Tell Your Volunteers Why They Matter

Finding volunteers for your campaign can be difficult, so when someone shows enough interest to help you out, you need to retain them. It’s far easier to get one volunteer to come back to your phone bank 5 times than it is to recruit 5 new volunteers.

Volunteers want to know that their work matters to the campaign’s success. They’re often giving up a Saturday when they could be watching football, going hiking or spending time with their family. It’s vital that they feel appreciated and, that they know the time they’re spending helping you out means something.

Before any volunteers show up, though, you will need to take a few minutes to evaluate what you’re doing and what your goals are for that day. One of these goals should be to determine what percentage of your campaign goals you’d like to hit that day so you can share this information with your volunteers. For example: 200 calls out of 2,500 needed for the campaign, 100 doors knocked on out of 5,000 needed for the campaign.

Why would you provide them with this type of information? The majority of volunteers put a lot of value on being included on the “inside” of the campaign. They want to be in the know. If you take the time to give them a little peek inside the operations of the campaign, they’re significantly more likely to return next Saturday.

Here’s an example of this in action:

A group of volunteers comes in to make phone calls for two hours. You thank them for their time and support and then explain to them how their work fits into the bigger picture -- how making phone calls supports the campaign strategy and will impact overall success.

“By the end of September, our goal is to identify 500 new supporters for our candidate. Normally, we identify one new voter per 5 calls. So your 100 calls in the next two hours will identify 20 new voters and get us 4% of the way to our goal.”

Taking the time to say thank you and provide details into why their work is important to the campaign will make your volunteers feel needed and feel like part of the team. And, it will likely help give you some perspective on why you do what you do on a day-to-day basis too.  

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