Volunteer Opportunities

Ask not what your country can do for you, y’all.

Pick up the phone, or the pen, or via whatever channel moves you — but We The People have a key part to play in preserving democracy for the next generations.

Most groups have had to adjust to political organizing completely online during the pandemic, so it is exceedingly easy now to parachute in to a group and get involved right away, whether that’s on the phone talking to voters or prospective voters, or texting potential voters, or other forms of organizing or messaging. All you really need is an internet connection and ideally a laptop and a phone — but you can get by with a tablet and a phone or even just a phone for certain volunteering campaigns.

How to get started volunteering

Most groups have some sort of training session to get started, whether you’ve been an activist for a long time or just getting started. This Zoom or other video session will orient you to the tools of the group and what the general strategy is, as well as the specific instructions for the day’s campaign. If you’re joining your first phone bank, they will usually offer additional assistance to get you up to speed and comfortable with both the technologies in use and how to actually interact with a voter around the issue(s) at hand.

Pretty much all groups will use Slack or some other form of chat to coordinate in real-time, as well as answer any questions you may have or address problems you run into. It can be chaotic and fast-moving in there for big campaigns, so give yourself some extra time to get oriented especially if you’re new to Slack.

Generally you will have a script that you can read from and/or riff from, and it gets easier to get through the script as you make more calls. Often you will be calling “friendlies” — either known Democrats or likely Ds — though even in those voter lists you may run into the occasional Trumpian. It can be unpleasant from time to time but usually they just want to get off the phone as fast as you do and the interaction is brief.

The purpose of your calls is both to gather fresh data for the Democratic data and analytics operation to understand what state voters are in (likely to vote, lean D, will/won’t volunteer, etc.) as well as to try and persuade voters to take action, whether that’s registering to vote in the first place, voting for the D candidate(s), or physically casting their ballot.

Is text banking as good as phone banking?

No. It’s not as good in terms of “proven ability to persuade” as the direct connection of actually speaking with a voter in real-time. However, text banking has the potential to reach parts of the electorate that simply aren’t going to pick up when a strange number calls them, or who otherwise will only respond via the SMS channel. It’s a way of engaging those folks, many of them skewing younger and more progressive overall as a group, so text banking is still a valuable tool in the toolkit.

Text banking is also very effective at mobilizing highly engaged groups like volunteers to commit to another volunteer shift, or donors to donate. So it won’t be going anywhere any time soon — but if you want to be the most effective personally, I would choose phone banking as the primary exercise (and canvassing as more effective even still — if we ever get out of covid round the rosie!).

Volunteer Training & Resources

Places to Take Action