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Voter Contact Formulas and Pricing

Volunteer Voter Contact Formulas

The following formulas for voter contact are averages and assume all volunteer labor.
The numbers in bold are for budgeting purposes; the actual number may vary
depending on a number of factors you should adjust your own budgeting accordingly.

Door-to-Door Canvassing
Door-to-door canvassing assuming a very dense walk list in an urban
district: average 25 doors per hour; 6 contacts (5-8 contacts) per hour
Door-to-door canvassing assuming a sparser walk list or more suburban
district with less density: average 15 doors per hour; 4 contacts (3-6 contacts)
per hour

Phone canvassing Non-Predictive Dialing

Phone IDs straight ID, no persuasion: average 35 dials per hour; 10
contacts (7-14 contacts) per hour depending on length of script (assuming non-
predictive dialing)
o Normal 3 hour calling shift to calculate number of lines needed
o Normal 5 days per week (unless other reasons)
o Calling through the list 4x you can expect on average to reach about 45-
50% of the people. One call through you can expect about 25-30%.
o To calculate number of dials for repeated calls through the list multiply the
original list number by the following factors: 3x call though = 2.25 4x call
through = 2.5
Phone Persuasion average 25 dials per hour; 7 contacts (5-11 contacts)
per hour depending on length of script (assuming non-predictive dialing)
GOTV calling average 30 dials per hour; 10 contacts per hour, assuming no

Phone canvassing Predictive Dialing

Phone IDs average 110 dials per hour; 45 contacts (assuming less than one
minute script) per hour
o To calculate number of dials for repeated calls through the list multiply the
original list number by the following factors: 3x call though = 2.25 4x call
through = 2.5 (e.g. to call through a 1,000 name list 3x = 2,250 dials,
assuming bad numbers and contacts are removed after each dial
Phone Persuasion average 90 dials per hour; 20 contacts (assuming an
average 2.5 minute conversation) per hour

GOTV calling average 100 dials per hour; 25 contacts per hour (assuming a
2 minute interactive conversation), assuming no message.

Dropping Literature
**this should NOT be used for persuasion but rather for GOTV in high DPI precincts or
for neighborhood/precinct house party invites. Whenever possible do targeted lit
Dropping literature average 50 houses (30 70 houses) per person/per
hour shift, depending on turf

Volunteer Recruitment
Organization building work assume 5 new volunteers engaged and activated
per week, with one weekly shift per volunteer, per field organizer between May
and August.
o Because these are cumulative, week one would yield 5 shifts, week 2 would
yield 10 (the original 5 and 5 additional recruits), week 3 would yield 15, etc.
o Assume 10 new volunteers engaged and activated per week, with one weekly
shift per volunteer, per field organizer in October and November.
Volunteer Recruitment calling average 30 dials per hour; 10 contacts and
3-5 shifts scheduled per hour depending on list and task (e.g. canvassing
fewer, Persuasion calling fewer, ID calling more, GOTV calling more). For new
volunteers, assume 50% flake rate, so 1-3 actual shifts scheduled and

Voter Contact Formulas Doing the Math

Persuasion Phone Calls: Assume that you are asked to make 5000 persuasion calls
in 5 days. You will need 14 volunteers, each working a 3-hour shift and 14 phone lines
to call the list one time.
o Assume you do not have a predictive dialer. For volunteer persuasion calls,
assume you can make 25 dials per hour/per phone line. Divide to figure out how
many hours it will take to make the calls.
5000 attempted contacts 25 dials per hour = 200 hours
Divide by 5 days (the number of days you have to call)
= 40 calling hours per day

o To figure out how many phone lines, determine how many hours per line you will
be calling. If you assume you will have 3-hour shifts, then divide to determine how
many lines per day you will need (and how many volunteers per day you will need).
40 calling hours per day 3 hours per shift = 13.3 shifts (14)
per day. You will therefore need 14 phone lines and 14 volunteers
per day to make 5000 persuasion calls in 5 days.

o To figure out how many actual contacts you will make, assume a 25% contact rate
(based on calling through the list one time). You can expect at the end of five days
to have made 1,250 actual contacts.

o To figure out how many names and volunteers you would need to make 5000
contacts do the reverse.

5000 contacts 50% contact rate (based on calling the list

through 4 times) = 10,000 names/numbers to start with
10,000 x 2.5 (the factor for the number of dials to call though 4x) =
25,000 dials.
25,000 25 = 1000 hours
= 200 calling hours per day
= 67 shifts and volunteers

To figure out how long it would take to call one time through the list of 5,000 names
using a predictive dialer.
5000 attempted contacts 90 dials per hour = 56 hours
= 11 calling hours per day
= 4 stations and volunteer shifts

o To figure out how to make 5,000 contacts using a predictive dialer.

5000 contacts 20 contacts per hour = 250 calling hours
= 50 hours per day
= 14 shifts per day

Door-to-Door Canvassing. Assume that you are asked to knock 3600 households of
targeted voters in a dense urban district (although not every house will be knocked).
You want to know how many volunteers you will need to knock it in ten days. To knock
this number of houses in 10 days you will need 5 volunteers per day for 10 days, each
person working a 3-hour shift. You will make approximately 864 contacts.

Start with 3600 households. To calculate how many hours it will take:
3600 HH 25 doors knocked per hour = 144 hours

To calculate number of volunteers you need to determine how long a shift

will be:
144 hours 3 hour shifts = 48 shifts (or volunteers)
48 shifts (volunteers) 10 days = 4.8 (5) shifts (volunteers) per

To calculate the number of contacts:

144 hours x 6 contacts per hour = 864 contacts

GOTV Calling. Assume that you are asked to make 3000 GOTV calls on Monday as
part of a GOTV effort. You will need 9 lines and 34 volunteers calling in 3-hour shifts
over 12 hours.

For calculation purposes, assume that you will contact all 3000 with a
message or direct contact (since they have already been contacted in
some way).
3000 GOTV calls 30 calls per hour = 100 hours calling hours

Assume that you will be calling Monday 9 am - 9pm = 12 hours. To

determine how many phone lines are needed, divide the total number of
calling hours needed to complete the calls by the total number of hours
available to make the calls.
100 hours calling hours needed 12 hours total to call = 8.5 (9)

To determine the number of volunteers needed:

100 calling hours 3 hours shifts = 33.3 (34) volunteer shifts

This means that not every phone line has to be filled at every moment, but
that a full 33 shifts need to be filled over the 12 hour day.

Estimated Voter Contact Budget Cost Sheet

Below are some rough estimates for budget costs for voter contact both volunteer and

Voter Contact

Volunteer Phoning and Door knocking. If you are using non-campaign phone lines,
budget for leasing the phones back.
o Phone leasebacks: these can vary widely, but assume at least $1.00 per
line per hour + all long distance charges.
o Prepaid Phones: For non-fixed lines and creating mobile phone banks
expect $20-30 for the phone + $40-50 a month for unlimited calling.
o For predictive dialing, on top of all other phone expenses budget $0.12 per
caller per minute.
o Budget some money for food and other incidentals associated with
running a phone or door canvass operation.

Direct mail. For a full color flat mailed bulk assume $0.50 - $0.65 per piece inclusive
(design, printing, postage, and mail house handling) depending on the piece, the
number of pieces your are running, and mail house competition.

LIVE Paid Voter ID/Persuasion Calls/GOTV. Expect $0.95 to $1.25 per completed
call, depending on length of script and timing during election cycle. Usually a $3,500

ROBO Call. If a simple, short message, about $0.05 - $0.10 per contact. If a reverse
call to live person (e.g. for a volunteer recruitment call) it can run much more (up to 10x
the amount for a simple message).

Literature. Professional designer: $0.15 - $0.25 per piece; In-house design: $0.07 -
$0.20 per piece. Door hangers with cutouts for the doorknob run $0.15 - $0.20 apiece.

Lawn Signs. Union-made yard signs with 2 colors cost $3.00 - $4.00 each depending
on size and quantity.

Paid Staff

Paid Canvassing. Paid canvassers cost $10-12 per person per hour.

Field Director: $2,500-$3,500/month ($4,000 - $4,500 / month highly targeted races

or congressional or above)
Regional Field Director: $3,000 - $3,500/ month
Field Organizer: $2,250 - $2,750 / month

Fringe (health care plus payroll taxes) = assume at least 25% additional cost

* With thanks to John Hagner for helping to put together this resource.