Valuing Volunteers

It is a topic of conversation around a lot of campaigns, from small, local elections to national ones-how to recruit, incentive and energize volunteers to get the work accomplished on the ground that every campaign needs to win.

It starts with one, simple phrase: value them.

We have long preached that there are two campaign resources that you as a candidate (or campaign manager) will never have enough of. They are time and volunteers. If you run a decent campaign, the money will come.

But you will never have enough time or volunteers. When it comes to volunteers, their time is just as important a campaign commodity as they themselves.

Rule #1 for valuing volunteers is this: give them manageable chunks of time and tasks that are easy to accomplish. Accomplishing goals is a incredible motivator as is the thought, “I don’t have to commit all day Saturday for multiple Saturdays in a row to help my candidate win.”

Rule #2 for valuing volunteers. Help them be successful. This is where we come in as a Sidekick team and platform. There are a lot of hurdles to clear when it comes to voter contact, especially when you rely heavily on volunteers. Chief among them is a system that is stable and reliable, that “shows up” every day. Volunteers have a lot of other things going on in their lives. They don’t have the time to sit around while a voter contact platform is rebooted for the 4th day in a row as they sit on the curb in GOTV rich neighborhoods. We as a team want volunteers to have 100% confidence in the platform. We also want them to enjoy their time on it. You burn volunteers one too many times with shoddy technology, guess what? They won’t show up when you need them the most.

Rule #3 for valuing volunteers. Create roles for them as quickly as possible and get them plugged in. It’s not always going to be door knocking and phone banking. It could be connecting with voters through social media. It could be managing yard sign placement (yes, we said yard signs). It could be managing other volunteers, from making sure that the campaign has enough volunteers on every day of activity to making sure those volunteers are fed. People volunteer for campaigns for a reason-they want to help you. Help them help you by engaging them quickly with an easy and simple plan.

Rule #4 for valuing volunteers. Don’t waste their time with useless activities. You have one goal with your campaign. To win. Make sure you manage your most precious commodities, time and volunteers, well.

These are just a few simple things that can help you power your campaign. Campaign season moves fast, faster than you think. Create your plans early.

Drew Ryun