We’ve been talking about the many ways of communicating and disseminating your message. Today we’ll discuss volunteers…perhaps the least appreciated means of spreading a campaign message.

Looking for Help in Your Campaign? Call Jay at (845) 458-1210. The call is FREE.

Volunteers can be used for many essential components of a campaign. They can put up posters and yard signs, write letters to the editor, make phone calls, recruit other volunteers, host events, get signatures on petitions, knock on doors and hand out literature at post offices, malls and public events.

Once you have them, good volunteers are priceless. How do you keep them?

  • They need to have fun. Even when they are walking in the rain, or hot sun, or a snowstorm. So, in addition to the work, do fun things like pizza parties, birthday celebrations, or take them to a concert.
  • They need to feel appreciated. They can never be thanked too many times, and as often as possible, the candidate needs to be the one doing the thanking.
  • Do not waste their time. When they report for work, their tasks should be clear, instructions printed and ready to go. If they are putting up yard signs, they should know where and be given a map.

If they are going door to door, they should have their walk list, scripts, literature, canvassing materials, electronic devices set up and ready to go, along with a printed route map so they don’t get lost and waste their time.

If they are making phone calls, the phone lists should be printed or entered into the dialing machine, with scripts next to their phone, and materials to record the results of their calls.

  •  They need to know they are part of an important cause. Give them a shirt with the candidate’s logo, or a hat, or a badge that clearly identifies them as part of a campaign. And of course, they should be well dressed if you expect voters to open their doors.
  • Have a treat for them when they return to headquarters from a task. Soda, pizza, sandwiches and snacks.

Volunteers are extremely valuable during the final stages of a campaign. Ideally, you want the voters in your election day coalition to have personal contact with the campaign three times during the last 72 hours of an election. One phone call. Two visits to their house or apartment.

On election day, you want volunteers at polling locations, keeping track of who has voted so that other volunteers can call voters who haven’t.

No campaign can ever have too many volunteers. Every year in this country there are hundreds of political contests decided by a handful of voters. Nine times out of 10, the winner had the better organization and made the better effort of mobilizing their volunteers during the final days of the campaign.

Even in statewide contests, they can determine who is elected Governor, or Senator. And if you are a student of politics, you already know they can sometimes determine who sits in the Oval Office.

Have questions? Call me at 845-458-1210, or email me at [email protected].

Last Week’s Video: Running for Office? Using Newspaper Ads in a Political Campaign

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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