link to your specific event.

    • A “Like on Facebook” option. This will allow you to post your event to Facebook, which can be a good way to get the word out as well. All that said, don’t rely on Facebook alone. Personal emails and phone calls will be more effective.

  • Pick up the phone. The most effective way to recruit is by sending an email (see the sample you can send in Action Network) and then following up with a quick phone call. And, the more methods you use, the better. So text, call, email, and knock on your neighbor’s doors to invite them all.

Don't worry about reminders or sending messages about changing the date, time, or location of the event. Action Network has got that covered -- the day before your event they’ll send emails to all attendees to remind everyone the event is coming up. And if you change the event's location, date, or time, they’ll email all attendees to let them know.

Getting Ready for Your Party

  • Review the agenda below and share it with anyone helping run the party.

  • Prepare and arrange your space (chairs, materials, etc.). Think about creating some “desk” areas with enough space in between for people to make calls without talking right into each other’s ears.

  • Gather materials: sign-in sheet, printed agendas for your guests, pens, name tags.

  • Ensure wifi is working, charge your laptop or computer, and bring it to the party.

  • Set up snacks and water: Buy or make snacks and beverages if you’d like to provide some (although it’s not required). Feel free to ask your attendees to bring a snack to share.

  • RSVP for a Host Training Webinar: We will host three calls on 5/11, 5/12, and 5/14. RSVP for one of these calls here.

Detailed Party Agenda for Hosts

These are example times. Please edit based on the schedule for your party.

6:00 pm: Introductions

  • Give people time at the start of the party to mingle and meet each other.

  • Welcome and thank the group for coming.

  • If you have a small enough group, spend 10 minutes going around the room to make brief introductions: What strengths do you bring to doing this work? What is motivating you to do this work right now?

6:20 pm: Overview

  • Briefly review the plan for the event, introduce yourself and your own motivation for having the party.

  • Overview of Swing Left and our strategy to take back the House.

  • Review the Montana District Primer and the reasons why we have all decided to come together to support this race.

6:30 pm: Action

  • Set up for phone banking

    • Go around the room and make sure that everyone has the DFA Dialer page up on their laptop.

    • Play the training video

  • Time to hit the phones!

    • Take a few short breaks to recharge as a group
    • Do something fun to celebrate good calls (e.g. have volunteers ring a bell when they confirm a Quist voter! Or yell “Bingo!”)

8:00pm Closing

  • Review next steps: When are we all going to get together again? When would be a good time to schedule an activity in our district?

  • Do a quick closing: Ask each person to name one person they are going to invite to join the movement and one hope for 2017 (in one sentence).

Social Media

Show everyone what Swing Left's movement to take back the House looks like! Share a group pic, video or anecdote from your party on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook (or all three!). Don’t forget to include #swingleft and #resistwithquist so that Swing Left can retweet/repost!

Hosting Tips

  • Be inclusive and connect with guests. Talk to each person when they arrive, sign them in. Introduce people to each other and genuinely get to know people by asking a few questions.

  • Delegate tasks to other people. Give people roles so that you’re not the only one doing all the talking. Ask someone to lead the calendar creation section or to help review next steps.

  • Stay on schedule. Start on time and follow your party agenda. It’s fine to keep questions and answers short so that you keep moving and don’t keep people too late.

  • Get specific commitments for upcoming activities. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lot.

  • Be positive and constructive. Keep the tone upbeat—this is an exciting, fun, and interactive event!

Additional Information & Important Links

Documents to Print

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I communicate with the folks attending my party?

The Discussion Board feature of Action Network is the easiest way to communicate with your guests. Anything you post on that board will be emailed to everyone who signed up for your event. You can find it by clicking on the “Discussion” tab of your event management page.

I need to make a change to my event. How do I do that?

No problem. You can easily change your event location, time, RSVP count or any of the other characteristics by clicking on the “edit event” button on the top of your event management page. All of your guests will automatically be emailed if there are changes to your event.

I’d like to make my address a bit less public. Is that possible?

Yep, there are two ways to make your address more private.

You can make your event private, which means that only people who get directly sent the link to your event will be able to find it (tip: you should also remove the social media sharing sidebar if you don’t want that link traveling around too much). But, this also means that other Swing Left volunteers in your community won’t be able to find your event.

If you’d like to allow folks you don’t know (yet) to sign up for your event, but want a bit more privacy, you can only list your street and zip code in the event details (Main St vs 123 Main St). You can then give your precise address to people who RSVP by posting it to the discussion board a day or two before your event OR by listing it in your “Instructions for Attendees” page (second page when you’re setting up your event).

You can make all of these changes by editing your event.

I’m confused about the RSVP numbers for my event. What’s the story?

This can be a bit confusing! With Action Network (our events tool), your RSVP count is people who actually RSVP + the number of guests they say they'll bring + you (the host).

If you use the “Download RSVPs” feature you’ll get a list of all the registered RSVPs, plus how many guests they’re bringing. You could see one row in the file with one person’s contact info and an indication that they said they’d bring 2 guests. Action Network counts that as 3 RSVPs against the cap you set for your event.

Related, some of you may actually see you have even more guests than your RSVP limit. That’s likely because the last person to sign up for your event said they’d bring some guests. So, if they said they’d bring 3 guests, you’d end up at 3 over your limit.

Can you put me in touch with other nearby hosts?

One great way to reach out to other folks who are working on the same Swing District you are is to join your District Slack Team.