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Volunteer Recruitment

Page history last edited by Alex Aronson 12 years, 4 months ago

Volunteer engagement is the bread and butter of Trick or Vote. Well, maybe it's just the butter--all greasy and fattening and delicious. Anyhow, volunteers will make your event fat and delicious, and that's never bad.


General Thoughts on Volunteer Recruitment


  • Trick or Vote is a great volunteer ask, so go BIG! Here at the Oregon Bus Project, we do lots and lots of of volunteer recruitment. By far and away, this is our easiest ask. Almost everyone says yes. Seriously. Learn how to pitch this right, and people will say yes. It's too much fun to say no to. We're going to have 1,000 volunteers in Portland. It's gonna be sweet.


  • Account for attrition. Just because people say they'll do something doesn't mean they'll do it. And since so many people will say yes to you when you ask them to volunteer, you should count on significant attrition in turnout. We'll discuss some strategies for combating this dropoff, but in general we suggest going by the rule of halves. That is, if 200 people say they'll come, expect 100.  For a Halloween day event, this may even be too optimistic.


  • Set Benchmarks. So, now you know to recruit twice as many people as you want to attend. How are you gonna get there? We suggest setting clear and ambitious weekly benchmarks. Don't expect to do all your recruitment at once, so do it in stages, and hit little goals along the way.


  • Keep a list. Do you use a volunteer management database? Use it! If not, simple tools like MS Excel or even Word can work. Whatever you do, keep track of your people so that you can remind them to come. Need help? Just let us know.


  • Include Trick or Vote in all your work. Starting now, you should integrate Trick or Vote recruitment asks into all your other work. Do  you run phonebanks to recruit people to register voters or canvass? Ask them to come to Trick or Vote. They'll say yes. At the Bus Project we talk about Trick or Vote as a unifying culmination of all the other work we do. Nobody wants to miss the big finale.




Specific Strategies and Tactics

Ready to start signing people up? Wondering where to start? Here are some ideas:


  • Recruit Zombies. What's easier? Recruiting 500 people to come to your event, or recruiting 50 to commit to bring 10 apiece? If you picked the latter, we'd tend to agree. Start by recruiting Zombies, who can commit to "biting" 5 or 10 of their friends. Let them do the work for you. Send them home with a signup sheet, like this one trick or vote sign up.doc, and be sure to get their signup information back so you can add it to your list. Emails and phone numbers are key. Zombies are also great people to try to recruit as Trick or Trainers, which you'll need, and which you can learn more about here


  • Email and Call Your Lists. Even if your'e not at a formal organization with a fancy database full of names and thousands of email addresses, we're guessing you probably have a list of people that you can call and email. Start calling and emailing them now. Let them know about the event, and sign them up. Don't forget to track them! Go for the lowhanging fruit, like your closest friends and colleagues, and work from there. Be disciplined about your calling. Do it regularly, and get through your lists.


  • Partner Groups can be great volunteer recruitment resources. One of the best things about this event is its near-universal appeal and its ease of intergration with other groups' programs (like yours!). Get groups to commit to bring a specific number of people. Actually get the names and information of the people they sign up, both for your event check-in list and for honest tracking. Do the follow up yourself for the names you get from partner groups.
    Here in Oregon, we sent this  ToV partnership request letter.doc to about 50 organizations, along with this spooky filmstrip. Go ahead and  use this stuff!

     Here are some good potential partners:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Anyone with interest in Get Out The Vote work
  • Labor unions
  • HandsOn Network (We can help connect you)
  • Teachers/ Schools
  • High School and College Student Groups -- take advantage of the pre-exisiting structures here. We're even seen entire 8th grade classes make it a field trip!
  • Church groups – a lil' something wholesome on a pagan day


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