Resource Library

On Recruiting & Inviting

You are here:

We use this rather blunt term “recruiting” as a catch-all to describe the act of inviting people into the community to take part in our shared work. That term doesn’t do justice to what we’re really doing here. When we as organizers ask ourselves standard questions like “how can I get more people to attend our phonebanks?” it’s essential to foreground the omnipresent poetry of electoral organizing: friendship and increased connectedness are both the route to building power & helping candidates win close elections, and also our reward.

For more on how to think about and approach recruiting, see:

When recruiting, we seek to connect personally if/where possible so that the invitations we make (aka “asks”) reflect, address, and respond to who they are and what’s possible and positive for them. We listen. We endeavor to communicate through (personal) stories, painted pictures, and illustrations to help someone locate themselves in the opportunity and to ground that opportunity, and the invitation, in our shared values and vision.

And we want to be clear about how the thing connects to our larger mission, i.e. specifically how attending that phonebank helps the candidate win a close election.

Folks will jump in if they feel the stirrings of their intrinsic motivations when they consider aspects of the opportunity; if the invitation reflects and matches their resources and constraints; and if the value proposition — if you do X, it gets us to Y — is made concrete and feels sound. See examples of how these conversations might go here.

Notes on making an effective recruitment invitation:

  • Include a note of urgency. Urgency can be created around time and strategy/tactics i.e. “We’re calling our voters on Sunday for a special Weekend of Action to do a major push for our candidate – can you join us?”. It can also be created around a threat, i.e. “We’re calling voters this weekend because GOP dark money is flooding into the race – can you join us?”. Be sparing in your use of threat urgency, if you use it at all. 
  • Make your “ask” specific. “We’re calling our voters on a special Weekend of Action to do a major push for our candidate – can you join us on our virtual phonebank Sunday 1-3pm?”
  • Make it personal. We seek to connect the invitation to what we know about the person and to make it personal and connective between “inviter” and invitee, i.e. “We’re calling our voters on a special Weekend of Action to do a major push for our candidate – can you join us on our virtual phonebank Sunday 1-3pm? You mentioned wanting to find a steady volunteering option and more community; I was in the same boat and this weekly phonebank has really been positive for me. I love this group of people, and you’ll fit perfectly. Will you give it a try on Sunday?”
  • Connect the dots and open the hood. We need to connect the invitation, what we know about the person, and ourselves to our shared values and vision, i.e. “We’re calling our voters this Sunday for a special Weekend of Action to do a major push for our candidate – can you join us on our virtual phonebank Sunday 1-3pm? You mentioned wanting to find a steady volunteering option and more community; I was in the same boat and this weekly phonebank has really been positive for me. I love this group of people, and you’ll fit perfectly. Democrats have made such wonderful progress in Virginia around gun safety, voting access, expanding healthcare. There’s still so much for them to do, and they only have a 2 seat majority in the State Senate. We’re here to see to it Democrats keep power. Identifying voters helps the campaign have the right conversation with the right voters at the right time. And phonebanking is by far our best tactic for this. Will you give it a try on Sunday?”
Previous Video: Recruitment Sister District Style 2021 Summit