As a field organizer for a political campaign, whether it’s for a candidate or a cause, your most important assets are your volunteers. Most will come to you with great intentions, but, as with most campaigns, momentum often wains. Volunteers have lives as well and it is rare to find those that will instinctively do what the campaign needs. Often, they need training, motivation when times are tough, and tangible results to show their work is making a difference. All this along with your regular tasks of identifying voters, making sure the field plan is working, and converting your message into identified voters.
Oh, and you’ll probably get paid little and work very long hours.
Making a difference is tough; if it were easy, everyone would do it. However, it need not be impossible. There are numerous tools out there that can make your work – and that of your volunteers – more efficient, economical and, most importantly, effective. These tools, once integrated into the campaign, can translate your message into action, and action into votes.
So, what are these tools? For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to focus on how to improve your outreach game as a field organizer.
One of the most effective tools for outreach is person-to-person communication. By that, I mean getting volunteers or supporters actually talking to other people, either through calls, texts or face to face. Automated email or social media posts have their limits in terms of being able to convert.
One of THE quickest and easiest methods to scale person to person communication is phone banks and text messages. And this is regardless of whether you are fundraising, recruiting volunteers, or getting out the vote (GOTV). You need to find the tools that can help you accomplish these goals in a way that is quantifiable, involves minimal training, and fits within your budget.
In the early days of a campaign, it’s important to identify and engage volunteers. Collect this information early through forms, either physical, through a phone, or email. Social media works great too! Include all the people your core team has inputted into your CRM or ( even excel sheet ) who they think/know will be good reliable supporters. Use the forms to identify their specific concerns, their time commitment, and their level of involvement. Recruiting and integrating these early supporters into the campaign will help in executing the rest of your field plan.
Once you have a team of volunteers on board – and a plan to integrate new ones as they join – you will start to identify potential voters. Divide voters among volunteers and have them contact each assigned voter. You can do this through your CRM like NationBuilder. If door to door is unfeasible, call or text voters and establish their supporter level. If you use a peer to peer texting tool or an automated phone bank service, all the information obtained will be merged into the database, making future follow-up more pertinent to the voter and allow the campaign to fine-tune its message and approach.
Finally, as the campaign concludes, it’s so important to make sure that those voters you identified as supporting your issue come out when it counts – Election Day. This is where phone & text banking from the cloud is critical. Your volunteers may not be able to come to the campaign headquarters, but having them call from wherever they are is a valuable feature. As your poll watchers identify who has already voted, your campaign can drill down to those who haven’t voted. Your message can emphasize the importance of voting, where they can get a ride to the polls, and when said polls close.
More than ever, having an integrated communication system is crucial for any campaign and an absolute must for the field organizer. Every second your volunteers saves is Time you can use to expand the campaign and see your enduring efforts become reality.