Written by Alexis Valdez Darnell, Managing Director
It’s a catch 22…
You jump in the race early, you’re running on a shoestring budget and operating without a field staff or an actual campaign headquarters, and you have supporters and volunteers who are ready and eager to help. Our greatest fear is if we don’t engage them early, we’ll lose them, or they’ll lose interest… it’s important to strike while the iron is HOT.
It all comes down to creative brainstorming and creating easy and efficient ways to keep supporters involved – that’s where online and digital efforts can help.
Traditional voter activity like phone calls and door-knocking is KING… but being over a year out from an election, you’ll likely have volunteers who will say it’s too early to do person to person contact or, like many volunteers, they want to help, but they don’t want to do THAT.
So… let’s give them something meaningful to do!
Rules of thumb:
Ensure volunteers feel needed, valued, and utilized according to their skills and interests.
Invest the time in proper training and early support.
Emphasize the WHY behind their tasks and the value it adds.
Data Work - On a campaign, there is always data work to be done. Whether that be data entry, collecting and securing lists that help ID voters, or adding contact information to your campaign house file. This is an EXTREMELY valuable ongoing task that volunteers can do from the comfort of their own home, at their own pace, and with little training. News, current events, tracking opponents - When you find the right person, it’s always helpful to have an extra set of hands scouring the internet for candidate mentions, event opportunities, or compiling news and articles of interest that might be valuable to the candidate. - While most campaigns on shoestring budgets can’t hire an opposition tracker, it’s also helpful to have someone following your opponent’s social media pages, email blasts, and online activity. The right person could be a volunteer that is willing to track your opponent and quietly record their remarks - you never know if they’ll be handed that rare silver bullet when you least expect it. - The true challenge is creating social media content to post every single day. Plug the information from volunteers into your social and email calendar. Or better yet, ask someone to help draft basic content for you to consider! Online support/building momentum - Creating a Social Media Strikeforce Team/Captain (create your own unique name), is a fun and engaging way to keep your volunteers active online while increasing your following, building your campaign’s momentum, and reaching voters you might not otherwise be able to communicate with before you start voter contact spending. - A few ways to do that is to create a resource page/center for your supporters. Include digital assets they can use on social media, email and online, to share information while encouraging their friends and followers to join along. Some examples of these materials are:
Downloadable “Social Share Graphics” for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Facebook Frames to show their support
Drafted language and links readily available for volunteers who need a little help with what to say.
Downloadable endorsement forms to sign-up supporters and collect email addresses for your house file
Provide direction on how “Rapid Response Team Members” can be ready to post support, express opposition, share/retweet, and spread the word
In campaigns, there are NEVER enough hands to do all the work that must be done much less all the work that can be done so be creative and take advantage of every person willing to help. It’s never too soon to mobilize support!