Every campaign, whether to elect someone to office or to advocate for a policy position, must have three core components: a competent leader who heads the movement, the resources to conduct constituent outreach, and a great field organizer who puts it all together. The first two components are self-evident and are what many campaigns focus upon. What campaigns often overlook is the choice of field organizer. This is a mistake, as this person will maximize resources and enhance the message of the leadership. In most cases, the investment in a top field organizer pays massive dividends.
In seeking out a superior field organizer, try to envision a “closet-organizing street preacher.” This is an exaggerated way to say you’re looking for someone who is fastidious about details while still being your campaign’s evangelist. It’s an important job that requires someone that can tap into both their emotional and quantitative abilities.
So, where does one find such a unicorn? It may not be as hard as you think. Whether you are a campaign manager or a candidate yourself, you know the people that support your cause. Start there. Talk with those that know you best and ask them who they would recommend. Chances are one of them will know someone with analytical skills that also believes in what you espouse. Alternatively, you may find the people you speak with are the perfect candidates themselves. Make sure to gather a list of those you feel are potential hires. In deciding on whom to select from this list, focus on the person who best meets the following skills:
The person you hire will be responsible for recruiting, training, and motivating volunteers. As any campaign manager knows, the work of volunteers is critical in message outreach. A lackluster program ignores key constituents and misses the chance to capture wavering voters. However, it takes an inspiring leader that can work with volunteers to avoid these potential pitfalls. The field organizer will understand the schedules, strengths, and limitations of said volunteers, and will place them in positions to succeed. This leads to content supporters who often go the extra mile because they trust the organization respects their efforts.
2. Organizational skills
This may seem obvious to someone named a field organizer, but the reality is this person will be spinning plates in a time-compressed and pressure-packed atmosphere. Even the most patient person will struggle if they get bogged down with schedules and busywork. A top field organizer will know how to prioritize, communicate to all parties in a clear manner, and quickly learn the campaign tools at this person’s disposal (such as the database). Sometimes even research, recommend and implement new tools to improve voter outreach. An organized field program will permeate the entire campaign, and will also assist with the organization’s policy and fundraising teams.
3. Unwavering support for the cause
Hiring a mercenary that possesses the above capabilities may seem like the way to go, but the reality is people know when you’re faking it. Having a field organizer that believes in the cause; that espouses what’s important and good about the campaign exudes energy throughout the entire team. However, this isn’t just important for inspiring volunteers. There are times where this is necessary for motivating the candidate or the campaign manager, as most people suffer the doldrums that inevitably come with a long campaign. Knowing the person in charge of the field program is advocating for the cause or the candidate is an invaluable energy boost.
Again, it’s not always easy to find the right person, but the effort is worth it. The piece of mind that comes from knowing your field organizer understands the message, has the outreach program operating flawlessly, and has the volunteers motivated is what will maximize the campaign’s ability to achieve its ultimate goal.Tags: campaign management, field organizer