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Spring Weekend of Action Host Guide

What we are doing in 2018

The strength of our Party is not about any single individual — it depends on how many Texas Democrats are talking to their neighbors, empowering their communities, and changing this state. That is why, from now until November, Texas Democrats across the state will be using new digital organizing tools to reach more volunteers and voters than ever before.

Why hosting events matters

Hosting volunteer events is how we build our party — attending Democratic events is a common way for new folks to get involved. Whether you’re a hosting champion or this is your first time to throw an event, our event planning checklist can help you out.

When we need your help

Over the next month, our team will be rolling out each of our exciting new digital organizing tools with a Weekend of Action!

  • Hustle Textbank Weekend of Action: April 28
  • VoterCircle Weekend of Action: May 12
  • MiniVan Distributed Canvassing: June 2

Hosting a Successful Weekend of Action Event

There are so many different events you can put together to help Texas Democrats up and down the ticket during our upcoming Weekends of Action!

Below are some general guidelines for hosting myriad social events.

What types of events could you plan?

  • Textbank
  • VoterCircle Party
  • MiniVan Canvass
  • Voter Registration and/or Card Collection Drives
  • House Parties
  • Organizing Meetings
  • Run a training
  • Phonebank

First Steps

  • When? Set a date
  • Where? Secure a location
  • What? Purpose of event
  • Why? Set goals for your event
  • How many attendees? See the Backwards planning guide below
  • How many calls made, texts sent, voters registered, etc.?
  • Who? Brainstorm who you’re going to invite
  • Do you need materials? Consult your regional political director

How do you recruit attendees?

What materials do you need to organize successful events?

  • Agenda
  • Sign-in Sheets (Sign-in form template here)
  • Calendar of Upcoming Events
  • Pens
  • Clipboards
  • Voter Registration Forms
  • Commit to Vote Cards
  • Talking Points/Script
  • Training guides (if applicable)

Setting up your event

  • Sign-in tables & event seating setup
  • Water
  • Food or snacks, if needed
  • Set up a donation station, if needed
  • Set up computers/internet, if needed
  • Set the mood: Make sure to welcome your guests and thank them for coming!

Post Event

  • Clean up
  • Process Sign-In Sheets, upload them to VAN
  • Follow up with attendees
  • Thank you cards and phone calls
  • Post about how great your event was on Facebook, Twitter, email your list about the great work you are doing
  • Ask participants to share photos from the event on social media too

Hard Ask Training

Mindset

We’re not just asking for help.
We’re offering the opportunity to fight for the issues and a candidate that they care about.
We are providing the chance to have an impact on an election that has enormous stakes for the country and their community.
We are inviting them to be a part of something larger than themselves.

Language

GIVE CONTEXT

  • Offer an exciting opportunity
  • Remind them they are part of a community i.e. your neighbors are coming!
  • Make it important
  • Convey a sense of urgency

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

  • Build rapport by asking questions
  • Ask yourself: What motivates this person? What issues do they care about?

BE CLEAR AND DIRECT

  • Be specific about what you need and when you need it
  • Don’t equivocate. Avoid “do you think you might be able to”; “maybe”; “possibly” and other weak language

BE ASSUMPTIVE

  • Ask either/or not yes/no
  • Assume a “Yes!” Be skeptical of “No”

Ask

Most asks get the response, “No.” Overcome that initial hesitation.

  • Make multiple asks. Keep asking until you get a YES!
  • Don’t stop at YES. Ask for everything we need.

Get a hard commitment. The ask ends with a specific commitment.

EXAMPLE: Soft vs. Hard Ask

Soft: John, I was wondering if you might be interested in volunteering with us some time?

Better: John, can I count on you to come to a climate change phonebank this Friday at 6pm?

Hard: John, with so much at stake in this upcoming election, I want to give you the exciting opportunity to join us and your neighbors for a Climate Change phonebank either on Wednesday at 5pm or Thursday at 6pm! Which night works better for you?

 


Backwards-Planning Guide

For every event we recruit volunteers for, we need to understand and accept the realities of organizing work. No matter how dedicated your volunteers might be, statistically 50 percent will always not show up or “flake out”. We also know that most people don’t answer the phone (roughly 80 percent) and roughly only 20 percent of those who answer the phone will be able to attend your event. Therefore:

  • 50% “Flake” Rate
  • 20% “Contact” rate
  • 20% “Yes” rate

Example: If you require at least 10 volunteers for a textbank, how many people do you need to contact?

Total Calls needed: 10 vols = 20 vols confirmed = 100 contacts = 500 invites

Working Backwards:

Saturday:
10 volunteers in attendance.
Have everything ready (scripts, pens, call sheets, etc).
Be prepared before volunteers show up!

Friday Night:
Need 20 volunteers confirmed – make confirmation calls to everyone!
Leave a message with the information they need to be able to attend your event.
Make sure you print everything you need and have your textbank set up beforehand!

Monday – Thursday Night:
Throughout the week, make 500 calls to schedule volunteers.
Work with your regional organizer to create a script and “Ask” for your phonebank

 


Sample Agenda: Hustle Textbank

3:30
Arrivals and Sign-in
Attendees grab food/drink and mingle
Greet everyone who enters and introduce volunteers to other volunteers & team members!

3:40
Official Welcome, Overview of the Agenda & Introductions
Welcome everyone to the meeting and review the agenda
Set some ground rules for how everyone should treat each other while at the textbank
Tell your personal story and what brought you here today

3:50
Training & Goal Setting
Walk through the How to Hustle training powerpoint
Emphasize the best practices
Take questions at the end, be sure to answer thoughtfully
Set goals with your volunteers
How many messages will each person send
How many shifts will they schedule

4:00
Start texting!
Have volunteers start sending out messages!
Make sure as they go through their workflow, that they also respond to replies
While volunteers are texting you should circulate the room and answer questions as needed

5:15
Debrief
Recap how the texting went in its entirety
Create a plan for this same group to meet again and have clear next steps – be sure to have a date and time already planned, remember this is a hard ask.
Take a group picture and post on social media!
Thank everyone for coming
Give everyone your cell phone and email and have everyone share with each other!
Clean up!


For more information on how to become a superstar Democratic activist, check out our free online training platform!

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