It’s up to us to use every bit of energy and enthusiasm that we have to help Barack Obama implement the much needed change to help get our our nation back on track. There’s no later, and no tomorrow. Democracy begins and ends with us.
Step 1: Organizational Meeting
Schedule your organizational meeting as soon as possible. You have to get moving as quickly as possible. There’s no time to spare.
The best times to schedule organizational meetings are weekday evenings and weekends. Choose a location that is easily accessible and a comfortable environment to everyone in your community. Popular venues are local coffee shops, diners, and community centers. If you think your gathering may be large, you should contact the venue ahead of time to let them know that you will be coming with a group.
One of the keys to a successful meeting is promoting the event properly.
Here are a few things you can do to get the word out effectively:
Promote on My.BarackObama.
Send out an email to the listservs of the groups you belong to on My.BarackObama. Write a blog post and post it to the group profile, announcing the details of your event. Message your friends on My.BarackObama to let them know that the event is coming up.
Promote in your community. Send invitations to the event to your personal email lists, neighborhood groups, community group lists, etc. Make a list of important friends, neighbors, or colleagues that you really want there and call to remind them of the event before it happens. Try posting flyers at your local coffee shop, grocery store or library to reach an even larger audience.
Don’t be shy in trying to get the word out. The more people that know your event is happening, the more likely you’ll get a sizable crowd.
Finally, make sure your local campaign field office knows about your event. You can find the office closest to you by visiting BarackObama.com and selecting your state.
When the day of your event approaches, make sure you remind attendees that the event is coming up. Know how many people you’ll be expecting and let your venue know if you think it may disrupt their normal business. Get to your event 15 minutes or half an hour before it’s supposed to begin to set up before everyone arrives.
There are several things you’ll want to make sure you bring:
Name tags to help attendees remember one another’s name and feel comfortable introducing themselves.
Sign-in sheets so that you can keep your attendees informed of your group’s actions in the coming weeks.
Issue flyers for anyone who is curious to know more about Barack’s position on any particular topic.
It’s smart to begin your meeting five or ten minutes after the planned start time in order to give enough time for latecomers to get in. This also gives folks a few minutes to mingle and get acquainted. Once you have a critical mass, introduce yourself. Talk briefly about who you are and be sure to emphasize your personal reasons for supporting Barack Obama. Ask the other attendees to go around and introduce themselves as well.
Once everyone is familiar with everyone else, it’s time to get organized. Discuss with the group how to complete Step 2.
Step 2: Building Your List of Supporters
The most important thing that you can do on behalf of this campaign is bring in new supporters. It’s these people that you reach out to who will come out on Election Day and cast their vote to change America.
Your top priority in the coming weeks will be to engage voters, talk to them about what this campaign is about, and encourage them to commit to voting for Barack Obama.
Here are two of the most popular ways to reach out to potential voters:
Think of a canvass as a neighborhood walk. Canvasses happen when a group of people get together and go door-to-door to homes and apartments in a selected neighborhood to spread the message about Barack Obama.
The first thing you’ll need to do is choose a neighborhood to canvass. Find the neighborhoods that have the most Democratic voters, because in the primary season, those are the neighborhoods where your message needs to be heard the most. (If you’d prefer to canvass your own neighborhood instead, that’s okay too.)
All volunteer canvassers should have a map of the “turf,” or part of the neighborhood, they will be walking that day. The goal should be to have every person knock on 50 doors. Be sure to print out or photocopy enough maps for everyone to have one and delegate out an appropriate amount of streets for each person. You can get maps of local neighborhoods online. Google Maps is an especially detailed, free resource. You can also get maps from your local Democratic party. They should have maps of neighborhoods organized by precinct.
The best days to canvass are Saturdays and Sundays. More people tend to be home on these days. Please make sure not to knock on any doors before 9:30 a.m. or after dark.
You’ll need a few materials to coordinate your canvass:
This is a basic guide of what’s important for volunteers to say at the door.
You’re going to want to have some literature that your volunteers can distribute as they canvass. The campaign has prepared a library of flyers with lots of policy details. Use them to get your volunteers educated before heading out.
This is the most important form you can provide. All volunteers going door-to-door should be equipped with a sign-up sheet. The goal of each conversation should be to bring one more supporter into the campaign. Once a person says they are likely to vote for Barack Obama in their primary, they should fill out basic information about themselves.
Once your canvass is over, there is nothing more important than reporting your results back to the campaign. It is absolutely essential that the campaign receive all of the information on new supporters. Someone from the canvassing group should be charged with entering all of this information on our site for new supporters.
Tabling and flyering
Obama ’08 signs. If you don’t have any of these, you can purchase them in bulk at the Obama Store.
Whether you’re tabling or flyering, you’ll need to have some object to hand out to people that they can take with them.
The ultimate goal of any tabling or flyering event should be to collect information about supporters so that the campaign can stay in touch with them in the days leading up to your state’s primary election. Print out several sheets and encourage supporters to fill in as much information as possible.
Just like for any neighborhood canvass that you may do, there’s nothing more important than reporting your supporter information back to the campaign. Someone from your group should be charged with entering all of this information on our site for new supporters.
Step 3: Phonebank
There’s no doubt that the most important thing you can do is bring new people into the campaign. As outlined in the previous tabs, canvassing and tabling are the best ways to do that. But not every day is made for canvassing. Bad weather can be quite a deterrent.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else to do. One of the most important things you can do to help Barack get elected is pick up the phone and call potential supporters from your own home.
The campaign has built an online phone banking tool that makes it extremely easy for you to call. All you have to do is log into My.BarackObama.com and find the “Peer Contact” section of your dashboard. Click on the campaign that is currently active, and you’ll be able to get started calling immediately.
If members of your group have laptops and cell phones and someone has a wireless network set up in their home, then you can also have a phone banking party.
Follow the outlines on the next tab for the fundraising house party, but instead of making a financial request, ask people to pick up their phones and call on behalf of the campaign.
During Your Event
Welcome your guests and introduce them to others at your house party. Make sure every attendee signs in on your sign-in sheet.
Introduce yourself and share with the group why you decided to host this event and why you support Barack Obama. Why have you stayed involved? Everyone has a unique story about how they got engaged, and your guests want to hear it directly from you. Your openness will help set the tone for the rest of the event.
For information on how Barack answers these questions, go to BarackObama.com. Many people who host house parties like to show a campaign video or DVD. You can have your guests gather around your computer to watch BarackTV, or you can download a video and make your own.