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.

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