Maybe it’s being cooped up under stay-at-home orders for months. Maybe it’s the unending blast of haunting images that run through our Twitter feeds and news channels. Or maybe complacency has just run its course. Whatever the reason, people are marching, donating, and speaking up in a way they haven’t seen since the Vietnam War-weary ‘70s.
If you’re a long-time activist or among the freshly energized, you may find yourself phone banking, especially in this presidential election year. Not the thing where you check your savings account balance—we’re talking about making calls to fundraise for a candidate, encourage people to vote, and the like.
Just as the other phone banking is something of an anachronism in the era of mobile apps, the term “political phone banking” is an awkward fit in the time of coronavirus. Where are you going to find an actual bank of phones in 2020? It’s not like you can just stroll in a candidate’s HQ in your local strip mall, sit down at a fold-out table, and start dialing for dollars on a landline.
If you’re phone banking today, you’re likely at home, using your own phone. That number is a critical part of your identity. So if you care about your privacy—and you should—we’ve got some tips for how to protect it as you campaign.
Use a pseudonym
You’re talking to strangers that don’t need to know who you are, so give them a fake name. Have fun with it! Create an alter ego that lives out your wildest fantasies or just adds a little dramatic flair to your calls. Or you can use a name that evokes your candidate’s signature policy. Whatever you do, your name is a key part of connecting the virtual you and the real you, so cover it up.
Mask your number
Do you really want your number showing up in caller ID on a bunch of strangers’ phones? You could disable caller ID before each call, but when someone sees “No Caller ID” pop up, good luck getting them to answer. Instead, set up a Burner account so you have a second phone number that keeps your real number anonymous. Bonus: If you use our in-app calling, you won’t even need to eat up your phone plan’s minutes.
Blend in with the locals
If your home state isn’t competitive, you may be thinking about volunteering to phone bank in a swing state. Calling people from a number with the same area code as them is a good way to gain all-important credibility. When you create a Burner number, we’ll let you choose the area code. Not only will you look like a good neighbor, but you’ll also keep your actual location private.
Shut down inbound calls
Political phone banking is usually about making calls, not receiving them. Having a voicemail box isn’t all that important. In the Burner app, all you need to do is turn off rings and notifications to turn your number into a one-way street. You’ll be able to make all the calls you want, and if someone tries to call, you won’t even notice. And don’t worry—if you ever miss a call that you wanted, it will still show up in your Burner phone call history.
One election, one number
Burner lets you create multiple numbers, so you can have one just for phone banking. Even if you’ve got other reasons to use Burner, like for online dating or work, you can keep a separate phone banking number. Come November 4, you can easily close out the number—and hopefully a successful election.
Ready to start dialing? Before you head out, set up your Burner phone. It’s one simple, straightforward way to maintain your privacy while you’re doing your part to support the causes you care about.