To win virtually any election – from local school board vacancies to a U.S. Senate seat, you need to reach out to as many voters as possible. History shows that advertising alone is not enough. You need to canvass voters, talk to them and listen to their needs, in person and over the phone. That is what wins elections.
But doing so is no easy task for any single candidate or his paid staff. To reach far more voters, in less time, you need to build an army of volunteers. Their hard work and passion for your campaign can pay off tremendously – as long as you keep them motivated and on-track.
Here are some simple tips for attracting and leveraging volunteers for your political campaign:
- Often, you’ll find your most dedicated volunteers while performing other canvassing work. They are the supporters who are most passionate about your views and policies.
- Whenever you speak to voters, in person or over the phone, ask those who strongly support your policies to get involved by signing up as a volunteer.
- Keep track of all volunteer sign-ups and follow up as quickly and as often as possible. If you wait too long, they may lose interest.
- Check with your local political parties and organizations, where you’re likely to find people who are already interested in getting involved in campaigning.
- Host events as frequently as possible – these are opportune times to sign up your most loyal supporters as volunteers.
- Recruit at local colleges and universities, where you’re likely to find students who have a lot more time to contribute than those who are working full-time jobs.
- Recommended Reading: How to Find Volunteers for Your Political Campaign
Putting Your Volunteers to Work
- Every time you get a volunteer sign-up, give them something to do – immediately. Sign them up for a specific event or activity, and hold them to it. Otherwise, you may never hear from them again.
- Treat volunteers like actual paid campaign staff – their work is just as important. Show them the respect they deserve for volunteering their time and energy to your campaign.
- As you build a large base of volunteers, keep them organized. Break them up into focused groups based on their interests and experience: for example, a group for event management, a group for phone banking, and so on.
- Elevate your most dedicated volunteers. As your volunteer base grows, reward your most active workers with higher-level campaign work, stipends or even a paid position.
- Check for consistency. Don’t let your growing volunteer base get out of hand. Remind volunteers that they are the face of the campaign, just as any other staffers are. Be sure they are representing the campaign professionally at all times, whether they’re handling the donations on your website or knocking on doors.
- Recommended reading: How to Manage Political Campaign Volunteers