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Musings, tips, and thoughts from the Organizer team

Rebecca Stone

Recent Posts

How Nick Josefowitz beat the last Republican in San Francisco

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Nov 10, 2015 6:40:26 AM

Nick Josefowitz had one goal – “Clean up BART”.

BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit, is the public transportation system that connects the East Bay to San Francisco and has the reputation of being outdated and dirty. Josefowitz wanted to join the elected BART board, which oversees billions of dollars in contracts including contracts for power plants, housing, and retail around its stations, to bring innovation to its dated system and leadership.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics, Success Stories, Sales & Direct Marketing

Why Door-to-Door Sales Will Never be Outdated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.

Topics: Sales & Direct Marketing

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

With these three simple tips, your volunteers will remain motivated and your phone bank will be a surefire success.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 healthy...pizza 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

Channel your inner Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans to give a pre-call pump up speech. Thank them for their time, but also remind them why they are there and how their actions will positively impact the campaign. Show your passion for your cause. This will go a long way in motivating your callers to be more productive and have more meaningful conversations.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics

Get an ROI on Your Phone Banking Campaign Efforts

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.


Topics: Campaigns & Politics

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: Campaigns & Politics, Sales & Direct Marketing

Using 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: Campaigns & Politics

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: Campaigns & Politics

Unleash the Power of the Data: Big Data in Political Canvassing

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 14, 2015 11:00:00 AM



It’s official. Big Data is in. It’s the biggest buzzword in corporations, it’s the hot new thing that every organization wants to take out to dinner—and it’s the data political campaigns are using more and more to win. The power of big data has been unleashed in campaigns as large as presidential to as small as city council. And in 2016, big data is going to be bigger than ever.

Topics: Campaigns & Politics

Why Volunteer Phone Banks Work Better

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 8, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Topics: Campaigns & Politics

Get the Troops Voting: Best Practices for Labor Union Organizing

Posted by Rebecca Stone on Sep 8, 2015 6:00:00 AM


The power of a labor union comes from its membership. Whether supporting a candidate or a policy, labor unions shape the argument by flexing the voting power of their members. Union leaders work to keep their members informed and voting with the union’s best interest in mind to strengthen that muscle. Leaders accomplish this many different ways - some may send mailers, others may run get out the vote initiatives.


It can be difficult, however, to reach and influence membership. Maybe members lose sight of the ramifications of a local election or the strength of a single vote. Either way, discovering the best tactic to mobilize members becomes a necessity for a strong and powerful union.

What is the best way for union leaders to influence their members?


The best way to get your troops marching to the polls and increase the influence of your organization is through face-to-face personal contact. Members are more likely to remember a conversation and understand the importance of an election when conveyed in person. Research by Gerber and Green shows that door-to-door canvassing was 10x more likely to produce a vote per person contacted than direct mail.


These initiatives can have large impacts on Election Day and in future influence. The stronger the voter turnout in an Election, the stronger the influence of the union in future elections.

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