The decision to volunteer as a political campaign worker is for people who want to take their engagement with the American experiment to a higher level. It’s a more significant and deeper commitment than taking on one-time or temporary volunteer duties for a civic cause.
You should understand that volunteering to be a campaign worker requires deep commitment and a lot of time. Working on a campaign is also an incredible grind. However, veterans of political campaigns also say that “grind” was among the most rewarding, engaging, and fascinating periods of their lives. In some cases, it can lead to exciting and good-paying jobs in the political realm.
Even so, the first thing you should understand about volunteering in politics is that it takes a lot of your time, and you must be deeply committed to your candidate and cause. If you’re not, you’ll quickly burn out.
A second thing to be aware of is what you may be asked to do. For first-timers, that’s most likely to be a lot of grunt work. This includes things like manning a phone and making hundreds of calls, door-to-door canvassing, door-knocking, and handing out literature.
Cold contacting people who may not want to talk to you is a difficult challenge. Some people simply hate politics and won’t want to see you coming. Rudeness and blowback are common experiences, especially if you approach people who are politically not aligned with your cause. If you don’t think you can handle that, don’t try it.
A third major element of a political campaign involves money – as in getting as much of it as possible. That means fundraising efforts. Much of this activity is handled by volunteers who cold-call prospects on the phone to ask for cash donations. Other tasks are writing fundraising letters or advertisements. You may also be asked to approach wealthy or influential people to seek their support.
Yet another common task assigned to political volunteers is researching topics and writing reports. Political campaigns are all about issues. Even when a candidate has all his or her platforms spelled out, new issues crop up as the campaign progresses that require an intelligent response. The candidate will often need a digested version of what a particular issue is all about. People who can create concise and readable reports that bring candidates up to date swiftly is a valuable talent for a campaign worker.