In the 2024 election cycle, every race will have larger implications. Those candidates for tiny school board districts in your community? Their potential votes on policy will reverberate nationally. Think book bans, restrictions on access and misrepresentations of US history.
And don’t get me started on what’s at stake in state capitols and Washington DC.
Instead of telling voters, volunteers and activists – again – that THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION, let’s make it the most powerful election.
Let’s make it the year we organize in addition to mobilize.
Let’s build power in addition to winning.
Let’s plan the campaigns with the goal of bringing people together to build power, using the opportunity of the election to do it. Not the other way around.
What’s that I hear?
“We have a million doors to knock!”
“I don’t get what you mean by ‘build relationships.’ How does that get us to power?”
“Winning is the best demonstration of power.”
“We don’t have time to hold everyone’s hand. We have a campaign to win.”
All true. It’s hard to think long-term with an election-day deadline looming.
But would we be in this movement if we couldn’t do hard things?
Mobilizing ===> Organizing
Here are some ideas for introducing organizing tactics into a mobilization (election) campaign:
- A script that includes some deep canvassing elements. Sure a canvasser might spend more than 3 minutes at a door. The voter is more likely to remember the conversation and more importantly, the volunteer will feel less like a turnout machine and more like a community organizer.
- Plan some one-on-ones between organizers or campaign leaders and top volunteers. These convos can be recognition for super volunteers. More importantly, they can also help organizers identify new leaders. When a super volunteer starts bringing other people to shifts, you’ve found a new leader.
- A campaign debrief that brings everyone together to process the results of the election, their role and the implications. Win or lose, the more people can share their experiences, the closer they become. More importantly, they are more likely to remain involved if they develop relationships with other activists, organizers or leaders.
We want to transform our communities and win after election day too.