My dear wife Rona Fischman is constantly shaking her head at what passes for communication. I told you before about the phone solicitor who lied to her, the email marketer who never told her the truth, and the bank that failed to earn her interest.
Here’s the story of the campaign volunteer who nearly lost her vote–in one phone call.
On the Saturday before Election Day, Rona got a live call to her business phone from an Alderman at Large candidate’s organization. (An Alderman is like a city councilor.) The volunteer asked Rona if this candidate could count on her vote.
Rona said something like this, “I have four votes. Two are spoken for. The other two are up for grabs. Tell me why your candidate should get one of them.”
The guy on the phone was gobsmacked. He could not tell her why she should vote for his candidate. After a short silence, he said “____ will work tirelessly for the good of the people of Somerville,” and hung up.
Rona went on Facebook and asked all her friends, “Should this candidate lose my vote because his calling staff don’t have a clue why he’s right for the city?”
That’s not the kind of question a candidate wants voters to ask. It’s not the kind of question your nonprofit organization wants its donors to ask, either.
Please, please, please train your volunteers. At the moment they interact the public, they are your organization. What they do and say is what you stand for–at least to the person interacting with them. And when you ask for donations, you will need that person to vote yes.
Sybil Stershic (@SybilQSM) says
The campaign manager or volunteer coordinator definitely failed here by not preparing the volunteer(s) to articulate why the candidate should be elected. Everyone involved in the campaign (including phone callers, door hanging canvassers, envelope stuffers, etc.) are brand ambassadors and should be recognized and treated as such. It’s a critical lesson that should be applied to ALL organizations and everyone who works for them, whether paid or volunteer. (BTW, kudos to Rona for asking the critical question!)