Campaign Yard Sign Volunteers – The 5 Bs

Volunteer thank you visit at Kevin Lamoureux's Winnipeg North campaign office / Visite du chef liberal Michael Ignatieff pour remercier les benevoles Convincing someone to help out on your campaign is difficult enough, but keeping a volunteer might just be more difficult. There are five Bs that will ruin your relationship with your volunteer:

* Buffoonization – volunteers aren’t idiots

* Burn out – volunteer is given too much, too soon

* Banishment – volunteer is not told what is going on or doesn’t feel part of the effort

* Battling – too much fighting among staff or volunteers

* Boring – campaign is not fun

Let’s say that you have identified someone who will distribute campaign yard signs for the candidate: how do the five Bs apply to the yard sign distribution director?

* Buffoonization – while it’s important to provide some direction to the volunteer, let the yard sign director have some flexibility in how they receive sign requests and how the person fulfills them.

* Burn out – make sure that you have identified someone who will be able to take requests for signs at various times throughout the week or weekend and respond quickly.

* Banishment – explain to the volunteer, how much money that you have spent on campaign signs and that you are entrusting the volunteer with hundreds or thousands of dollars of investment by the campaign. In addition, that particularly since the candidate has low name recognition, that yard signs are important to increase candidate name recognition so that other campaign efforts, including canvassing and phone banks, will be more effective.

* Battling – while the yard sign director should be innoculated from most internal battles, it’s always best to keep these to a minimum and have ground rules for disagreements among the candidate and his or her staff.

* Boring – delivering yard signs is a fun job since the volunteer will only be engaging strong supporters but think about ways that you can reward the volunteer such as giving a complimentary ticket for a fundraiser or inviting them to any number of social activities with the candidate or staff.

While you don’t need to go through this exercise for each of your campaign volunteers, it’s useful to keep these concepts in mind when you have identifiied new volunteers and when you are activating existing volunteers to give them a meaningful experience and leverage their talents for the campaign’s benefit.

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