How to Do Effective Event Recruitment


The most tried-and-true way we know to get people out to Council-led events is to pick up the phone and call them. Think about how many emails you get in your inbox. A good phone conversation makes a much stronger impression.

Calling pays off. An hour of calls brings out an average of 3 additional people to your event -- so if you make a plan in which 10 people each make calls for 2 hours the week before the event, you could bring out an additional 60 people to your event.

Tips for planning a strong recruitment drive

  • Set a goal for your Council. Can you get at least 10 hours of recruitment calling between all of the members of your Council? That's five people making two hours of calls. If you can do more, great! Remember, the more time spent calling, the more people you'll turn out to your event.
  • Line people up to make calls with advance notice. You'll have a lot more success getting people to commit to making calls if you schedule in advance.
  • Plan a recruitment call party. It's more fun to make the calls together. Plus this way, people can learn best practices from each other. Have everyone bring their cell phones to someone's house. Make it a potluck, if you'd like.

Tips for making effective calls

  • Have fun. Remember, you're not making "cold calls" to random strangers! You're calling active MoveOn members, who are generally glad to hear about progressive organizing happening in their area.
  • Be yourself. There's a basic call script below, but please make it your own. Think about why the issue is important to you. Let that come through in your conversation.
  • Smile when you're talking on the phone. It sounds silly, but it changes the tone of your voice and puts people at ease. Also, be enthusiastic about what you're inviting people to do -- and how they can make a difference.
  • Move through your calls by balancing connection with efficiency. While you should look for opportunities to have real conversations -- not just sell them on the action or the campaign -- the length of the call should convey urgency. So, move quickly, and talk with as many people as possible, since that's how we'll build our movement.
  • Don't get discouraged. A lot of people will say no -- that's okay, and it's just part of the "math." Getting people involved and building a grassroots movement takes time and persistence.

Good recruitment conversations include the "4 C's":

    1. Make a connection. Take the time to get to know, or catch up with, your fellow MoveOn members at the start of the conversation.
    2. Provide context. Say a little about why you're involved with MoveOn? Why is this campaign or event important?
    3. Ask for a firm commitment. Just ask. Can they participate? Make sure you're asking them for something specific.
    4. Catapult the person into action. Be ready to offer a concrete step they can take to get involved (e.g. RSVP for the event, join the Council, etc).

You can also get helpful tips from MoveOn Field Organizer Matthew Simmons here in this video:

How to use the recruitment call tool

The MoveOn Council call tool makes it easy to get a list of the most active MoveOn members in your area -- to call and invite them to your event.

If you are a MoveOn Council member, you can simply go to your Council page, find your event, and click "Make Recruitment Calls" -- and then start making calls to MoveOn members in your area. Here are those steps, broken down:

  1. Go to your Council Page and log in.
  2. Click "Event Recruitment Tool."
  3. Then follow the prompts.
  4. If there are other nearby MoveOn events, these may come up too -- be sure to select your Council's event.
  5. You will have to decide how many names to check out.
  6. You will also have to decide if you want to make calls from a list on your screen, or to print your list.
  7. Use and adapt the sample script below, and start calling!
  8. Be sure to report your results. This is important because this is how the MoveOn members you call will receive the details about the event! Note: if you print your list, it is important that you take a few minutes at the end to call in your results.


Talk to your Recruitment Organizer or Council Organizer if you run into any questions.

Sample call script



"Hi, is ______ there? Hi, _____, this is _____, I’m a volunteer with the _____ MoveOn Council. I'd like to tell you about an upcoming event about _____ [the issue]. Do you have a few minutes?

[If no, ask when you should call again.]

[If yes] "Great. Well, let me ask you first, what do you think about _____ [something about the issue -- e.g. "How do you feel about corporate influence in our Democracy?"]

[Listen and respond to them. The goal here is to ask a question that will enable you to connect with the person first and find out more about them. You can ask whatever question is comfortable for you.]


"I’m calling because we’re having an event in _____[city] on ___[day and date].

[The example below is for a Community Forum on corporate influence in democracy-- adapt for whatever event you're recruiting for.]

"We're holding a Community Forum to discuss corporate influence in our Democracy, and to share stories of how we've been affected. The forum will also be a space where we generate ideas and solutions about what we can do together -- locally and across the country -- to fix the problem.

"Wall Street and big corporations have a real stranglehold on our political system. The Supreme Court's recent decision (that awards corporations the same rights as people in elections) is really the last straw. This is a moment when we need to build progressive grassroots momentum on a national level. That's why we're organizing these Community Forums all across the country.

"What do you think of this idea?

[Listen and respond to them.]


"The event is happening at ____ [time] on ______ [day and date], at ______ [venue] in ______ [city]. We're trying to get as many folks as possible to come. Can you make it?


[If yes] "Great! I’m glad you’re coming – it should be a good time, and this is such an important issue.

"Here are all the details [address, restate time and date]. After we get off the phone, you'll get an email with all of the details too.
[Note: If you're using the recruitment call tool, be sure to report that the person is a "yes" -- they will then automatically receive the information.]

"Also, do you have any friends or family members who might be interested in coming? Please let them know about the event. When you look at the event online, you can send email invitations to others right from that page.

"Well, I’m really looking forward to meeting you there. Again, my name is ______. Look for me at the event!"

[If they are not planning to attending] "No worries—hopefully we’ll catch you next time."

If the person you call is really enthusiastic, give them an opportunity to get more involved. Here are a few ideas:

  • Invite them to come early to help set up and greet people.
  • Invite them to a planning meeting, if you have any coming up.
  • Ask them to make recruitment or reminder phone calls to other area MoveOn members.