There are many campaign volunteers who want to make an impact on the campaign they volunteer for, and it is important that you know what you’re getting into before signing up. Volunteering can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires dedication and hard work. This post will go over some of the ways how to be a successful campaign volunteer so that your efforts have a big impact.
What is a campaign volunteer?
A campaign volunteer is someone who helps a political campaign get elected. Campaign volunteers can be involved with everything from canvassing and phone banking to fundraising events. The work varies depending on where the volunteer chooses to focus their efforts, but the goal of volunteering for a campaign is always the same: getting out the vote for your candidate!
Why should I become a campaign volunteer?
*Volunteering for a campaign is an excellent way to get involved in the political process. Political campaign volunteers often have opportunities to meet with elected officials, attend rallies, and participate in events that are closed off to outsiders. Becoming a campaign volunteer has many benefits: you can make new friends, establish your voice on important issues, hone your debating skills and even earn resume-building experience!
Where do I start?
Deciding which campaign to volunteer for is the first step. It’s important to consider what you want out of your volunteering experience: do you want a long-term commitment or something less intensive? Some campaign positions are very time-consuming and require daily involvement, while others may only need an hour of weekly work.
Campaigns also vary in intensity – some campaigns focus on knocking doors and getting as many people registered to vote as possible, with occasional phone banking thrown into the mix; other campaigns have more intense schedules that involve going door-to-door every day!
For a campaign position that isn’t too demanding but still allows volunteers plenty of opportunities to make an impact, it might be best to choose one that matches up with your schedule and interests.
When can I start volunteering with the campaign?
Once you’ve found a campaign that matches your preferences, it’s time to get started! There are many campaign volunteer opportunities for all different levels of commitment: some volunteers can’t dedicate more than one hour per week while others work full-time on the campaign trail. When deciding what type of campaign position is right for you, think about how much time you have available and what skills or knowledge you would like to put towards use.
How can I get involved with the campaign of my choice?
To get started with campaign volunteering, you’ll first need to find the campaign that matches your interests and availability. You can search for a campaign online or ask people in your community who are involved in campaigns if they know of any turn-outs.
There are many campaign volunteer opportunities for all different levels of commitment
Some volunteers can’t dedicate more than one hour per week while others work full-time on the campaign trail. When deciding what type of campaign position is right for you, think about how much time you have available and what skills or knowledge you would like to put towards use.
Some campaign volunteers have strict schedules
Such as canvassing every day between 12 pm and 12 am – that requires intense commitment. Other campaign positions are more flexible, such as phone banking and fundraising events which can be done on a schedule of your choosing once per week or even just one hour every month!
If you’re unsure about what type of campaign position is right for you, think about how much time you have available and what skills or knowledge you would like to put towards use.
What should my goals as a campaign volunteer be?
For those who want an intensive but rewarding experience, canvassing – going door-to-door in neighborhoods trying to build support – might be perfect. Other options include phone banking (calling voters from home), fundraising events (working as a group to raise money) or becoming involved with campaign media (creating campaign ads or videos).
Ultimately, the job of a campaign volunteer is to help get your candidate elected. The work varies depending on where you choose to focus your efforts but all campaign volunteers want one thing: for their candidate to win!*
Where can I find other volunteers like myself?
There are a number of campaign volunteer events that can be found by searching online with keywords like “volunteer for the campaign” or “campaign volunteering”. You’ll want to find the campaign you’re most interested in and then get involved!
If you’re still not sure what position is right for you, search your candidate’s Facebook page. Many campaigns have discussion groups set up so they can more easily communicate with their volunteers.
You may also want to reach out directly through email or phone if there isn’t an open event listed on the campaign website near where you live. Mention which positions interest you (canvassing, fundraising, etc.) and ask how soon someone will contact them about scheduling an appointment.
What will it cost me to be a part of a political campaign?
A campaign volunteer can get involved for any amount of time and effort they have. It’s up to you how much time you’re able to give, but be mindful that some campaign positions may require more work than others, which will factor into your decision.
If you are on a campaign staff or in charge of managing volunteers, then the campaign is typically responsible for all expenses related to volunteering- from gas money for driving around town canvassing neighborhoods to food at fundraising events.
Some campaigns provide campaign t-shirts as well so take note if this would be important before committing!
Something else worth noting: whether it’s required by law varies depending on where the campaign operates. Be sure to check what requirements apply in your campaign’s jurisdiction.
How much time will it take up in my day-to-day life?
The campaign volunteer’s time commitment depends on the type of campaign they want to become involved with. We’ll explore some of these below and talk about how much you can expect your involvement to take up in your day-to-day life:
Phoning for a candidate
As long as it takes them to call each person, with additional time if there are follow-ups needed or people who request more information. A phone bank might require four hours per week at most but many volunteers choose not to do this task exclusively because their schedules don’t allow for this level of commitment. For candidates where phoning is required by law, six hours per two weeks would be considered full participation.
If the campaign has a list of names and addresses, it could take as little as one hour per day. However, if you are canvassing without an address list or with undecided voters, this can take much longer. Two hours per day would be considered full participation.
As long as it takes to get through attendance rosters at each event plus any follow-ups needed (e.g., emails). One event every two weeks for four hours is considered full participation.
If your campaign requires more time than that or less time than that, these numbers might not apply to you but they will give you a baseline idea of what’s required in terms of commitment from campaign volunteers. Be sure to check campaign requirements first.
There are a few things you should know about campaign volunteers and their work
Campaign volunteer activity varies depending on where the volunteer is engaged, but campaign staffers always want more! The easiest way to avoid feeling overwhelmed or underutilized as a campaign volunteer is by ensuring that your skills and interests align with the needs of the campaign team in order to best utilize them.
If you’re not sure what would be helpful for your campaign, reach out for clarification from one of its representatives (e-mailing works too!). What’s most important when reaching out is being clear about which type of campaign you wish to participate in – federal, state, or local campaign and campaign internships also exist.
Campaign volunteers should be aware of all campaign-related laws in their jurisdiction – for example, some states require campaign employees to register with the state.
Other resources that may be helpful when considering volunteering for a campaign:
The campaign website is the best place to find information about how campaign volunteers can get involved. If you are not sure where on the site you should start, check out their volunteer page for tips and guidelines that will help make your decision easier!
There’s also an excellent resource created by the U.S. Department of Labor called “Volunteer Opportunities in Politics” which provides more detailed information about what it takes to be successful as a campaign volunteer!
Volunteering for a political campaign can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It’s also important to understand that volunteering is not always easy or straightforward, even if you are passionate about the work of the organization. We hope this post has helped answer some questions about what it means to volunteer in a political campaign, where you should start looking when you can get involved with your favorite candidate’s team (if they have one), how much time it will take up from your day-to-day life, and more!
If there were still many unanswered questions we didn’t cover in this article comment below and we’ll do our best to find answers for them. You may also want to consider reading Campaign Boot Camp 2.0: Basic Training for Candidates, Staffers, Volunteers, and Nonprofits 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition on Amazon!