Swing Left Academy

This past weekend I participated in an awesome training by Swing Left, an organization dedicated to swinging the House of Representatives to the Democrats in November.

The training had sooooooo much useful information for activists this election cycle.  It was also three hours long.  (Here’s a link to the full training.)  So I’ve made what you might call a TL;DR version, which hits all the key points in 19 minutes.


Here’s the full outline so you can jump to what interests you most:

0:00 – INTRODUCTION
…..0:42 – Sections Overview
1:21 – ORGANIZING
…..1:24 – The Organizing Fish
…..2:30 – Organizing Definition
…..2:39 – Organizing in Everyday Life
3:00 – VOTER CONTACT
…..3:10 – 5 Types of Voter Contact
…..3:57 – Research on What Works
4:22 – CANVASSING
…..4:36 – What to Bring
…..4:43 – Time Required
…..4:57 – Staging Location
…..5:08 – Walk List
…..5:14 – Canvassing Myths
…..5:51 – Data
…..6:51 – Script
…..7:13 – Canvass Buddies
…..8:09 – How Many Doors?
…..8:18 – How Conversations?
…..8:42 – Lit
…..9:01 – Out-of-District Canvassing
…..9:48 – 3 Types of Voters
11:13 – VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT
…..11:38 – The Hard Ask
….12:12 – Different Kinds of No’s
13:14 – TEAM-BUILDING
….13:45 – Ladder of Engagement
….16:20 – A Pyramid, Not a Column
….16:45 – Group Structure
17:35 – CALL TO ACTION
….17:43 – Get Local Alerts from SwingLeft.org
….18:03 – Canvass for TheLastWeekend.org
18:52 – END

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What topic should I cover next? Tell me in the comments.

Help with Demoralized Volunteers

The news just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it?  Here are four simple tactics you can use to maintain volunteer energy and morale:

  1. Self-Care: Maintain your own morale.  Volunteers will take their emotional cues from you.  (Here‘s a self-care refresher.)
  2. Choice: To the extent possible, give your volunteers choices on what they work so they can choose tasks that interest them.  Extroverts will be energized by canvassing.  Introverts may actually like data entry.
  3. Expectations: If you know that volunteers will get a less-than-optimal response from an outreach activity (low voter interest, engaging with opponents), let them know in advance.  Also frame these potentially unpleasant interactions in positive ways, such as “building a new base” or “finding new supporters.”  They will then be emotionally “vaccinated” for less-than-optimal interactions.
  4. Community: Make sure every volunteer activity has some positive social aspect fully controlled by you, such as going out for coffee or a beer after canvassing.  This social time gives volunteers a positive experience of connection and processing regardless of their interaction with persuasion targets.

SUBSCRIBE: youtube.com/channel/UCcmuEC4PKJeSdLGz_8cXsVA?
JOIN: facebook.com/groups/UnstoppablesWelcome
FOLLOW: twitter.com/GoUnstoppables

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What topic should I cover next? Tell me in the comments.

3 Powerful Voter Outreach Tactics (& How to Use Them Strategically)

How can your group mobilize other citizens to vote for change in the midterms?

In this information-rich video, Elizabeth Juviler, Political Director of NJ 11th for Change, explains how to organize your own voter outreach effort using three key tactics:

  1. Phone Calls
  2. Postcard Parties
  3. Door-to-Door Canvassing

More than simply describing the tactics, she describes how to use them strategically by analyzing a voter list and targeting the right tactic at the right voter segment.

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