Coordinating Volunteers

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Volunteers are the lifeblood of any grassroots organization. Committed and passionate volunteers win electoral issue campaigns and form the leadership pipeline of your organization. Along with measuring your organization’s success in terms of voter contacts and campaign victories, track how many volunteer shifts for door knocking or phone banking were filled, or how many regular volunteers you had at the beginning of a campaign and at the end.



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  • Ask your organization’s leaders and members as well as petition signers, fellows, alumni, residents, etc. when applicable.
  • Pass around a sign-in sheet at your next event or set up a table. Make sure to get cell phone numbers and email addresses. Call people who want to get more involved.
  • If you are part of a service organization, pass around a volunteer sign-up sheet or keep a sign-up sheet at the front desk.
  • Follow up with voters who you already have identified as “1’s” on your issues in past door knocks or phone banks. Ask them if they want to volunteer.
  • Ask allied organizations if they want to sent volunteers -- and get names and numbers.
  • Keep track of people who say they will volunteer! At the very least, keep a spreadsheet with the schedule of door knocks/phone banks and who can volunteer (name and number), or better yet, use the My Campaign function in VAN.
  • Call to confirm everyone who has signed up 1-2 days before their scheduled door knock/phone bank. Text them the day of the door knock/phone bank.

Run an orientation

  1. As volunteers arrive, thank them for coming, sign them in.
  2. Once everyone’s there, have everyone introduce themselves, then explain briefly why this work is so important.
  3. Handout and review:
    • Canvassing packet - script, walk list and map. Make sure volunteers understand all the codes, and what they’re supposed to mark. Go over the Turf and Maps - make sure they know where they’re going.
    • Any voter education materials you’re handing out (voter guide, literature about the organization, etc.). Explain what you're leaving at Not Home's vs. how to use the materials in conversations.
    • Go over any talking points about the materials
    • Discuss any questions people have and/or responses to voters’ common questions
  4. Ask for questions.
  5. Give all canvassers your cell number, make sure they write it down. 
  6. Make sure they have: clipboard, pen, walk list, script, map, registration forms, voter education materials
  7. Mark which packet each volunteer is taking, the time, their cell number.
  8. Do a role play for those who haven’t done it before or feel uncertain
  9. Ask one more time if they have any other questions.


When volunteers return:

  • Ask how it went
  • Go over their results, make sure what they recorded is clear, ask if they need to explain anything. Collect walk lists or call lists, or make sure door knocker syncs data on MiniVAN.
  • Collect leftover materials, clipboards, etc.
  • Sign them up for future canvasses and/or phone banks (have sign-in or sign-out sheet with events)
  • Thank them!