When I ran for office, I quickly realized that getting elected is an immense amount of work. It’s not for the faint of heart and it is definitely not something you can do alone. Since most campaigns have limited budgets, volunteers are often the key to success. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your volunteers’ time.
Cherish your volunteers
Many campaigns spend so much time trying to recruit volunteers, that they forget to treat them well once they come on board. Treating your volunteers well can be more important than recruiting them.
Leverage your volunteers’ networks
Depending on the volunteer, their personal networks can be dramatically more important to your campaign than the time they can give you. If a volunteer knows 1K voters, you will be better off having them reach out to their friends instead of stuffing envelopes. VoterCircle’s Friend-to-Friend Outreach Platform is a particularly effective way to leverage volunteers in this manner.
Respect your volunteers’ time
Treat your volunteer’s time as your own. Make sure the tasks you assign them will add real value to the campaign. If a volunteer feels their time is being wasted, they will either stop being a volunteer or give you less time.
Plan out your entire campaign from day one and continually update that plan. If you need to give out flyers and deliver yard signs in the same neighborhood, have your volunteers do that in one trip instead of multiple occasions. Time savings like this can only be done with good planning.
If you have volunteers coming into help, have everything you need for them to do (i.e. be organized and ready before they arrive). In a 2-hour shift, the last thing a volunteer wants to do is wait 20 minutes while you get a walk list together.
Make it fun
Try and find different ways to make task entertaining and engaging. Have competitions. Play music. Be creative.
Say thank you
Don’t forget to thank your volunteers and do it often.
Sangeeth Peruri is the CEO and founder of VoterCircle, a relational organizing platform that dramatically reduces the time and cost of outreach. He serves on the boards of the Los Altos School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Principal’s Exchange, Think Together and Beyond12. In his spare time, he is a fitness fanatic and competed on American Ninja Warrior 6 (check out his video here).