“Hi! This is Lisa calling from Dogwood. We are phoning our supporters
today to see if they plan to vote. Are you going to vote next Tuesday?”
“This is Dogwood?”
“Great! I never answer unknown numbers, but I’m so glad I did this time. I’m going to put you in my contacts so I won’t miss a call from you in the future.”
This is an actual conversation I had last night with a man in Maple Ridge. It was fun, funny and made me feel great about the people I share my province with.
I have done a lot of phone banking in the past. I have phone fundraised for a non-profit, phone canvassed for political parties during elections, and in university I even got a job phoning newly accepted university students. But in all that time, I have never had such wonderful conversations with people on the other end of the line like I have this week.
Why? Because Dogwood isn’t asking them to do a lot. Just vote. That’s it. We aren’t checking voting preferences or starting conversations about issues — we’re just giving voters information that they need. And they are genuinely excited to hear from us.
Dogwood’s newest staffer, Adam, phoned a voter who was just leaving a skytrain station where her choir had been singing to commuters about voting. She even sang him a couple lines of their song.
Over a hundred Dogwood volunteers are making phone calls to and from all over the province. Some, like Bryan in Vancouver, are hosting groups of callers at phone bank parties. Others are phoning from the comfort of their own home, as Shannon does in Abbotsford, calling three hours a day before work.
I’m phoning from the Burnaby office every day after I’m done work, along with my Dogwood co-workers and a group of volunteers from the area. The buzz of energy in our office is palpable. Callers are smiling and laughing — each great call makes the energy in the room grow.
Last night, Dogwood staffer Kai received a Get Out the Vote call while making GOTV calls. And a volunteer in Vancouver called another volunteer who was also making phone calls with Dogwood. It really makes you feel like you are part of something powerful.
This work is important: first time voters are being given guidance on what to do; voters who have moved are being told where to go in their new neighbourhoods; voters without a voter registration card are being told what to bring. All of these things make a difference.
And it’s working. Advance voting numbers have been huge so far and Elections BC is expecting this election to have the biggest advance voting turnout yet, which means general voter turnout will be up as well. That doesn’t happen by accident. There are volunteers working behind the scenes to counter political parties’ voter suppression tactics and to make sure voters get to the polls.
But these phone calls are about more than just voting. We are talking to our fellow British Columbians, connecting over something that matters to all of us — the future of our province. We are learning about each other, sharing stories and jokes. Ultimately, we are building a community — a network of people across the province who care about B.C.
There is nothing more powerful than that.