Top 6 Places to Find Volunteers for Your Political Campaign
As you plan your run for office, it will quickly become apparent that a political campaign is not a one-person show. Quite the opposite, in fact. Political campaigns are all about people – the candidate, the campaign team, the voters, and the volunteers.
Volunteers are truly the backbone of any successful political campaign. When you want to host a rally to connect with prospective voters, it’s the volunteers who set it all up and tear it all down. Hoping to build goodwill by participating in the local homecoming parade? Without volunteers to handle signage and decorations, your undecorated vehicle will be a pretty pitiful float entry.
Volunteers are on your side because they believe in who you are and what you want to do. In addition, they’re willing to DO something about it. What could be better than that?
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
The big question is, then, where do you find these absolutely essential volunteers for your political campaign? Below, we’ve identified the top six arenas you should search in order to find volunteers.
1. Friends and Family
The first place you should look for volunteers is the circle of people closest to you – your friends and family. These are the individuals most likely to already be on your [proverbial] team, so it just makes sense that you would ask them to join your real team.
When it comes to family, recruit your spouse, parents, siblings, kids, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, and more. Your circle of friends may produce a bit more variety. In addition to your lifelong BFF and book club or golf scramble pals, perhaps your hairdresser has been encouraging you to run for months or you have a great friendship with your doctor or dentist. These are the people you want on your side! Remember, friends are the family you choose, and who also choose you, so having their tangible support is a huge boost (and they’ll also be your best promoters!).
2. Local Political Parties and Social Action Groups
Another smart place to find volunteers is by taking the time to build relationships with your local political and social action groups. Attending meetings and gatherings may lead you to like-minded people who want to get involved and make a difference. The fact that they’re already getting out of the house to meet with others who share their beliefs is a good indicator that they may be willing to lend a hand. You can also get a good idea of the leadership and organizational skills of potential volunteers by watching them in action.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”Mahatma Gandhi
3. Donors to Your Campaign
This might go without saying, but if someone is willing to give money in support of your candidacy, it’s worth finding out if they’d also be willing to give their time to get that win. If you’re worried about offending them, don’t be. They may even be waiting for you to ask. It just makes smart financial sense to take action to help your investment succeed!
4. Word of Mouth from Existing Volunteers
Kevin Bacon isn’t the only one who’s six (or fewer) degrees away. When it comes to tracking down a crew of fabulous volunteers, we often forget to ask the volunteers we already have whether they know any other willing and able volunteers who would love to be asked. It bears repeating, those who fully support and believe in your candidacy will always be your best promoters. Take the time to visit with your team so you don’t miss out on any other all stars!
5. Social Media
One of the quickest methods for recruiting volunteers is to connect with supporters online via social media. A single tweet or Facebook post can travel around the globe in seconds. Simply being asked can be all it takes to motivate one of your online followers to join the campaign irl (in real life). Share your need for volunteers on all platforms, then let the power of social media multiply your efforts!
6. Everyday Life
Finally, one of the most oft-overlooked volunteer reservoirs is the pool of people you see in the course of your everyday life. These are the individuals who are acquaintances, but not your best pals. They are the ones you smile and say hi to but may not have ever seen outside the context of your daily routine – bus drivers, grocery store employees, coffee shop proprietors. If you just take the time to ask, you may be surprised at who is willing to jump on your bandwagon!
Leveraging Your Volunteer Base
We’ve established that there are plenty of areas in your life where you should look to recruit volunteers for your political campaign. However, it is essential that you also have a strategy in place for keeping track of those who say yes to your ask and for connecting with them beyond that moment. Sure, you could go low-tech and haul a clipboard around with you all day long, but then you still have to aggregate all the names on your lists, especially if you have already sent others close to you out on the campaign volunteer recruitment trail.
Instead, you could customize your own campaign business cards or campaign flyers that direct potential volunteers to visit a designated landing page on your website (use a QR code for ease of use). That page should allow individuals to share their contact details with you along with how they’d like to help with your campaign, including the opportunity to give financially. Who knows – some of your volunteer prospects may also choose to become donors, but only if you take the time to ask!
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“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”