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Well, this weekend is when the poop hits the atmosphere-accelerator. And canvassers/precinct-walkers/phone volunteers will get training if they haven't already, and so equipped, off they go. Those of you in the back-office may or may not be as well trained. If I may offer a few suggestions on how to not only survive, but make you shine through what may or may not be a chaotic scene at your office/staging location read on.

Don't take it personally! I use the ten-day rule, taught to me by an old hand back in the day. Nothing said counts ten days before election day. Whomever you're dealing with, whether they are a FO, Supervisor, office director/co-coordinator, or whatever they're calling them this election cycle, they probably haven't had enough sleep for weeks now. They may be short with you (Hey, I'm 5'5" what's wrong with short?) they may yell at you, they may think you've been taught something you weren't. Sleep deprivation and a steady diet of crappy pizza and soggy sandwiches can make anyone cranky.

REMEMBER THIS FIRST AND FOREMOST! This is probably your FO/Supervisor, whatever's FIRST CAMPAIGN!!! This is as much a training ground for them as it is for you! No kidding. A few of them will go on, many, if not most will decide that this isn't for them, but this is our training ground for future political ops and, if we're lucky, future candidates. There hasn't been a campaign I have worked, from city council, to county supervisor, through House candidates who haven't had a chance, and of course, Presidential, where I haven't seen someone with the spark, the willingness to learn the crappy part about campaigning, that didn't give me hope. In the 2008 Obama campaign, I ran across a black kid with a funny name, and if he ever decides to run for office, I'm there.

Your FO, Supervisor/whatever may be the one vote we need in the House or the Senate someday, but today, they're tired and cranky. Give them a break.

Best answer to any of the above: "You sound angry with me, can you help me fix this?"

Second best answer:"I'll fix it!" and find someone who knows what may or may not have gone wrong.

Be unscented. Really. It may be overwhelmingly hot where you volunteer, but volunteers may have allergies, discomfort, or bad associations with certain perfumes/colognes. Smelling like someone's ex- is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but these are volunteers; we can't fire them. Besides, if the weather's bad where you are, the precinct-walkers will smell worse than you do.

More below the D-Kos tattoo that someone will regret in 20 years...

Take the load off of your bosses. Your Field Officers, Supervisors, again, whatever they're calling them this year, they want to give you a job and strike it off their list. Make it easy on them. Do not leave without finding someone to replace you and train them in what you were trained to do. Try NOT to stand in front of your FO and say, "I have to leave in ten minutes, is that okay?" Keep an eye out for people who have been volunteering at your office/staging location for a while. We're kind of easy to spot. People know our names, we don't always sign in, sad to say, too many of us believe RHIP.

That  being said, when you are taught to do something, make notes. Even if you don't usually write things down, make the person telling you what your job is to slooo...wly explain it to you. Re=write your notes if you need to so that you can leave them for the person who next sits in your chair. Some notes on specific positions follows:

Receptionist/or whoever answers the "office" phone: Write it down! Hopefully, you will have been given an sheet of "on call" drivers for early/election day voting, but get their numbers anyway. Keep a call log of people calling for rides and drivers assigned, but also keep a post-it list of on call drivers and when they go "off shift." Call your post-it list 15 minutes before they're going off-shift and ask them if they're really not picking anyone else up. Your relief should have a line of post-its with the time when drivers stop being available, as well as handicapped capabilities like lifts, whether they can manage multiple pickups (like they drive a van?) and other relevant info. The person who sits down in your chair should be able to pick up with no downtime.

Food/Supplies: If this is not handled by the Receptionist should be a separate phone line with the phone number relayed thru the dKos-messages. (I just decided. If your office needs food, we're working on a way. And we want the staging locations, which are mostly people's houses/apartments to think well of us, so we want to replace stuff like toilet paper/paper towels, etc.

Follow me, we're working stuff out.  

Canvassers/phone-bank coordinators: If you're at an OFA office, just do it. OFA is playing the short game again, whereas House/Senate races are important, but just teach your walkers/phoners to do what they're told. Hopefully in the close races (NV-Sen, CA-07 MO well whatever...) but it's too late now to start playing the long game, except for maybe mentioning to your canvassers that a solid Senate and maybe Nancy holding the gavel.

Canvasser receptionists:
Recommend food and liquids. If there aren't any, see above. If you'rs is an office that needs tally sheets, make sure that your volunteers fill them out according to what your office requires. Please, don't hate, collate! Ask your precinct-walkers to organize their sheets in numerical order. The people who will be entering their data will probably be up past midnight and the FOs will be cutting new territory from that data after that, or starting early, early in the morning.

Data Entry: Supervisors, if there are any data entry supervisors here, give your people treats. This is a crappy job, no glory in it, you are the elves in the workshop, but you make the engine run. Food works, I have a pound of dried dates for the election weekend, and other treats ahead.

Other suggestions below? I'm a newbie here, but I intend to repost this diary again...

Originally posted to Jonathan Hoag on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:04 PM PDT.


Fired up! I'm going to volunteer starting on...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. -John Wayne (-9.00,-8.86)

    by Jonathan Hoag on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:23:04 PM PDT

  •  If you can't donate, phone bank or (19+ / 0-)

    canvass, think food.

    Healthy healthy food.

    Fruit, veggie plates, hard cheese, healthy bread, whole grain crackers. Stuff that can be left out a while without getting rancid or worse.

    A lot of Dems are vegetarians, some are vegans. Keep it simple and keep it separated. Label stuff.  If you know something has major allergens (eggs, wheat, milk, nuts, fish, seafood), label it.

    Home-cooked food is SOOO appreciated.  

    Use paper plates (I know. But we only do this every 2-4 years), or foil pans covered with foil, so it's easily re-covered. Don't expect to get plates back, much less back AND cleaned.

    Even if you don't cook, if you can afford just a bit, stop by the farmer's market, Costco, or wherever and pick up a bag of apples or other easy neat-to-eat food. Wash and deliver.  

    If you bake, aim for healthy. Try to incorporate fruit, veggies, whole grains, extra protein etc into your recipes.  

    Make a triple batch and drop off half at the OFA office and half at your local senate or congressional candidate office. Hardly any extra work, more than twice the benefit and reward.

    When volunteers and staff have to leave the premises to eat, they're not being efficient.  The more variety of food they have, the more they can stay around, get work done and stay healthy for another several days.

    It really is that simple.


    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:21:24 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, grover. (8+ / 0-)

      These are great additional comments. See my diary from Monday (when we were all engrossed in Sandy.)

      A short list from mine:

      REAL food, not junk food. Chips and donuts are great, but they don't lead to good long-term energy. Instead, consider helping with the following:

          baby carrots
          raw veggies and dips
          cheese chunks (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
          hummus with pita wedges
          sloppy joe meat, pulled pork, or Italian beef and junior-sized buns
          soup or chili in crockpot (with spoons and bowls)
          baked goods
          leftover Halloween candy

      Note I put baked goods and candy last on the list. Everyone likes a good brownie, but they WILL reach for real food first, if it's there.

    •  In our field office..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....healthy food went begging, while the bad-for-you stuff was getting hit hard.   I did my part by eating fresh fruit and veggies, but still dipped into the granola-bar supply as well.

      Good food is always appreciated.  It's what the OFA Army marches on.

      Sarasota FL (Bee Ridge field office canvasser semi-extraordinare)

      Keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it.--Molly Ivins

      by AAbshier on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:41:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great suggestions - thanks! (8+ / 0-)

    I just gathered up some fruit and granola bars to take with me tomorrow to canvass for Wayne Powell.  Let's hope he can pull it off and send Eric Cantor packing!

    •  Go get 'em! Cantor is a shanda... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. -John Wayne (-9.00,-8.86)

      by Jonathan Hoag on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:31:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ready to GOTV in VA! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orangetime, CuriousBoston, litoralis

    Stopped by the OFA office last night to sign up for some canvassing shifts this weekend and make sure they had me down for all day on Tuesday (taking a vacation day from work, this is more important).

    Four years ago I was the defacto OFA office coordinator and I would echo everything you've said.  This is good advice.  Now let's pull together and go win this thing.  Leave it all on the line!

  •  that practice ballot- (8+ / 0-)

    have one on your clip board if you're walking. if you're in a local HQ, tell people on the phone they can come in and look at it. or they can see a practice ballot at their registrar of voters.

    a lot of our voters may have only voted in one election before in their lives. a lot of them might have been intimidated by the big ballot and only filled in the one circle for barack obama. we want our voters to vote for barack obama and every other dem on that ballot. some of your voters have never done this before in their lives and they're afraid.

    some of your voters don't know what a republican or a democrat is. sometimes you need to take a minute to help your voter learn that obama needs dems in office to help him- some of your voters have no idea about this. we're junkies- most people are not like us. we have to remember a lot of people listen to songs in their car and watch dancing with the stars on their tv- i know this is hard to believe.  

    when you write notes in HQ, write your name, the date, and the time on it. you could forget that you wrote that note. this might help jog your memory. other people might not know what that piece of paper is and might not know why it's important. if they find it and have a q they will know who to ask about it.

    if you're afraid to make phone calls, go to HQ anyway. back when i was afraid to make phone calls i sat next to a man who could not see well enough to dial numbers. i dialed the numbers and handed the phone to him.

    HQ will get trashed- empty garbage pails, throw out wrappers and the empty bottles, cans and cups people leave lying around. maybe even clean the bathroom from time to time, and people will love you.

    just help- even if you think you have no skills, even if you are afraid of people, just come help. you will never meet a nicer bunch of people than the people who are volunteering for a democratic candidate.

    if you're just standing there talking and not dialing, try to take the conversation outside, or at least away from the phones- those phone calls are how we win. we are either identifying our voters, or getting our voters to the polls. let those callers get their job done.  

    if you haven't gone to your candidate's HQ, don't wait until tuesday- we'd love to meet you right now!

    let's do this!!!!


    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 06:49:32 AM PDT

  •  Oh, I thought it was with a flag pole or something (4+ / 0-)

    You mean a poll.

  •  OFA is playinh the short game? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jonathan Hoag

    Care to explain what this means?

    The 47% also "pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more" but when Romney does it he thinks it's a virtue, while when they do it, he thinks they are deadbeats.

    by jsfox on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:10:57 PM PDT

    •  OFA focusses on Obama only. Downticket (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nzanne, XenuLives

      races are an afterthought. I kind of like the idea of getting a Senate and House that will actually move the ball forward.

      I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. -John Wayne (-9.00,-8.86)

      by Jonathan Hoag on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:19:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is what I thought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and I  am here to tell you - BULL SHIT! I have been working with OFA off and on for the past eighteen months and down ticket has been very important. And all the canvassing I have done over the past week we mention don't forget to vote for the Democratic candidates for Governor, and Congress as well as State Senator.

        If you have not  or are not working with OFA then one shouldn't talk about what the hell they are doing

        The 47% also "pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more" but when Romney does it he thinks it's a virtue, while when they do it, he thinks they are deadbeats.

        by jsfox on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:24:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow! I guess you showed me! Feel better now? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. -John Wayne (-9.00,-8.86)

          by Jonathan Hoag on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:49:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Me too (0+ / 0-)

        We tell voters to vote straight ticket, and the local party here has ballots for the nonpartisan races as well.

  •  This is the third time you have posted (0+ / 0-)

    this diary in less than 24 hrs.

    Please either add new information or an update of what you have previously written. But don't just keep re-posting & re-posting the same diary.


    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:23:51 PM PDT

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