Finding Campaign Volunteers
Campaign volunteers are a precious and incredibly valuable asset. No campaign is won by the candidate alone. Finding people to volunteer is not rocket science, but it takes time. As a candidate, you should plan and prepare for your needs in advance. This means recruiting volunteers before you need them.
You don’t want to be alone in the campaign office, staring at thousands of letters to fold, stuff, stamp and seal by yourself when you finally begin to appreciate the difference volunteers can make.
To help you avoid this situation, here are five tips on where to find those incredibly valuable campaign volunteers. For ever more tips and instruction, check out our full GetElected lesson on Volunteers.
1. Friends and Family
OK, this is the easy one. Your personal contacts and your family are the perfect place to start looking. In all likelihood, they want to do as much as possible to help you win your race. Aside from writing a check, this is how they help.
2. Local Political Parties and Groups
When you first start out as a candidate, you may not have a robust list of supporters. Find your local political party and start attending their events and meetings. Are there special interest groups with whom you share views? For example, if you’re pro-environment, find the local chapter of the Sierra Club.What about online groups for Democrats and Progressives like Indivisible? They can be an excellent way to connect local people willing to help.
3. Campaign Donors
Political campaigns often forget to ask their donors to volunteer. There’s a belief that once a person writes a check, that’s all they’ll do. Not true. Donors want their investment to succeed and many are willing to donate their time. No one will be offended if you ask. Just don’t be pushy.
4. Social Media
The key to finding volunteers, just like raising money, is to ask. Social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or any other tool is the perfect place to recruit new people. Often some of your best volunteers come from someone reposting or sharing your request.
5. Other Campaign Volunteers
Do you already have volunteers helping out on the campaign? Ask them if they know of other people who may be interested. Volunteering, like virtually everything else in life, is usually more fun with friends. You’ll be surprised how successful this can be.
6. Secret Bonus Tip! Everyone You Meet Everywhere
As you can see, there are no magic lists or trade secrets to recruiting volunteers for your campaign. No matter where you are: a debate, a speech, a church, a fundraiser, etc., everyone you meet is a potential campaign volunteer. Finding and recruiting campaign volunteers takes time. The reality of every political campaign is there is always too much to do, and not enough time, money or people to accomplish it all. The more people you have helping you, the better. Remember, people are willing to help, if you ask.