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...