Texting with When We All Vote
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with When We All Vote to text eligible voters across the country! There are a lot of ways to talk to potential voters about how to cast their ballot, and this is one of the best ways to engage and mobilize voters where they are—on their phones.
Below are resources to help you become a When We All Vote texting pro!
Please note: You will only be able to text between 9am – 9pm, local time.
Step 1: Sign up for a textbank and texting training session
To get started, sign up for a textbank (or two, or three!) with When We All Vote. Each textbank will begin with a 15 minute live training, covering everything you need to know to join our texting platform, Spoke. We’ll also talk through best practices for having effective conversations with voters, including how to handle opt-outs and how to use our prepared scripts and responses.
*Please note — If you don’t see any available textbanks on our event website, please sign-up for updates at https://whenweallvote.org/#join
Step 2: Create your Spoke account
When We All Vote uses a platform called Spoke to send text messages to potential voters, so you’ll never be texting from your own phone number.
You can access Spoke right from your computer, phone or tablet. You’ll receive a link to create your account during your first textbank and training session. You won’t be able to send texts until you’ve completed a training with When We All Vote!
P.S: If you volunteered with us in the past, we now have a new platform! The link you’ll receive is for Spoke, our new texting tool. Spoke is a web-based tool, so you can easily text on your computer or mobile browser without ever having to download an app!
Step 3: Start texting and taking action!
Texting eligible voters in Spoke is a simple, easy, and effective way to make an impact in your community and across the country.
There are three principles to remember when texting:
- Always be polite. As a volunteer, you represent the organization.
- You will only be able to send texts to voters from 9 am to 9 pm, the local time of the person you’re texting
- When a voter responds to you in Spoke, the most effective and best practice is to follow-up with them within the hour — so make sure you’re setting aside time not just to text, but to have the conversation as well!
- If people ask not to be messaged, respond with “STOP” or “REMOVE”, immediately opt them out.
Once you’ve downloaded Spoke and are ready to gets started, check out our best practices guide:
A few more reminders as you get started:
- Don’t get discouraged if people respond negatively when you send the initial text. If anyone responds with STOP or REMOVE, opt them out immediately.
- Don’t feel like you need to have all the answers. We want to direct voters to resources that can answer their questions because laws vary by state. Please don’t give any responses that aren’t in the FAQ’s or other provided materials. Voters with questions should call or text 866-OUR-VOTE
- Don’t engage in a conversation about political candidates, parties or specific issues. When We All Vote is a nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501c3 non-profit, and it is against the law for us to engage in partisan politics.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that you’ll come across while doing peer-to-peer texting, with guidance on how to respond. If you have additional questions, please reach out to one of our team members in our When We All Vote Slack on the #texting channel.
Q: What if I get asked a really specific question that I don’t know how to answer?
A: It’s ok — as a volunteer you don’t need to be an expert. Voting and voting laws can be complicated and we want to direct them to experts. Have them call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to answer their questions. One of the canned responses allows you to send this hotline number to them.
Q: What if someone responds to me the next day or after a text bank?
A: That’s ok! The most effective thing you can do to help register potential voters is to respond and make sure the voter has all of the information they need. Just remember to respond back within the hour if you can. If a potential voter has more questions, you can use our prewritten responses — if they have further questions, direct them call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)!
Q: What if I’m asked how I got their number?
A: Many people will be curious and you can let them know that their number was pulled from a publicly available database using our prewritten response. If they’re uncomfortable with that, you can offer to opt them out to stop them from receiving more messages.
Q: What’s When We All Vote?
A: When We All Vote is a nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, on a mission to increase voter participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting. Be sure to let people know that When We All Vote is co-chaired by Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Janelle Monae, and more!
Q: What if I’m asked if WWAV is trying to elect Democrats? Support or oppose Biden?
A: Never get into a conversation about partisan politics. As a nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a non-profit organization, this is a very serious issue for When We All Vote. Let people know that When We All Vote is non-partisan and that our mission is to help all eligible voters register to vote this fall. We do not support any candidates, parties, or support a particular position on issues. We want everyone to register and be ready to vote — regardless of whom they may support.
Q: Can I offer people anything in exchange for registering to vote?
A: No. It is against the law to offer anything that can be seen as an incentive to register to vote or to go out and vote.
Q: What do I do if I receive a vulgar message in response?
A: Keep calm and carry on. Don’t respond — just opt this person out. Unfortunately people can be very mean over text. Keep going because it is more important to reach others who need to be communicated with!
Q: I think I have texted the same person multiple times when they say “stop texting me”. Is this possible?
A: Our system will not allow you to text the same person twice. Please opt them out and move to the next person.
One last reminder:
You will only be able to send text messages between 9am-9pm in the time zone of the voters we are texting.