We are all eager to see a big, beautiful Blue Wave sweep over the country in November. It takes money, sure, but even more importantly, it takes people. Campaigns that win their elections are campaigns that have a lot of people working to make sure they spread their message to as many voters as possible. Volunteers are crucial, really crucial, so here are 15 different ways you could help your favorite candidate win their election.
1. First, you’ll need to choose a campaign to work on. Sure, you can check out their online presence (website, social media accounts,etc.) but nothing beats hearing them speak in person. Candidates and campaign staffers regularly go to your local Democratic party meetings and other events in your community as they want to be seen, so you should be there too. Looking good on paper is one thing, but being engaging in real life is critical for a candidate.
2. Find your candidate’s local campaign office. That info should be on their website. You can either walk in or call and let them know you’d like to volunteer for an hour. Or more!
3. Help your candidate with a specific project. All campaign websites have a way to sign up to volunteer — they’ll send you periodic emails alerting you to projects they need help with. Go help when you have some availability in your schedule.
4. Become knowledgable about your candidate’s positions. Read their positions online, watch them when they speak to the public, stay up to date on any new ads they produce, and read any interviews they might give to local media outlets. When you’re in the position to speak to others about your candidate, you’ll want to be enthusiastic and knowledgable. Yes, you could be the reason a voter decides to vote for your candidate!
5. Distribute yard signs. Candidates get many requests from voters who want to have a yard sign to show their support. Let the campaign know you’re available to deliver those to voters.
6. Update the campaign’s data. Every time a group of volunteers canvass voters, they receive valuable information about how particular voters are leaning towards the candidates in a election. All this information needs to get inputted into the campaign’s database.
7. Bring food to the campaign office. Campaigns always have super-dedicated volunteers who spend hours and hours every day doing the work that needs to get done. They don’t always have the time (or the money) to get food for the office. Ask if they’d like meals or snacks–they probably do–and then make/donate them.
8. Buy a campaign T-shirt and wear it whenever you can. Trust me, it’ll start conversations and you’ll have a chance to tell people why you think your candidate is the best person for the job!
9. Beyond making your own donation, ask others to do the same. Can you get 5 friends to donate to the campaign? That adds up! Social media also makes these kinds of asks really easy. Tell folks why you like the candidate and that you encourage them to make a gift–be sure to include a donation link!
10. Offer to drive people to the polls on voting day. The campaign can help spread the word that you are available to drive people and can even connect you to people who need a ride throughout the day.
11. If your state offers vote-by-mail, go to retirement communities to offer assistance with getting ballots by mail. It is a great way to increase turnout.
12. Connect your candidate to important people in your community. Are you connected to community and business leaders or other influential people in your city? Either through your job or volunteer work or because you love to network? Your candidate will need the support of those influential people in the community to reach a larger audience of voters. If you can make the connection, do so!
13. Canvass or block walk for your candidate. Face to face conversations with voters is the time-honored, proven way to increase awareness of your candidate and get turn out on election day. Connect with the campaign to get the list of doors they want you to knock. If canvassing is new to you, read this interview with a local activist who explains what it is like.
14. Phone bank for your candidate. Phone banking is another proven way to turn out more voters, especially when those calls are made right before election day. Read this primer if you want to know more about how it works.
15. Volunteer to work at polling places on election day. Again, the campaign can organize all the volunteers to make sure that as many locations get covered as possible.
I’m sure there are many other ways to get involved with a campaign. If I left off your favorite way to volunteer, please let us know by leaving a comment!