Buy the book!
There's an easy way to get an instant raise on any political job, a hidden bit of knowledge that will give you thousands of dollars at your next job offer, buying and reading this book will give you that nugget. Buy the book now, to learn how to make more working a job in politics that you love. Tips, ideas and suggestions can be sent to: workinpolitics@gmail.com

Friday, January 11, 2013

Volunteer best practices: Always have work for volunteers

It is almost a constant complaint from campaigns and organizations: we need more volunteers! We want young people! We can't recruit!

The truth is, however, they likely have plenty of volunteers and they simply don't know how to process them, how to get them involved.

Most campaigns and organizations have a problem retaining volunteers, not recruiting them.

I worked at a place that wanted to do background searches for volunteers, and I knew a campaign that insisted on the same. Many groups refuse to buy even simple food for their volunteers.

Several groups I've met ask indignantly what skills I have to volunteer, and act as though I'm asking them to do work to volunteer for them.

I volunteered on a major Senate race a decade or so ago, and their idea of volunteer work was to sit me in an empty cafeteria with a phone and a spreadsheet of phone numbers, to do voter outreach.

Groups often don't know how to process volunteers.

What are volunteer best-practices?

1. Get them socially involved immediately. Introduce them to all staffers and paid people.
2. Get to know them a little bit. Ask them where they went to school, what their hobbies are, what they feel really good at.
3. Give them a title. It can be "assistant director of volunteer outreach" - but make a title up and make them feel like they exist within the campaign or group's hierarchy.
4. MOST IMPORTANT: have regular work for them. Make sure it's not mundane like letter stuffing or making calls. A great example is to give them a stack of literature or newspapers to go out and distribute to their neighborhood. It is important to sit down and make a list of all self-contained projects that volunteers can do, and have that list ready for any new volunteer to choose from, or be assigned a project from.
5. Ask them for a resume if they have one. You'll see their actual skills right away, and can use those for the campaign.
6. Play matchmaker: try to pair single people together. They'll have more in common even if romance doesn't happen. People often volunteer to meet other people, so fulfill that need for them. Also try to pair people with similar ages if possible, and always try to bring in volunteers in small groups so they have some camaraderie.

Volunteers often stop volunteering because:
1. They feel they aren't needed
2. They feel like they're only given boring work
3. They're the only volunteer or otherwise isolated
4. They don't feel like they're a member of the team
5. No one reminds them that they're needed

No comments:

Post a Comment