Supercharge your (remote) voter contact efforts with this new tool from Trailmapper
Chances are your campaign has already made the switch to some kind of remote model for your voter contact and canvassing operations. While some teams will strive in this socially-distant-field-program world, the new normal for political campaigns means organization cannot be taken for granted.
The Remote Advantage
Remote or “distributed” voter contact efforts offer campaign teams a number of advantages. The physical distance between campaign staff and volunteers makes it more difficult for campaign “campers” (you know, the type of volunteer who wastes more time *talking shop* than actually talking to voters) to inhibit other’s productivity.
Remote canvassing can be more convenient for volunteers too! Cutting out travel, parking, and related hassle makes the volunteer commitment easier to fulfill and less disruptive to their daily life.
The most common challenges and difficulties impeding distributed campaign teams from making remote canvassing efforts productive are related to volunteer management and workflow. Traditionally, the responsibilities of filling shifts, onboarding, training, and keeping volunteers accountable have been hands-on processes that dominate field staffer’s time. Managing volunteers can be overwhelming!
Enter Shifty — a new Trailmapper tool designed to address these common voter-contact pitfalls.
Scheduling & Filling Shifts
I have seen (and used) enough volunteer “shift tracker” spreadsheets to know that spreadsheets are — at best — a suboptimal solution for filling and tracking volunteer voter contact “shifts.” Before discussing an alternative, let me first explain why spreadsheets fail.
- Spreadsheets actually aren’t user-friendly for anyone (other than the creator). Even the most sophisticated Google Sheet, with all the fancy formatting, custom formulas, and nifty macros, isn’t a volunteer friendly tool. It really only helps your internal team visualize all of the clunky manual work that campaign staffers have already completed before manually logging their work into a spreadsheet.
- Spreadsheets are a time-suck. Think about how much time it takes to create the campaign-specific “tracker” spreadsheet, plus editing it, tweaking again, adding a new field that was missing from the original, then add all the time you spend manually updating it and keeping it current. Is this really a productive use of time? What are you getting back from the time investing in building and maintaining this spreadsheet?
Accountability & “Flake” Prevention
For field operations, the primary obstacle standing in the way of meeting voter contact goals is the dreaded “flake rate.” The term “flake” here is a verb and refers to the situation when a volunteer agrees to an activity and then for whatever reason cannot or does not deliver. No matter how good you are at recruiting volunteers, it is inevitable that some of those volunteers you recruit will not actually come through and fulfill their commitment. It is annoying, sure, but remember that volunteering for a political campaign doesn’t usually fit neatly into most people’s day-to-day lives.
Shifty addresses this friction with two simple but important innovations.
- Empowering volunteers to sign up for their own shifts creates an entirely different incentive personal incentive that naturally makes them more likely to keep their commitment.
- Utilizing familiar patterns and processes from volunteers non-political life make it easier and more convenient for volunteers to remember and thus keep track of their volunteer commitments.
When a someone signs up for volunteer shift using Shifty, they automatically receive a simple confirmation email (just like they would with any other appointment booking service) and a calendar event is a created on the campaign’s volunteer tracking calendar. The volunteer will also receive a calendar invite allowing them to add the event to their own calendar. From there your campaign team can set up additional automated reminders or triggered “nudges” that effortlessly and gently keep everyone accountable using familiar methods and strategies.
Onboarding, Training & FAQs
Trailmapper’s Shifty tool automates the tedious “next steps” that follow after a volunteer commits to a particular campaign activity by sending along important links and documentation like canvassing scripts, login portal links, FAQ documents, or training materials. Think about it this way, if you can save 10 minute the training/onboarding/repetitive question process and instead used those 10 minutes actually contacting voters, that equates to 10 additional volunteer voter contact calls or ~3 additional doors knocked!
Shifty is simple tool that makes filling volunteer shifts as easy as booking an appointment with your barber or making a dinner reservation. But the real magic happens behind the scenes, with automated confirmation emails, calendar events, calendar invites, and triggered “nudge” reminders.