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Musings, tips, and thoughts from the Organizer team

Why Door-to-Door Sales Will Never be Outdated

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Oct 5, 2015 12:41:33 PM

When many of us hear the term door-to-door sales, we think of an archaic sales technique used in the period prior to the Internet to find potential customers. We may even picture a man in a suit traveling door-to-door with his briefcase in hand selling air conditioners or vacuums.

Three Ways to Engage Millennials in Your Fundraising Effort

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Sep 30, 2015 6:00:00 AM


Turn social media into digital media

There has been a great push in recent years to use social media more heavily to engage millennials in a wide range of causes. At face value, this is logical. It is a space where millennials spend large amounts of their time and engage with a wide range of content. But many organizations make the mistake of assuming that social media is the only effective platform for reaching millennials. In reality, people in this age group are just as likely to be found reading The Economist as they are their friends’ facebook posts. Instead of viewing social media as the “holy grail” of millennial engagement, outreach efforts should shift toward a focus on digital media, meaning all forms of content from news articles to memes. A diverse approach to digital engagement is the best way to get millennials’ attention in a meaningful way.


Keep your ask within their means

The most popular fundraising movements among millennials have been corporate-sponsored donation programs that rely upon a large number of millennials doing just a little, like FreeRice, or the UNICEF Tap Project. Most millennials don’t have enough money yet to become large-scale donors, but they do have a willingness to get involved. By asking them to make a small contribution as a part of a collective or by increasing the value of their small donation by convincing a corporation to match contributions, young people without the financial resources to make a large change on their own will feel much more empowered to make a difference. Fundraising campaigns that have relatively low engagement demands also tend to spread quickly because of the ease of getting involved.


Make giving a social activity

This doesn’t necessarily demand charity galas and black tie events. Organizing local meet and greets at bars or restaurants will help build a community of donors that take pride in being a part of your organization. It will also help create donor retention by giving donors a tangible community they can be a part of by giving again. If your organization doesn’t yet have the resources to throw its own events, try reaching out to student conferences or camps. Most of these feature a “sponsored charity” that the host will endorse and encourage students to become involved with. These types of events make excellent gateways to engaging young people with your cause, and many will even help you raise money.

Millennials will soon grow into the primary donating generation, so it is essential to engage them with a modernized outreach program that speaks to them. By integrating these tips and moving toward platforms that are familiar, like digital fundraising, charities can begin growing a lively and dedicated community of young donors.


Topics: Tips and Tricks

How to convince people to believe in your charity's cause

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Sep 29, 2015 6:00:00 AM


Topics: Tips and Tricks

Motivate Your Volunteers to Make More Calls

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 24, 2015 6:00:00 AM

It’s almost game-time. You’ve got the tools. You’ve got the volunteer power. All you need is some good ol’ motivation. With volunteers, this should be easy, but sometimes it can be difficult to get volunteers out of their heads and into the game (or phone bank).

Don’t let your outreach get stuck at the one-yard line. Follow these three tips to have your volunteers call more voters, more efficiently:

1. Fuel Up
Every team has a big meal the night before a big game. Provide your volunteers some food on your “game day” so they can fuel up before making all of those phone calls. The best part is that it doesn’t need to be and chips work perfectly. As an added bonus, snacks will keep your volunteers coming back again and again (this is especially true with students).

2. Pump it Up

Topics: calling, elections, Tips and Tricks

Convincing Donors to Increase their Contribution to Your Charity

Posted by Ellen Perfect on Sep 22, 2015 10:17:00 AM

Topics: Tips and Tricks

Customer Story: Trinidad and Tobago National Election

Posted by Emma Gibbens on Sep 22, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The People's National Movement in Trinidad and Tobago won the National Election on September 7th, 2015.They ran a tough campaign against the incumbent party, the United National Congress. One of the big PNM strategies was to engage voters in a dialogue about crime, corruption, and economy. They wanted to energize and mobilize voters to the polls through an integrated digital medal and field campaign. Vestige Strategies, a political strategy consulting firm, was able to deliver that vision and process through NationBuilder and Organizer.

Topics: elections, international, customer story

When a Traditional Phone Bank Becomes too Expensive - Look for a Better Solution

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 21, 2015 6:00:00 AM

In a political system where money creates votes, every dollar matters. Winning outreach campaigns are ones that spend each dollar in a way that has the highest return on investment, or generates the most votes per dollar spent. Some outreach methods are inexpensive but ineffective, such as direct mail. It has low costs and oversight is unnecessary, but it rarely generates any votes. Others are more expensive, but can be extremely effective at generating votes. The goal of any successful campaign is to find a technique that is inexpensive but also incredibly effective.

Currently, phone banks are of the latter category. They are expensive to build, involve significant research, and need constant supervision. But they work. If managed well, phone banks generate votes. This gives them an extraordinary amount of potential.

To make the return on an investment in a phone bank greater, a campaign needs to cut their costs. Traditional phone banks require large and expensive infrastructure. A campaign needs a room and computers and phones and calling minutes and a voter list just to have the potential to be successful. Establishing this infrastructure is a complicated process that requires hours of research and multiple contracts with many different vendors.

Where in this complicated process can a campaign cut costs and simplify while still being effective?

The answer is...almost everywhere. Campaigns can cut infrastructure and complications by switching to mobile phone banking.

Mobile phone banking requires no rented rooms, tables of computers, or tangled phone lines. It takes the majority of the complication and expense out of phone banking. Mobile phone banking has the potential to save a campaign over $100 per week when compared to a traditional political phone bank. All while still generating an impressive amount of votes.

Cutting the costs associated with phone banks will increase their overall efficiency by generating more votes for less money - giving a campaign some much-needed extra cash for other outreach efforts.

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Topics: calling

How to Recruit Volunteers

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 17, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Finding reliable volunteers is a challenge for almost all political campaigns. To make this challenge seem more like a hill and less like a mountain, we created six simple steps to help you recruit dedicated volunteers.

Note: It’s important to start your search at least three weeks before you need your volunteers. Any later and you may not have enough time to make the necessary connections.

Step 1: Identify Partners
The best place to start your search for volunteers is to find partners in the community. These are people who are on your “team” and can assist you with rallying people. These partners are important to identify, as they will help you cast a wider volunteer net.

Step 2: Find Communities
Find local communities that have a dedicated membership, meet regularly, and would be interested in your cause. These communities may be religious, political, or educational—and are the secret treasure troves of volunteers. They are continuously looking for opportunities to engage in the community and tend to facilitate volunteer work. Educational communities can be especially fruitful as they are full of students looking to gain work experience.

During this step, it is important to keep your voters in mind. If your voters speak Spanish, you want to make sure you identify Spanish-speaking communities.

Step 3: Create Your Message

Write a statement and create flyers that highlight the main message of your campaign. It is also important to note what your targets will gain from volunteering. Maybe your candidate wants to address an issue important to that specific community or the volunteers will join a social community where they can meet more like-minded people. Remember that the majority of people do not just volunteer for nothing. Just because they are not being paid does not mean they are not gaining anything.

Topics: calling, canvassing, elections

Social Pressure as a Campaign Strategy

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Since field consultants began to see the effectiveness of social pressure as a Get Out the Vote strategy, it’s been controversial. On one hand, it works. Gerber and Green discovered that mailers sharing neighbors voting records increased voter turnout by 8% (or 1 voter for 12 recipients) in an election. On the other hand, many would argue that voting is a personal choice and sharing history with neighbors invades privacy.

Luckily, there is a happy medium in this debate. GOTV studies have shown that although peer social pressure has the strongest result, people can also effectively place social pressure on themselves.

One example of this strategy was tested through a phone bank. The phone bank called voters and had them describe why voting is important. Then, right before Election Day, the phone bank called the same voters and shared with them their answers. This strategy was very successful and brought more voters to the polls, but it was also very time consuming with two contacts necessary for success.

Another strategy shared with people their own voting records. This study recorded that these people were 5% (1 vote for 20 recipients) more likely to go to the polls than those who were not shared their voting records. Although the result is not as high as peer shaming, it is still very effective strategy for a GOTV campaign.

Topics: elections

Say Cheese! The power of a smile in a phone bank

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 15, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Field Canvassing 101 will tell you that a smile is the most important thing to do when someone opens their front door. Smiling canvassers appear friendlier and tend to have longer conversations with voters and less doors slammed—it takes a little more punch to close a door on a person who looks so friendly!

A smile is extraordinary powerful when canvassing. But, does this power extend outside of face­ to­face contact? Say, for instance, to a phone bank. Would a voter be able to tell if a caller is smiling through the phone?

Surprisingly, yes.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth proved that people know when someone is smiling based on vocal cues alone. They demonstrated their hypothesis by splitting a random group of test subjects into two groups. The first group was recorded answering questions when smiling and speaking normally. The second group then listened to the recordings. The listeners could not only tell when the subjects were smiling, but they could hear the differences between the different types of smiles.

The researchers went further to prove that a smile can provide a stronger informational message and even impact the listeners on a subliminal level. This could lead to a stronger message and hold on a voter's attention, all from a simple facial tweak.

Although specific research on the length of a phone conversation between a smiling caller and a non­smiling caller has yet to be created, one can conclude that a smile would positively impact the results of your phone bank.

So, remind your callers to smile while they dial. Share a pizza and a good laugh to increase your success.

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Topics: calling

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