Use Case - Political Campaign

Joan is interested in running for the Oregon House of Representatives as a Pacific Green Party candidate. She's never held office before, but has been active in the party collecting signatures for a couple measures and has served on several committees. As a third party candidate, she knows it's unlikely she'll gain office, but knows that by trying, she'll help build recognition for the Green Party in general.

You've decided to take on the role of being her volunteer coordinator. One of the other people in the party has set up a copy of the Volunteer Management System on their server, and given you administrative access to it. You've attended a class on the software and are excited to put it to use!

Step 1: Preparation

The objectives for a district representative campaign are pretty standard; you were given a good starting list of things you'll be recruiting volunteers for as part of the class:

You enter each of these objectives into the system using the web forms.

Step 2: Build a Team of Volunteers

Your first search in the database is to get a list of active Green Party Volunteers. Joan is the first person to run for a seat in this district, so you only find a few active volunteers here, but you round out the list with active volunteers in nearby districts. You print out your list.

There's 30 people in the list, and over the next couple days you call and call again to try and get through. A number of people show some limited interest, but four sound very enthusiastic and agree to come in on a regular basis, including several evenings each week, and/or on the weekend.

You type in your results into the computer. For each name, you bring up their record and for those you actually talked with you note that they were contacted, and capture how they responded.

Next, you do a wider-scoped query, looking for anyone who could be a potential volunteer. The query excludes people you've already contacted, but includes people you had failed to reach. You create a print out of of the hundreds of records returned, each of which looks like this:

John Smith   503-765-4321  503-400-0011
  [ ]  Stuff mailings      [ ]  Data entry     [ ]  Host house party  
  [ ]  Canvassing          [ ]  Phone banking  [ ]  Table an event
  [ ]  Display yard signs  [ ]  Poll worker    [ ]  Other ___________
  Availability: _____________________________________________________
  Comments:     _____________________________________________________

Further, you sub-select the records that have email addresses associated with them. You draft an email requesting volunteer assistance, and adding that you'll be phoning them if you don't hear from them soon.

As your four volunteers come in, you put them to work calling down through this new list, talking with people about Joan and her positions, asking if the people would be interested in volunteering, and if so marking the things they're interested in. As they finish each sheet, you type in their findings.

Within a couple weeks you've identified three dozen people willing to volunteer at various degrees of activity.

Step 3: Organizing House Parties

Ten people indicate an interest in holding house parties, so you do so. The purpose of these is to stir up interest in the candidate, do some fund raising, and strengthen your volunteer team. Try to schedule these for different days so that you and Joan can personally attend each of them. Discuss different volunteer needs, and the importance of playing a role in raising awareness about Joan and the party.

Step 4: Mailings

With your army of volunteers in place, it's time to proceed with achieving the objectives. For each objective, you write a request for help and then do a query for potential volunteers of the given type; you email or phone each of these people to request help, scheduling their time.

Your first mailing goes out to a broad list of all registered Green voters. Later Joan's team will send a second one to a honed list of just the volunteers, donors, and known supporters. The first may only break even, but the team hopes to make up for it with the second.

Step 5: Phonebanking and Canvassing

The phone banking and canvassing are geared to educate people about Joan's campaign and see how they'll be voting. You've already pretty much phoned all the active Greens; this time you broaden the scope further, to include Democrats as well.

For Phonebanking, your volunteers ask whether the individual will be supporting Joan or one of the other candidates, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being strong support and 3 being undecided. 1's are also hit up to donate or help volunteer. 2's are flagged for followup.

Canvassing is used for people who have still not yet been reached by phone or email, and to bring literature and face-to-face interaction with the 2's.

The goal is to identify 130% of the voters you'll need to win (30% can be expected to flake out).

Step 6: Voting

The day that ballots are mailed to voters you undertake a mass volunteer phonebanking to contact everyone that said they'd be voting for Joan, and remind them to vote for her as planned. Keep track of those who have not yet voted, and make sure to follow up again on subsequent days, to make sure they do.

Step 7: Synergy

If you're really lucky, Joan may now be in office. Or, perhaps one of the dominant parties won yet again. In either case, your job is not quite done. After the election, your volunteers are going to be tired and bummed out, and just want a vacation. However, you want to try to keep as many of these new people involved with the Green local as possible.

To do this, you decide to hold an 'issue planning meeting'. You recruit several of the data entry people to comb through the data collected during the campaign and clean it up, highlight key volunteers, identify skills of value in the future, and highlight anyone that expressed an interest in running for office.

Finally, you also plan out a 'thank-you' event, to phone and email all the donors and volunteers for their support. :-) Logo