Welcome to the RepresentUs Action Brigade Text Team! On this team, you’ll use our texting platform to connect with voters across the country and help fuel important anti-corruption victories. Textbanking is an exciting and fun way to take an impactful action.
How Textbanking Works
We use a platform called Spoke that allows you to have conversations with supporters very quickly via text message. You can help guide the supporters to an action or event that’s relevant to them and update them on campaigns in their area. We coordinate all of this in our online community on Slack. Our volunteers really enjoy textbanking and keep coming back for more!
Step 1: Make a Spoke account.
Step 2: Join our Slack and click on the #text-team channel. This is where you’ll ask a Text Team Captain for texts and receive a link to a group of texts to start your shift. These captains are available to help answer both your technical and policy-related questions!
You must send all the initial texts you are assigned before moving on to the next step. Once you have entered the campaign you were assigned, the initial message will be loaded for you. Repeatedly click the “send” button (using your mouse or the enter key) until all texts are sent.
Once you have sent all of your initial texts, refresh your dashboard to see the number of replies you’ve received and click on “Respond” to go to the new messages and start replying.
Using Recommended Replies
When you’re ready to respond to a text reply that you received, you can use the pre-written responses provided at the bottom of the page by RepresentUs organizers to help you answer the most commonly received replies for that campaign.
Find the reply that relates to the text reply you have received, click on it, and that language will simply populate into your texting conversation.
Feel free to add personal salutations into the reply before you click “send” to make it feel more personal, or to customize it for a situation that is a little different than the ones outlined in the recommended replies.
However, please remember that these responses have been carefully formulated and approved by our policy team, and we’d like you to use them whenever it is appropriate to do so.
Don’t see a recommended reply for the situation you’re dealing with? Don’t know which one to select? It’s always okay to wait and ask a Text Team Captain!
Skipping & Opting Out
There are two other very important functions on Spoke to be aware of:
- SKIP - Once you have had a conversation and gotten a clear answer or a final response from someone, you may click the “Skip” button at the bottom of the text conversation to move that conversation off of your screen. Doing so will not delete the conversation, it will move the conversation to a separate folder that you can access from your dashboard. This function helps keep your texts organized so you know which conversations you still need to respond to.
- OPT-OUT - Sometimes you will encounter people who no longer wish to receive text messages from RepresentUs. Sometimes they will politely ask to be removed from our list, and other times they won’t be so polite. A common response is “STOP”, which many people type because they think we are an automated system (like when you receive text updates from your bank or pharmacy). Regardless of the manner in which the request is made, please click the “opt-out” button at the bottom of the conversation to remove this person from our contacts. Don’t worry about sending another message to them to confirm the Opt Out, as that might provoke further agitation. It’s best to leave it there.
Spoke allows you to tag conversations to let RepresentUs HQ and Text Captains know what conversations need attention.
- Moved - Sometimes you’ll be sending texts into a specific region with an ask that requires the person you’re talking to to live in that area. When you encounter someone who has moved out of state, use the Moved tag to let HQ know to update their info.
- Wrong Number - Sometimes you’ll text a different person than what’s on file who doesn’t want to be opted out. In these cases, use the Wrong Number tag to let HQ know to update their info.
- Elevate to HQ - In the instance that a conversation gets overwhelming or makes you uncomfortable, use the Elevate to HQ tag to pull in a Text Captain or HQ Staffer to handle it.
Signing off for the day
One of the most important things to note when asking for a text assignment is that you will not only be responding to people who reply to you right away, but also to people who respond to you later. When signing off for the day, Spoke has a feature you can use to release your texts to make sure they get answered after your shift is finished.
Before you sign on and start texting, here are three very important principles to ensure that you and the people you interact with have a positive experience:
- RESPECT - You will have a wide range of texting conversations, some of which will be very heartwarming and easy, and some that will be more challenging. We encourage you to offer lots of enthusiasm for anyone who is willing to have conversations with you, whether or not they initially agree with the RepresentUs position on a campaign. However, please know that you are not expected to engage in conversations with people that are disrespectful to you, and in turn, we ask that you never get into arguments or speak disrespectfully to anyone you are texting on behalf of RepresentUs. While it’s a good policy to be persuasive and patient with people, we don’t want you to waste your time having a lengthy conversation with someone who has no intention of participating in our asks or changing their mind about an issue. Sometimes your conversation will be planting a seed that will need to be watered by future interactions with RepresentUs, so a few back-and-forth messages with only the pushbacks we have pre-written for you are enough. We want you to focus on conversations where you can make an impact.
- CONSENT - It is legally and morally imperative that if anyone asks to be removed from our list, you remove them. Please do not continue to text anyone who says “STOP,” “do not contact me anymore,” “please remove me from your list,” or anything else that implies they do not want to communicate with you.
- CROSS-PARTISANSHIP - RepresentUs is a movement for everyone, regardless of political affiliation. Sometimes, people will respond to you using partisan language. We ask that you always focus on why our campaigns benefit everyone across the political spectrum.
For more textbanking tips, join our Textbank Trainings at 12pm ET every week on Wednesdays!
Check in with the Text Captain on duty if you have questions on Slack. If you're not on Slack, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.