63 Magazine - Issue 1

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63 Magazine, for progressive political organizers. Issue 1 is all about Inspiration, featuring Marlon Marshall.

63

Magazine

Inspiration

Marlon

Marshall

Featuring

For Political Organizers

Issue № 1

Winter, 2015


Luis

is a brand new organizer.

Gabby

has already worked

on several campaigns.

Organizers

have very little free time or bandwidth, but want to

excel at their job while continuing to learn and grow.

We made 63 Magazine

for Gabby, Luis, and the thousands of other political

organizers working on progressive campaigns.

This SPECIAL EDITION ISSUE #1 is prepared exclusively for distribution to:

63Magazine.com

This is a convenient PDF version of the first issue (published Winter 2015).

making organizing easier.


Click here to play video

follow

online @


63Mag

Online Community

Alice McAlexander

Editor

Nick Penney

Art Director

Warren Flood

Publisher

Click here for subscription information


Letter from the Editor

Alice McAlexander

Welcome to the first issue of 63 Magazine.

63Mag is all about helping organizers like you do your job even better. Every issue, we’ll

have a few key sections:

• Motivation & Muses: Interviews and guidance to stay inspired.

• Do Your Job: Advice and best practices to help improve your organizing skills.

• Grow Your Skills: Learn about other departments to help your overall development.

• Organizer Life Hacks: Easy changes to improve your work.

• Take Care of Yourself: Improve your health, wealth, and well-being.

• Organizer Spotlight: Highlighting current and former organizers.

• Have Some Fun: Smiling makes you better.

Every issue will be full of inspiration and advice from experts and peers alike, but this

issue is special to me because my friend, Marlon D. Marshall, is featured throughout.

After talking with Marlon to learn about his time as an organizer, what inspires him to

work so hard with such a great attitude, and what practical lessons he applies

every day, we dug even deeper. Not only do we highlight his story and his best

advice for organizers, we walk through his actionable steps you can take to get

over burnout. And following his best resource suggestion for new organizers, we

reached out to Larry Tramutola, the author of Marlon’s book recommendation,

Sidewalk Strategies, to discuss some of the more challenging aspects of organizing

and the evergreen lessons he’s learned through four decades of organizing.

I know just how starved for time you are. We’ve thought of that every step of the way to

create an easy and valuable experience for you that is worth your time.

From advice on how to make call time more fun (hint: it involves dancing), to a peek

inside what your analytics department is doing, to a yoga routine designed

specifically for your busy schedule, we’ve stuffed this issue full of best

practices, wisdom, and inspiration. To do this, we talked to a lot of different

organizers from all over the country and all sorts of experience levels.

When you make your way through all the articles and videos, make sure to check out our

final section “Ready, Set, Action!” to recap the actionable takeaways

you can use right away to improve your organizing.

Now, get reading and keep up the great work!


Letter from the Publisher

Warren Flood

You might be wondering, why the name “63 Magazine”? 63 represents the

highest turnout percent of the voting age population (VAP) in modern U.S. presidential

elections. In 1960, 63% of adults showed up to the polls to vote for Kennedy over Nixon.

We chose the name 63 Magazine because your goal as a political organizer is to increase

the total net votes gained for your candidate or cause; and increasing registration and

turnout of likely supporters is how progressive campaigns can win tough races.

If Democrats can once again achieve 63% national VAP turnout on election day, we will

almost certainly be able to help advance progressive causes for the good of the nation.

Your organizing work pulls more people into the political process and empowers them to

enact change at the local and national level. Not only do you organize to move our country

towards progress, you engage individuals to play an active part in the shaping of their

community. Your work as an organizer is hard and often thankless, but it most certainly

is noble and necessary.

I will always remember July 13, 2007, because that was the day I visited my very first

campaign field office. I was welcomed with wide open arms, minds, and hearts by an

amazing group of dedicated organizers who inspired me and lifted me to great and

unimagined heights. 63 Magazine is a heartfelt thank you to every organizer

who improves so many lives in little and big ways.

Letter from the Art Director

Nick Penney

Hey, I’m Nick, and I run a small animation and design shop in Seattle called

Then Studios. When Alice and Warren first approached me about the idea of teaming up to

publish a digital magazine for political organizers, I was surprised — prior to this project,

I’d had exactly zero experience working on magazines.

There’s been a learning curve to conquer, but I think I speak for the three of us when I say

that 63 Magazine has been a labor of love, and I’m proud of the way it’s turned out. I hope

you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed making it.


By Alice McAlexander, Editor

I wrote the following letter earlier this year

to all of the field organizers already

working remarkably hard for the

2016 election cycle. I wanted to help

organizers going into the incredibly

hard month of August feel a bit better.

But it soon became more than just

one letter.

It inspired Warren and I to think about

what the organizing community had

available to regularly inspire and uplift

them. Despite the dozens of great

organizations working to train organizers,

we started to realize organizers everywhere

needed a champion. We want to be that

champion, so we created 63 Magazine, a

digital magazine and online community

for progressive political organizers.

Augusts

Are

Hard

The Inspiration for 63 Magazine

I joined my first campaign as an organizing

fellow for Barack Obama in Richmond,

Virginia in the summer of 2008. After a

summer of non-stop voter reg and call time,

I was so lucky to be hired as an organizer

in Chesterfield, Virginia. I soon learned

that being an organizer was a lot more

than doing voter contact all day. It’s hard,

rewarding, consuming, transformational,

exhausting, and inspirational work and

those first few months as an organizer

would prepare me for everything

else I would face in my future.

We hope 63 Magazine will make organizing

jobs a little bit easier to do, and we’re excited

to see how we can help the movement.

Here’s the letter that inspired 63Mag.


Motivation

&

Muses

Interviews and guidance to stay inspired


Inspiration

An interview with Marlon Marshall

BY ALICE MCALEXANDER


Part I

“Organizing is simply about building

relationships to make change in

your community for a purpose,

person, or cause—and that

will never change.”

Marlon Marshall,

who currently serves as

the director of state campaigns

and political engagement for

Hillary for America, has a long history

of organizing. Through natural charisma,

a seemingly endless amount of energy

(I’ve seen him pretend-throw a chair

across the room after a speech to fire up

his staff on more than one occasion),

leadership skills, and a lot of hard work,

Marlon has become one of the most

successful organizers in politics today.

Marlon is the son of a St. Louis computer

teacher and a former airman with

the Air Force. His mother, a teacher

who taught for 36 years in inner city

St. Louis, is his constant inspiration

to work as hard as he does.

Growing up in a well-funded school district,

Marlon noticed the significant disparity

in resources between his school and the

under-resourced school his mother taught

at. Whereas he had access to computers,

his mother’s students barely had enough

pens and pencils. Watching his mom’s

dedication to provide a quality education

to disadvantaged kids, and particularly

youth of color, Marlon became motivated

to help improve the circumstances of

children like those his mother taught.

Following the path not often

taken by ambitious and

successful college students,

Marlon chose a career in organizing.

Through organizing, he fell in love

with engaging and empowering people

around the issues that matter to them.

At the University of Kansas, Marlon’s

classmate drew him into running for

Student Senate. He immediately relished

working with the student body around

important issues at KU. Realizing how

much he loved this type of work, he began

volunteering in local races in 2002 and

he’s been working in politics ever since.

From his first “real” organizing experience

on the John Kerry campaign in 2004

to working for President Obama on

Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment,

Marlon’s encountered the ups and

downs that all organizers face.

Talking with the man who now leads

Hillary Clinton’s major primary state

operations and all political engagement

with federal, state, and local elected

officials, it’s hard to imagine that Marlon

was once a brand new organizer without

a clue what he was doing, or why.

Just like many first time organizers, he was

given a volunteer prospect list and eight

empty phone bank chairs to fill. Luckily,

Marlon didn’t give up despite feeling lost,

trusting the guidance he’d been given. As

he continued to reach out to volunteers,

he began to meet the people who were

giving up time out of their lives to help

move their country forward. He was so

inspired to see those eight full phonebank

lines quickly grow to 40 full phonebank


lines. Every person in each phonebank

seat mattered to Marlon, and all of his

hard work had started to pay off.

Since his first presidential campaign in

2004, Marlon has been busy. After working

in Maryland with the state party, he

worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential

campaign as the field director in Nevada,

Ohio, and Indiana. Marshall stayed

with Clinton’s team until she conceded

the Democratic primary, before joining

then-Senator Obama’s team as the

general election director in Missouri.

In the next six years, he’d serve as the

national field director at the Democratic

Congressional Campaign Committee,

the deputy national field director for

Obama’s reelection campaign, a founding

partner of the grassroots consulting

fi r m270 Strategies, and as principal

deputy director of the Office of Public

Engagement of the White House.

Marlon describes his best moment as an

organizer (so far!) to be the day the

Congressional Budget Office estimated

there were over seven million signups in

the first year of the Affordable Care Act.

When telling this story, he calls himself

“a small part of the team” responsible for

the ACA rollout, demonstrating that he

heeds his own advice for organizers—

never forget to be humble. As the special

assistant to President Obama, Marlon

actually oversaw the White House’s

efforts to promote Obamacare in cities

with large uninsured populations, and

played a huge role in its great success.

As Marlon’s friend, the first thing I always

wonder when I hear Marlon is signing up for

yet another huge, all-consuming campaign,

is how on earth does he keep doing it?

When Marlon’s on a campaign, he is always

energetic, he is always working hard, and

he is always motivating those around him.

He told me he stays motivated by

remembering why he got involved in the

first place, and by taking the time to look

around him. He continues organizing

to push forward progress that will

improve our education system and ensure

everyone has the same opportunities.

“As an African-American male, it’s

important for me that young kids of

color can grow up to be whatever they

want to be. But I also draw motivation

from our volunteers. When you see folks

taking time out of their day to give back

and move their community forward—

if that doesn’t give you inspiration,

then you’re in the wrong business.”

Marlon Marshall is certainly in the right

business.


Part II

Q&A

with Marlon Marshall

AM: Do you

remember any specific

“Aha!” moment when

being an organizer started

to really click for you?

MM: It was probably in Cleveland, in 2004.

I was in Missouri for John Kerry when they

decided to pull all the staff out of Missouri

one month before the election because

Missouri was going to be a red state. I went

to Cleveland, where I got to work with a lot

of great folks. There were a lot of volunteers

in Cleveland, so it was mostly signing

people up for GOTV shifts on doors,

phones, etc.

Even though we weren’t successful in that

election, it all was just clicking for me. I saw,

“Okay, you build this whole organization

to ultimately get to this point where you

are able to contact as many voters in your

neighborhood and tell your personal story

about why you support that candidate,” and

it all just made sense. Everything I had done

in the two to three months before then—

making all those calls, and getting all these

volunteers into a phonebank—all made

sense because by the end, we were talking

to as many people as possible about the

future of our country.

What I love about organizing, in

particular for the Democratic Party, is

that it’s all about getting people invested in

their communities to move our progressive

values forward. That’s when it definitely

clicked for me—’04 Cleveland GOTV,

when I saw the fruits of what we had built.

AM: What is the best advice you’ve

received about organizing?

MM: I hate to give him credit, but it was

Robby Mook [Hillary for America campaign

manager]. In 2006 I was in a training with

him for folks working on the Maryland

coordinated campaign, when he said:

“When you’re organizing, you want to make

sure you’re leaving something behind that

can last for a long, long time. Yes, you want

to win your election, but it’s also about

leaving something behind.”

After Obama for America in 2008 and

2012, we saw a lot of volunteers who were

interested in running for local office. When

you build neighborhood teams across the

country, that should be part of your longterm

vision. You’re finding volunteers

who will one day be our next members of

congress and more.

Thinking long-term about what you’re

leaving behind in these communities

is something that should be in every

organizer’s mind whenever they go

somewhere. It is—first and foremost

about getting that WIN on election day,

but—are you leaving something that can

last and continue to build and move the

country forward for every day thereafter?


AM: If you were dropped as a

community organizer into a

brand new turf on a brand new

campaign, what would you do that

very first day, week, and month

to set yourself up for success?

MM: I would first figure out who the key

folks in the area are (both elected officials

and activists), sit down with them oneon-one,

ask a bunch of questions, and

just listen. Ask and listen. Particularly if

I wasn’t from that community. Your job

as an organizer is to give people the tools

and resources they need to engage their

community. A lot of times it isn’t about a

specific election—it’s really about how you

move a community forward, period.

It’s not about steam-rolling into a

community, being over-the-top and telling

everyone what they should be doing. Your

job is to support folks and get them engaged

in moving their community forward, by

doing a significant amount of listening

and figuring out what works best in that

community. While in every community you

need to knock doors and make phone calls,

you also need to figure out what the best

ways to get folks involved are. For example,

in some communities you need to build

strong relationships with small business

owners, because they’re going to be effective

mouthpieces for your constituency in that

community.

Spending as much time as possible

humbly listening to key community

members is the first thing I would do if

I was dropped into a brand-new place.

AM: Do you have a book, podcast,

website, or resource you’d

recommend to organizers?

MM: When I first started organizing, I read

the book Sidewalk Strategies by Larry

Tramutola. It’s about how to get people

engaged in your campaign. He told a lot of

good stories about work he did in California

around ballot initiatives. He went to

different cities around California and he

would win these ballot initiatives, which

sometimes you don’t think people pay

attention to, but a lot of times they affect

your everyday life more than anything else.

Sidewalk Strategies is a really good book

because it discusses meeting people where

they are, creating relationships, and really

connecting your campaign values to those

of your voters. It’s these value connections

that really help organizing be successful.

AM: What new development in

organizing are you most excited

about that will elevate our

work to the next level?

MM: Organizing is simply about building

relationships to make change in your

community for a purpose, person, or

cause—and that will never change. People

have successfully organized for years. You

look at the big social movements that have

happened in this country—they came about

from organizing. For example, the civil

rights movement was about getting people

engaged in the process to move the ball

forward. And organizing played a big role

in many large pieces of legislation that have

moved our country forward.

In terms of what elevates organizing today,

I would say, technology in general. Another

central component of organizing is reaching

people where they are. You have a lot of


people online nowadays, so you need to

consider how you use that to organize and

how you use social media to meet people

where they are, whether it be Twitter, or

Facebook, or any of these new apps coming

out.

But, the technology is just a tactic or

channel to help you execute your overall

strategy to hit your goals.

I don’t think there will ever be a day where

you just purely organize online, but it

should definitely be a part of what you’re

doing. Always thinking through new ways

to reach people where they are is the new

focus of organizing. There are all these

tools out there now, and bringing them

into your overall strategy is important.

AM: What personal habit contributes

to your success as an organizer?

MM: Before I started organizing, I was an

unorganized person; organizing actually

made me more organized with my day. I’m

very much a systems person. With my team

I do one-on-one meetings so that we can

drill in on what they are doing and how I

can be supportive to their everyday work.

And then we have a big meeting once per

week, where we can step back and look at

where we are, how we got there, and reassess

what we’re doing.

AM: Do you have a daily or weekly

routine that helps you

improve your health, your

finances, or just to relax?

MM: I should say that my routine is always

going to the gym and eating healthy, which

I try to do, but it fluctuates a lot. It’s really

hard. The biggest thing that keeps me doing

this now is I have a wife who lets me know

when I need to get my butt in the gym. I try

to be realistic about it, but it’s real hard.

I always go back to the fact that you should

be able to fit it into your day, whether it be

early in the morning or late at night, if you

manage your time wisely. But it’s not easy.

It’s about prioritizing and making sure

that you have healthy priorities in place.

AM: Do you do anything right before

you go out to speak at an

event to get pumped up?

MM: Nah, I’m kind of naturally pumped

up. Right before an event I’ll write down

on a little piece of paper some bullet points,

because it helps me think about how I

want to frame what I say, and this helps me

get excited. But I don’t do jumping jacks

or anything; I’m just naturally hyped.

So, I guess my personal habit is creating

systems. These systems help me support

my team by allowing us to dig in when

we need to get the job done, but also

contribute to creating the team culture

that is needed to move forward with a

clear vision of where we need to go.


AM: We got a question for you from an

organizer having a tough time

getting along with a volunteer.

What advice do you have to help

her improve their relationship?

MM: The first thing to consider: is the

volunteer meeting their goals? From there,

you can take a step back, have a one-on-one

with the volunteer, and be real about any

challenges there. The challenges need to

be around where you’re going; everything

should be about if the job is getting done to

help move everything forward.

Ultimately, volunteers are a critical

part of the campaign and what makes

the campaign run. So, you sometimes

have to have real conversations, even

the challenging ones, about any issues

that arise. It’s most important that these

conversations be solutions-based, focused

on how you move the ball forward together.

AM: Do you have any parting words of

advice for organizers?

MM: Always remember why you do the

work. Weekly, take a step back to think

about how you do your work. And

remember, it’s not about you. It’s never

about you. And if it is about you, you’re in

the wrong business.

There’s a family of organizers who

have done this before, so make sure

you ask for advice. Never forget to be

humble. There’s going to be a family of

organizers who come after you, and if

you don’t always help someone get to

where you are, then it became about you,

and it’s definitely not about you.


Part III

How To Get Over Burnout

with Marlon Marshall

For a while, you seemed to have super

human energy! Your days were really

long and full every second, but you were

so excited about the work you were doing

that you never got tired (with the help

of a couple extra-large cappuccinos).

But then, slowly, you sensed weariness

starting to seep in. Tasks that you used

to look forward to, you now dreaded.

Getting out of bed seemed like a herculean

task. And before you knew it, you felt

yourself crashing hard into a wall.

There’s no use denying it—you got burnt

out. Now what do you do?

First, take a step back and realize that every

organizer gets burnt out occasionally.

In fact, our featured organizer,

Marlon Marshall, says:

“If you didn’t hit a wall or get tired, then

you’re not human. It happens

to the best of us.”

Okay, phew. You’re not alone!

Let’s see what steps Marlon recommends

you take to get through those walls. And

hey—he’s been organizing for 13 years.

13 years! If he can work this hard for that

long, you know you can trust his advice.

1. Acknowledge the burnout.

“I think what’s most important is simply

being self-aware. When you hit that wall—

acknowledge it and take a step back.”

The first step in getting over burnout is

recognizing it for what it is. If you

can’t acknowledge that something is

off, you’ll never be able to fix it.

2. Remind yourself why you organize.

“Remind yourself why you’re doing this in

the first place.”

What is your driving motivation? Why do

you care so much about this cause or this

candidate? How are your actions moving

forward an issue that matters to you?

Taking a minute to get sappy and to

re-inspire yourself will drive you to

figure out how to move forward.

3. Talk to someone who can help.

“Talk to someone about it. When you hit a

wall and don’t tell anyone and just keep

going, your performance will suffer.

But if you take a step back and have

a conversation with someone about

it, they can help you through it.”


Hello! This is why you have managers! Talk

to them about it. Don’t be afraid to be

honest with what you’re facing. Your

manager understands and is there to

support you. They can work with you to

figure out how to climb over that wall.

4. Look at how you spend your time.

“When you get burnt out and hit that wall,

it’s often because things have gotten so

crazy that you’re not managing your time

in the best way. This is when you need

to reassess. For one week, write out on

your calendar what you’re doing each

moment of the day. Then the next week,

take a step back and see where you’re

spending your time and reevaluate.”

Often you hit a wall because you’re not

handling your time wisely. And I know

your first reaction is going to be, “ALL MY

TIME IS SPENT WORKING, I HAVE

NO TIME.” I get it. It’s annoying to have

someone insist you need to adjust the way

you spend your time when you feel like

you’re constantly working.

But take yourself and your emotions out of

it for a second. Figure out what habits need

to change. Maybe if you shifted around

when you do certain things or how you do

certain stuff, it will make you more efficient.

And if you’re more efficient, maybe you

might find a little extra time to go to yoga

or do whatever it is that helps you relax.

5. Create systems.

“I create systems that support my team.

These allow us to dig in when we need

to get the job done, but also create a

team culture that is needed to move

forward. These systems make sure that

we don’t get stuck by just doing what

we’re doing now, but always having

a vision of where we need to go.”

Just like Marlon needs systems to manage

his staff, you need systems to manage

your volunteer teams. If you have a system

set up for each task you and your team

need to complete, you can simply follow

the system. This will help keep you less

distracted and stop y ou from worrying

about little details all the time (because

they’re taken care of in the system). It

will allow you to dedicate your time to

the parts of organizing you love most.

6. Adapt.

“Even on this campaign, I’ve taken a step

back and said, ‘Okay, the way I used

my time in April is different than the

way I’m using my time in November.’

But, if I had just done the same thing

from April to November, then I’m not

growing, nor am I supporting my team in

a way that they need to be supported.”

The best way to get over burnout is to never

have it, right? Well, yeah, we don’t have

any magic pills for you or anything, but we

do know that if you adapt your schedule,

your systems, and your management

priorities as the campaign evolves, you’ll

be better prepared to avoid burnout.


Inspirational

Tidbit

Ashley Baia

Senior Grassroots Project Manager,

270 Strategies

On her worst moment as an organizer:

“...While it was one of the more difficult moments for me

on the campaign, it was also such a huge turning point.”

Click here to play video

270 Strategies, a consulting firm based in Chicago and DC, helps its clients build winning campaigns and

put their ideas into action. 270’s sweet spot is helping organizations engage everyday people in their work

by finding people who have common values or goals and connecting with them in a meaningful way.

Learn more at 270Strategies.com


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up. Whether you want to

get fired up before you lead an important canvass

launch or you’re just feeling a little down (and a lot over

it), we all need something reliable to turn to for that little

extra oomph. Throughout this issue, we’ll share some of

63Mag team members’ favorite motivational videos.

I’m pretty sure you’ll feel ready to conquer anything after you

watch one. I can’t promise you won’t cry though.


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Click here to play video

Alice’s Pick #1

“Inches”

by Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino)

in Any Given Sunday (1999)

Full disclosure, I’ve never seen Any

Given Sunday. But I’ve seen the

famous “Inches” speech way too

many times to count. My RFD

in 2008 showed this to us when

my whole region had started to fall

behind. I watch it every time I feel like

I can’t do something anymore. And

then, miraculously, I keep doing it.


Do

Your

Job

Advice and best practices to help you succeed


Ask A Field Director

with Meagan Gardner

This issue’s “Ask a Field Director”

is with Meagan Gardner!

Meagan is currently the

organizing director for the

2016 New Hampshire Primary

for Hillary for America.

Meagan first began organizing for Hillary

Clinton in 2007. After working all over

the country in various roles throughout

the 2008 primary, she moved to Ohio

to become a regional field director for

then-Senator Obama’s general election

campaign. After their victory, Meagan

continued to work for President Obama

for many years—at Organizing for America

as the Midwest regional director, on his

2012 reelection campaign as the Iowa field

director, and then for his administration

in the White House. Now, organizing

for Hillary Clinton eight years after she

started as a field organizer, the Granite

State is certainly lucky to have Meagan.

Like so many other successful organizers,

Meagan is inspired to keep working every

day by the people she has met along the

way. The vast community of organizers,

volunteers, and voters working all over

the country to change the world bit by

bit make her want to work even harder

for the common values they all share.

Though she singles out watching victorious

election night returns for Iowa and the

nation in 2012 as one of her happiest

organizing memories, she genuinely finds

joy in the little wins of organizing; the

quiet moments you may not be able to

articulate at the moment, like watching

someone you’re training have a lightbulb

moment, having a phenomenal

conversation with a voter, or empowering

someone to go outside their comfort zone.

That’s exactly why she’s such a perfect

choice to feature in 63 Magazine’s fi r s t

“Ask a Field Director” column.

Meagan answers some of your

toughest questions—I

know you’ll be blown away

(and really grateful)!


What are your top 3 tips for a new

organizer just starting

out this cycle?

MG:

1) Build real relationships with volunteers

and your colleagues – if you’re really lucky,

they will be a part of your crew for the rest

of your life.

2) Have a good attitude and ask for help

– I’m incredibly impressed by people who

want to get better every day and know they

still have a lot to learn. Be humble, positive,

and inclusive every day about how you can

bring more people into your organization,

and be open to new ideas that are better

than your own. Be the type of organizer

and person others want to be around and

follow. Remember – people so often will

mirror your actions and attitude. So be the

thermostat and not the thermometer in the

room.

3) Be intentional and smart about time

management. Figure out immediately

where your time slips are and know what

your time weaknesses are. We can never

get any time back in campaigns, and you

need to make each moment count. Ask

for help and work on tricks to increase

productivity, lower procrastination

and get more time out of your day.”

What is the most important thing

to do when you first meet

with a new volunteer?

MG: THANK THEM! Whether this is

someone who has volunteered for a

campaign in the past or someone who is

coming in for the first time, a volunteer

simply cannot be thanked enough. Let them

know you appreciate them and make them

feel at ease. Help them understand you’re

someone to be trusted and that you and the

campaign have a plan to utilize their skills

and their time wisely. Train them well on

what you need them for that day and always

explain the “why” and the bigger picture.

Community and electoral organizing is

amazing because people get to be a part of

something bigger than themselves and you

want them to understand their place in that

and that their specific role matters.

As they do their work, check in and retrain

if necessary. Thank them a few more

times, and then always ask them when they

can come in again because you and the

campaign need them. Build a relationship

based on honesty and trust and help them

understand that they will be a part of this

campaign in a real way, alongside you.


I have a volunteer that was really

involved and always meeting

her goals, but she’s started

to come in less often and do

less work. What can I do to

push her without pushing her

so hard that it backfires and

I lose a great volunteer?

MG: One thing I would start thinking

about is changing even how you’re framing

the question. You want to avoid “pushing

volunteers.” Volunteers want and deserve

to feel empowered and that they fully

understand their role and its importance

since they’re giving the campaign/the

candidate/you their most precious resource:

their time.

I would have a meeting with her to check in.

Ask her about how her life is going and how

she is doing.

Then have a real conversation. Treat her like

a member of your team and say that you’ve

noticed that she hasn’t been coming in as

much, or that when she does, it is less than

the amazing amount of work she’s done

thus far. I would talk with her about the

urgency of the moment and how what she

was doing in the past really mattered. Make

a plan about how she can get re-engaged.

I’m sure you’ve been influenced by

the many awesome people you’ve

worked with. Would you say

that you try to replicate their

style, have your own management

style, or have figured out some

hybrid that has made it your

own, but includes the best stuff

from mentors, colleagues, etc.?

If so, how did you get there?

MG: What a great question! I think if you’re

working as an open-minded, open-hearted

organizer, everything you do is a hybrid of

what you can do and from observing those

who came before. While I definitely steal

best practices from those I respect around

management, training, operational style,

and working smarter every day, I definitely

would recommend you find your own

voice too. You have to know what your

own strengths are and what you bring to

the table and be confident about that.


Any advice on balancing a career

in politics/field with a somewhat

regular life? How do I give so

much of myself to something,

while still being “me?”

MG: Ah, the question so many

professionals struggle with and so few of

us figure out. One thing I’ll say is right off

the bat, you have to really think about if

this work is right for you. It’s hard and at

so many moments, time- and emotionallyconsuming.

But for me, there’s nowhere else

I’d rather be.

You have to think about what makes you

“normal” – are you someone who gets

hangry (you know who you are!) if you

don’t eat on time? Are you cranky if you

don’t go for a run? For me, I always feel

better when I have theater in my life, so I

make sure to find time every month for a

play (or more likely, a movie). It makes me

feel like more of a complete person when I

have art in my life, even if I usually have to

settle for a few minutes of Netflix as election

days get closer!

You have to know though - you’re an adult

and you run your life and your calendar.

Field organizing can be all-consuming if

you let it, so:

1) Carve out time for what you need,

whether it’s a walk around the block, or

time to get a healthy lunch, or little bits

of time throughout the day to step back

for a second and be you. Also, a good old

stereotypical The West Wing walk-and-talk

meeting can be the perfect thing to jumpstart

your heart and your afternoon.

2) Avoid time creep – it’s easy for one

thing to bleed into the next thing and

all of a sudden it’s midnight and you’re

still entering data and all you’ve eaten is

a handful of peanut M&Ms. Yikes. Put

together a schedule and keep it. And when

you’re done with your work at the end of

the night, go home. Martyrs help no one in

campaign life.

3) Finally – call your mom. Or text a high

school friend. Or FaceTime for 10 minutes

with someone you love. Most people I know

simply feel better and frankly, are better

organizers when they touch base with their

normal life (parents, partners, friends)

and reset back to 0. Then they can go back

and put their whole heart into their work.


Can you name your top tips for

experienced organizers who are

managing Deputy Field Organizers

for the first time this cycle?

MG:

1) Set clear expectations and help them

understand what success is. This means

that as a manager, you need to know exactly

what their goals are, have a vision about

how exactly they can meet those goals, and

be two steps ahead of them by knowing how

they’re doing in meeting those goals day by

day and week by week.

2) You don’t have to be best friends with

them. Good management relationships

should be based on trust, accountability,

respect, and knowing you have each

other’s back. Help them understand where

they’re succeeding but also know that hard

conversations about how they can and need

to get better are necessary to help them not

only succeed as professionals, but to make

the campaign successful.

3) Ask intentional questions in

your check-ins that help you get at the

root of any issues and use that space

to acknowledge the work done thus

far and identify places for growth.

Any closing advice for organizers?

MG:

1) Most day-to-day problems can be

solved with a little more kindness and

empathy.

2) There are no second chances. Make

every moment count.

3) Meet goals and deadlines and be

organized.

4) Practice your hard ask every single

day.

5) Build your organization every single

hour.

6) No drama. No ego. No credit. No

blame. No martyrs.

7) Take time every day to step back and

take it all in. You are changing lives in small

ways, and when all those small ways are

added together, changing the world.


Sidewalk Strategies

An interview with Larry Tramutola


Photo credit: Arturo Oliva Pedroza

ArturoOlivaPedroza.com

One of the questions we ask every expert

we talk to is: “Do you have a book,

podcast, website, or resource you would

recommend to organizers?” When you’re

an organizer, everything feels very in the

moment. You either feel like you know

everything and you’re on top of everything

(let’s just admit confidence isn’t usually

lacking in organizers), or like everything is

crashing down around you and you don’t

possibly have time to do anything except

keep trying to keep everything going.

To continue to grow and tackle difficult

challenges, you have to seek outside

wisdom from the family of organizers

who have been working for so long.

When I asked Marlon Marshall this

question, he immediately pointed us to

Sidewalk Strategies by Larry Tramutola.

Marlon read Sidewalk Strategies as a young

organizer and it helped him understand

the importance of meeting people

where they are, creating relationships,

and connecting your campaign

values to those of your voters.

After our chat with Marlon, I immediately

ordered Sidewalk Strategies and read it

in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down.

As I studied my way through it, I was

thinking about how helpful this would

have been to me as a brand new organizer.

Throughout each chapter, there were

lessons I learned over many months as

an organizer. And beyond this feeling, so

many new lessons were clicking for me.

As Larry says, the only real way to learn

how to organize is to actually organize.

But reading Sidewalk Strategies, learning

about the campaigns and individuals who

would redefine how generations of activists

organize, would certainly help you get

up to speed faster and elevate you as an

organizer sooner than if you had to learn

all these hard lessons yourself, first-hand.

Larry began organizing in the 1970s with

Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers

movement. Larry was trained and taught by

Fred Ross for most of his career. Fred Ross,

the trailblazing organizer who inspired,

trained, and mentored Cesar Chavez (one

of America’s greatest champions for social

justice), helped define the way individuals

organize their communities around a cause.

Tramutola has been organizing ever since

he first met Fred and is widely recognized

as an expert on grassroots organizing,

political strategy, and on passing difficult

ballot and tax measures. We reached out to

him to get some inspiration and advice for

you and our conversation blew me away.

I know once you get even just a little dose of

his wisdom, you’ll rush out to buy his

book (so we’ve linked through to it here).


AM: What are some key takeaways

a busy organizer should focus on

right after finishing your book?

LT: The first thing is you’ve got to try to use

every day to make progress, and make sure

every day builds upon another. It’s really

easy to get distracted and to do things that

may seem important, but that actually take

away from reaching your goal. If you want

be successful doing organizing and you

have a specific objective, whether it’s finding

precinct leaders or building support, you’ve

got to work at it with horse blinders on, to

get you to do that task.

That’s number one—your own personal

discipline.

There are always distractions in organizing,

some coming from others, and some are

your own internal distractions, including

being tired or bored. Throughout all of

this, the successful organizer has to be

focused on the job at hand. I think this

might be the toughest thing for organizers

to understand. Often people new to

organizing think of rallies, demonstrations,

and mass movements; however generally

speaking, the organizing work can be fairly

mundane on a day-to-day basis, but that

repetition is important. That would be the

first thing that I would really think about—

how do you deal with your own personal

motivation and draw upon the motivation

of other people to stay disciplined.

AM: Throughout the book, you had

axioms from your mentor, Fred

Ross. I noticed how evergreen

they are. My favorite was, “Never

get so hungry for volunteers

that you do their work for them

instead of insisting they do it

themselves.” It resonated so much

with my experience. What advice

would you give to an organizer

who’s facing that issue?

LT: I think this is more of an issue for an

experienced organizer, than an

inexperienced organizer, because in some

ways the inexperienced organizer has

got to do it themselves, at least a little

bit. I think that that axiom in particular

is written toward people who are a little

more experienced, because the fresh-faced

organizer has to do this stuff to learn how

to do it, and to be able to ask somebody to

do something that they’ve done. You never

want to ask someone to do something that

you haven’t done or that you’re unwilling to

do.

I believe when Fred wrote that axiom, he

was really talking to Gabby (an experienced

organizer) rather than Luis (a brand new

organizer), because Gabby has graduated

into the role of an organizer. You probably

now have the skills to do it yourself, but

you’re never going to reach organizing

capacity and build movement if you

continue to do it yourself.

Organizing is about building power, and

you can’t do it without lots of people

involved.


We all sometimes think, “Hell, I can

do this better than they can. I can do it

quicker and easier.” But if we do it for

them, they never learn. Now, we model,

but they’ve got to be allowed to make

mistakes. And when they make mistakes,

we have to be in a position to say what was

good, and what they could do better.

AM: Do you have a favorite

of Fred’s axioms?

LT: I’ve got a lot of them! I knew Fred really

well—he was my mentor. The axiom I’ve

always liked is that if you wait until you

have all the resources before you start, you

never start. So, you’ve got to fill this void

of no activity with activity; and by doing

that, things happen. That’s fundamentally

what organizers do. We’re getting people

to do what they should do, but don’t have

the skills or the motivation to do it. We

light fires in people so that they then take

responsibility and they make things happen.

AM: I want to ask a tough question

I struggled with as an organizer.

I often encountered an obstacle

where someone wanted to be

involved but didn’t want to talk

to voters or do any of the normal

tasks I had for volunteers. I would

then spend a ton of time trying to

find something for that volunteer

to do.

LT: This is a difficult thing for people, but

you’ve got to do it. In our work, we’re

dealing with adult problems. This is serious

work at its core, which means it demands

serious attention.

The first thing is: you can’t have people

taking your time when you’ve got other

things to do. You lose the first fundamental,

which is you’ve got to make progress every

day, and virtually every hour of every day, to

keep things moving.

Not everybody comes to the organizing

family or the campaign for the same

reasons. You as a leader have got to be able

to manage people and evaluate people. If

you can’t either get rid of someone who is

a disruptive force, or give somebody who’s

not a disruptive force something that they

can do, then you’re probably not a leader,

because leaders have to make those kinds of

decisions.

There’s this kind of community organizing

dogma that says, “organizers are behind the

scenes and not leaders.” I don’t believe in

that—they are leaders. Organizers have to

provide leadership and part of leadership is

the management of people, which has to do

with elevating people who are really good,

training people who need the training, and

unfortunately at times, getting people out

that sap energy.

This is sophisticated—it’s not organizing

101, this is a graduate course of

organizing, but it‘s really important.

How would you recommend

reconciling making volunteers

of all types feel included versus

dedicating enough time to develop

volunteer leader prospects?


AM: Do you have any advice

for staying motivated to work

as hard as organizers do?

LT: A couple things. Number one: every

organizing campaign—whether it’s one

year long, five years long, or with no end in

sight—needs milestones. You build towards

those milestones, and you create artificial

milestones if there aren’t real milestones. A

real milestone on a presidential campaign

would be that primary, or that local

vote. But there may be some preliminary

milestones prior to that, that you set,

achieve, and celebrate as you’re going

through it, that will help you reach the next

goal.

The other advice is that somebody on

your team has got to be mindful of the

celebration. We shouldn’t carry the

burden of the world on our shoulders in

every organizing campaign. One of the

attributes that an organizer has to have

is joy. We’re trying to create something

better, and when we create something

better, there’s got to be laughter and joy.

There are ample opportunities for fun;

you just need to be creative about it.

AM: Something Marlon mentioned

that I was thinking of a lot when

I read your book was: despite a

lot of changes in technology,

organizing is always about

building relationships to organize

around a cause or person. What

are your thoughts on that?

LT: I’m not one of those people who says,

“Gee, technology hasn’t changed what we

do”. When I started, I had 3-by-5-inch cards

and I had to go to a phone booth and throw

dimes in, in order to make calls to people.

Obviously technology changes the way we

communicate and will continue to do that.

But at its core, organizing is about

relationships, and it’s making a

connection with people. I’m talking about

fundamentally changing people and getting

people in a community to take action

together. Technology can be used to keep

them together, to keep them informed,

and to provide discussion and forums for

people to talk. But fundamentally it’s about

relationships that you make with people to

get them to do things.

One of the things that technology can never

do, is give me the ability to be able to look

at you, in your eyes, and either invite you,

motivate you, or inspire you to get involved

and do something. That human connection

is essential for organizing.

Organizing is a constant. Organizing isn’t

ideology or about proselytization over one

way of thinking. Organizing is taking a

variety of people and working together and

trying to find solutions, which may not be

the ideological solution we thought. That

is such a powerful thing. It’s the human

connection of organizing that is really

important; and you’ve got to be skilled to be

able to do that.

I don’t think we’ll ever change that with

technology. I think twenty or even 100

years from now, the human connection

of organizing will still be the basics.


AM: All that said, are there

any new developments in

organizing that you think will

have an impact in organizing?

LT: First, I am absolutely inspired that you

believe there is a network of folks who

do organizing who will be a part of your

communication family. For those of us who

have been doing organizing for a long period

of time, we’ve felt almost as if we’re the lost

nomads in the desert, and to realize that

there’s a growing group of people who are

looking at this as a profession—I think is

awesome. So that’s pretty cool.

In terms of the industry of organizing,

obviously we have the ability to create

subsets and targeting and messaging that

you could only dream about years ago, and

that will continue. The problem with that,

from an organizing perspective, is that so

much attention and resources go into people

who we know are going to vote, and a lot

of our organizing effort has got to get to

people who need to be inspired to vote who

are not your 5-out-of-5 voters. They maybe

have registered to vote because they got

registered at the DMV or somebody asked

them to register at an event, but they are not

necessarily really motivated to vote. I don’t

know how technology helps that, and that‘s

my concern.

I just think it’s hand-to-hand combat,

you’ve got to drag people into this, and

people are trying different things. But

being able to go door-to-door with

handhelds and with maps and scripts

is huge, and that will just get better.

AM: Do you have any parting

words of advice for organizers?

LT: For anybody who does this stuff, it’s

hard work. What I tried to do in my book

was to give some practical lessons that

successful people have used and will

continue to use. The thing about organizing

for me is that the more you do it, the better

you get. It’s a wonderful profession if you

really care about making change. I wish

there were more people who went into

organizing who want to run for office,

because if you really want to talk about

significant change, organizing is where it’s

at. It’s not being on a board. So I love the

fact that you are, in some ways, building a

community of organizers who can share

things.

You always have to be learning. You always

have to be open to learning, to listening,

to new ideas, and to freshness. I think

that’s what kept Fred Ross organizing

into his eighties, because he had that.

Tramutola Strategies is an Oakland-based

consulting fi rm that provides candid

political advice to those with a desire to

build community support for a variety of

important causes.

Learn more at Tramutola.com


Sidewalk

Strategies:

Seven Winning Steps for

Candidates,

Causes, and

Communities

Available on

Sidewalk Strategies is a book about

leadership and about winning — winning elections,

winning campaigns, and winning the hearts and minds of people.

Originally published in 2004 this NEW edition reframes some of the key lessons,

given the new challenges that communities face and the growing appreciation that

meaningful social change can come through effective organizing.

“Every organizer should read Sidewalk Strategies. I wish I was lucky

enough to read it as a new organizer. Reading it with my few years of

experience, I still learned something new from every chapter. It is full

of specifi c stories and examples from throughout Tramutola’s long and

varied career in campaigns and issue organizing, each of which helps

the reader truly understand the value of his advice. Tramutola speaks to

the mindset and skills you need to be successful in a way that I’ve never

seen so clearly before.” - Alice McAlexander

“Sidewalk Strategies is a really good book because it discusses meeting

people where they are, creating relationships, and really connecting

your campaign values to those of your voters. It’s these value

connections that really help organizing be successful.” - Marlon Marshall


Inspirational

Tidbit

Nicole Derse

Principal, 50+1 Strategies

On why you’re incredible:

“You are empowering people to

own a piece of our public life.”

Click here to play video

50+1 Strategies is a San Francisco-based consulting firm that specializes in civic engagement,

campaign management, and community mobilization solutions. 50+1 helps its clients win elections

and advocacy campaigns by building grassroots community power in diverse communities.

Learn more at 50p1.com


A Day in

the Life

with Nia Bentall

My name: Nia Bentall

I work as a field organizer for: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV).

My job is to: 1) Educate Virginians about how the actions of their state legislature affect

Planned Parenthood and affect themselves; 2) lift up the stories of Virginians to members of the

state legislature; 3) build power for Planned Parenthood through volunteers.

This day in the life follows me through: Get Out the Vote (GOTV) for the Virginia state

senate elections. PPAV coordinated with the state party to organize around the race in Senate

District 10, an open seat.

This day in my life matters because: If we had won, the Democrats would have taken back

the Virginia senate. With a Democratic majority, the senate could have passed a Medicaid

expansion that would have provided healthcare for over 400,000 Virginians. We didn’t win,

but our work doesn’t stop.

Some extra context about this day in my life: GOTV was so bizarrely calm for me because

we worked so hard leading up to it. We had done full dry runs for GOTV each of the three

weekends prior to the final four days. After practicing everything so much, I was most useful

knocking on doors and letting my staging location director run the show, like she’d been

trained to do.

Following this day(s) in my life, I will: Continue my work as a field organizer. The good news

after this loss is that Planned Parenthood remains open. And now that we’ve built such an

incredible team of volunteers, we’re ready for the upcoming General Assembly and for the 2016

election. In Virginia, there are important races every year, so we always have something to

work for. People with a stake in movements don’t give up.


October 31 - November 2, 2015

1:00 AM

Head home for a few hours sleep after assembling canvass packets for the weekend.

We got our fi nal GOTV universe at 10:00 PM on Friday night. Thank goodness I had

an organizer friend from out of town in to help us all assemble packets and put them in

priority precinct order.

8:00 AM

Arrive at my Staging Location (the PPAV offi ce).

9:00 AM

Head out to knock as many canvass packets as possible before the end of the day. My

volunteer, Anne, launches the fi rst canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our

fi eld director: # of volunteers in and # of canvass packets out.

12:00 PM

Anne launches the second canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

3:00 PM

Anne launches the third canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

6:00 PM

Continue to knock on doors to remind people to vote on Tuesday. Anne launches the

fourth canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

8:00 PM

Return to the Staging Location with my completed canvass packets. Luckily, throughout

the day, Anne has done a great job of cleaning up used canvass packets, entering data,

and preparing for the next day, so there’s not much for me to do.


November 3, 2015

5:30 AM

Arrive at my Staging Location and pick up a poll working packet.

6:00 AM

Polls open across Virginia! I complete a shift as poll worker to make sure there are no

issues at the polling location.

9:00 AM

Stop by my Staging Location to pick up canvass packets. Head out to remind voters to

vote TODAY! Anne launches the fi rst canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our

fi eld director.

12:00 PM

Anne launches the second canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

3:00 PM

Anne launches the third canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

6:00 PM

Anne launches the fourth canvass and calls in her reporting metrics to our fi eld director.

Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers (many of whom skipped class to canvass all

day), we’re able to make three full passes of our entire universe on GOTV weekend!

7:00 PM

Polls close. I return to the Stating Location to watch returns.


7:30 PM

Learn that throughout Richmond City and Chesterfi eld County, turnout results show we

exceeded our win numbers.

8:00 PM

Learn that turnout in Powhatan County, an extremely rural and conservative area, is

185% higher than it was in a previous state senate election. I hop in the car with a fellow

organizer (who has a law degree- phew!) to drive to Powhatan County to monitor the

counting of the votes.

10:00 PM

Begin to realize that these remarkable turnout numbers in Powhatan County are

accurate. The unexpected heavy turnout of these rural voters (who showed up in droves

to participate in a hotly contested local race) counterbalanced the high turnout in

Richmond City and Chesterfi eld County.

November 4, 2015

2:00 AM

Arrive at home after a disappointing loss.

12:00 PM

Wake up and schedule some time with my most engaged volunteers. Our work

continues!

Alice’s Note

It’s so great to see inside an organizer’s life during GOTV, and especially one

whose volunteer teams were so well trained and well managed, they could run a

Staging Location on their own. Every organizer should continue to work hard and

work smart so their GOTV looks very similar to this one. I can’t wait to see what

Nia and her team of volunteers do next.


Grow

Your

Skills

Outside lessons to improve your organizing


This Is How I Train

with Anatole Jenkins

Every issue of

63 Magazine, we will take

a look at the skills that every

organizer needs and ask

experts exactly how they do

it. This issue, we talk to Anatole

Jenkins about how he trains.

As a regional organizing director for

Hillary for America, Anatole works

with organizers to implement the state’s

organizing program on the ground, to

identify and manage precinct captains to

execute the program on a localized level,

and to turn out caucus goers in north and

east Las Vegas. He actually worked in

this same turf as an organizer, just three

years ago, on President Obama’s reelection

campaign. Coming back has had its perks.

Before organizers had started in the state

this cycle, Anatole and other members of

the Nevada leadership team were meeting

directly with volunteer leaders who had

worked with Anatole in 2012. At one of

these meetings, one of Anatole’s most

invested 2012 volunteers told him,

“You know, Anatole. In 2012, you were

this young ratty organizer running around

with his head cut off who didn’t kind of

know what you were doing too much. I

got all of your volunteers together and I

told them that we had to hit our goals and

do this to make Anatole successful.”

These volunteers had walked into the

campaign office because of the

candidate, but they clearly continued

to come back for Anatole.

As an organizer, Anatole has learned how to

make a connection with anyone,

motivate people, and lead them in

pursuit of a common goal. He has built

strong relationships with volunteers,

helping to develop a lasting community

of progressive organizers.

Anatole knows that training is a crucial part

of being an organizer. Training has

helped make all of his successes

possible. This is how he does it.


My name is:

Anatole Jenkins

and this is how I:

TRAIN!

Training is important because:

It doesn’t get done without volunteers. You can train an organizer to be the best

organizer ever, but unless their training gets passed to their volunteers, it means

nothing. An organizer’s goals continue to rise and if you’re not replicating your work

in volunteer leaders, you will fail.

But training is also important because it leaves the community better than when you

started. Organizers need to create a new crop of leaders who will continue their

work.

Training others helps you see the real results of organizing on an everyday basis.

You’re developing volunteers and giving them opportunities they couldn’t get without

you.

I approach training by:

Meeting people where they are. Everyone you meet on a campaign starts at a

different level of engagement. Some may barely know who’s running; others may

know exactly how many caucus goers they need in their home precinct.

The fi rst step is to determine the level of engagement of the person you’re training.

If you’re training people who have never been involved before, don’t use insider

political lingo. We just held a mock caucus at our caucus convention and we had

attendees caucus for J-Lo or Selena, and not for political candidates from previous

elections they might not know.


And I always make sure to lead by example. I can’t train on something I’m not willing

to do myself, or something I haven’t done enough to know really well.

So much of organizing is about using your personality, so I make sure I know the

nuances that work for me personally for everything I’m training on.

I take training preparation:

Seriously. But I also know that when an organizer trains someone on phonebanking,

they should know everything about phonebanking like the back of their hand. You

shouldn’t have to memorize exactly what you’re saying in a training if you know the

material well enough.

Here are my basic rules of thumb for training preparation:

1) You need to know the training material remarkably well. If it’s something you

do all the time, you already do! But make sure.

2) Prepare at least two days prior to the training. Give yourself the time to make

sure everything is 100% ready.

3) Have someone else look at the training material. You may think something is

clear, but you’re not the one getting trained. Ask for a second pair of eyes.

4) Do a full walkthrough of the training. This seems like a lot, but it’s crucial. The

little things matter in trainings. Doing a full walkthrough helps you prepare for every

moment and know what needs to be tweaked.

5) Have materials ready the night before. Don’t wait until the morning of to print

something. Come on – you’ve worked in a campaign offi ce. You know those printers

break just when you need them most.

6) Be prepared to follow the material volunteers receive. You may know more

or have more to say, but keep it simple. Stick with what they have in front of them.


Before I train, I like to feel:

Calm. When I feel like everything is ready, I feel calm.

When I train, I like to feel:

Energized. During a training, I know it’s important to be enthusiastic and

motivational. The tone you set is the tone the volunteers will take away. They’ll

remember that tone every time they do that activity for the duration of the campaign.

Be upbeat, engaged, and set a tone of urgency.

To consider a training a success, I need to:

1) Lead with enthusiasm.

2) Set a proper tone of urgency.

3) Involve the volunteers during the training.

4) Conduct a proper debrief.

After a training I make sure to:

Follow up with the volunteers. Is the organizer or volunteer able to elevate their work

with a full understanding and knowledge of what I trained them on?

I also look at specifi c actions. For example, if someone came to our caucus

convention and doesn’t come out to caucus, that’s a failure. If someone came to our

caucus convention and didn’t sign up for a canvass shift, then that’s a failure.

My last advice on training is:

The truth of the matter is, as an organizer, you’re essentially being asked to do the

impossible. You are getting people to work for free – to work hard for free, knocking

on doors in 115-degree heat. As an organizer, you wouldn’t be as good of an

organizer if someone hadn’t trained you. As an organizer, you have to train the

next class of progressive organizers because they’re going to continue the work that

you’ve done after you leave.


Inspirational

Tidbit

Jen O’Malley Dillon

Partner, Precision Strategies

Click here to play video

On how to get through

a tough campaign:

“On those days that were

super- long and super-hard

and I just wanted to stick

my head under the covers,

I remembered that....”

Precision Strategies is a communications, digital and data strategy firm based in DC and NYC.

Precision helps its clients devise precisely the right game plan, analyze and understand their

audiences, articulate and amplify messages, and make technology an ally, not an obstacle.

Learn more at PrecisionStrategies.com


Analytics

for

Organizing

with Andrew Claster

One of the most

interesting things about

organizing is the many

diff erent types of people

you’ll fi nd working by your

side. Strategists generally

assume most organizers are

kids fresh out of college (or

pulled from college—hey!),

and that’s because there does

seem to be a lot of young people.

But as soon as you get comfortable

thinking everyone else in the organizer

training is just like you, you fi nd out

that guy over there is a lawyer, and the

woman next to you was a contestant on

Th e V o and i c e quite , a few people in the

room have left their high-paying corporate

jobs to join the same campaign you did.

This sort of thing happens a lot in

organizing, but I suspect that everyone

working on Obama’s fi rst presidential

campaign in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

was still shocked to discover that their

hardest working local fi eld organizer,

Andrew Claster, had a rich background

in political polling, a master’s degree

in economics, and the skillset that

could have easily landed him on the

campaign’s national analytics team.

Andrew, who now provides data and

analytics consulting for political

candidates and parties, non-profi ts, and

for-profi t organizations in the United States

and overseas, was raised on organizing.

His father, who was a civil rights worker

in Kentucky in the late 1950s and early

1960s, taught Andrew to canvass from an

early age. As a child, Andrew went with

his father on canvasses for the Eastern

Farmworkers Union in Bellport, Long Island

and participated in weekly pro-choice

demonstrations at a women’s health clinic

nearby. He began volunteering on various

campaigns in high school, and even got

arrested for participating in a peaceful labor

demonstration on his college campus.


All of this organizing made a career in

politics an obvious choice for Andrew,

despite his interest in history, economics,

mathematics and physics. Andrew began

working in politics because he had learned

through organizing that the outcomes of

political races can aff ect people’s lives in a

very real way and that it is possible for an

individual to infl uence those outcomes.

After graduate school, Andrew worked on

political polling, doing microtargeting

and developing tested talking points.

But when then-Senator Obama won

the primary election in 2008, Andrew

quit his job and joined the Obama

campaign as a fi eld organizer in the

small town his father grew up in.

Andrew’s experience as a field organizer

was similar to most organizers’

experience: incredibly tough

and remarkably rewarding.

Despite being in a very red county, through

the hard work of Andrew, his volunteers,

and his fellow organizers, the county

saw the second-largest Democratic

improvement out of 67 counties

in the state on election day.

Working as an organizer on a historic

community organizing-focused

campaign in 2008 and as a leader on

a groundbreaking analytics team in

2012, Andrew learned there is a lot of

overlap in organizing and analytics.

The skill he cherishes most that he gained

while organizing? Empowering

others to lead—and in the process,

helping them learn more about

themselves and their own abilities.

The skill he cherishes most that he gained

while working on analytics teams?

Developing the necessary management

skills to delegate to others, to trust

people to learn and make mistakes, and

to train the next generation of leaders.

As someone who has worked both as an

organizer and as an analyst, Andrew has

learned that the skills he’s developed in each

role helps him to be better in the other.

Following this victory, Andrew joined

Organizing for America as the deputy

targeting director in 2009. There he

worked with Dan Wagner to build

the team that eventually expanded

into the Obama for America analytics

department. (You know the team—

it’s been credited with revolutionizing

the way campaigns are won.)


As an organizer, Andrew learned so

much that made him a better analyst.

1) Keep your scripts relatively short and

tight. This is critical for polling, for blind

IDs, and for canvass and phone scripts.

You will lose volunteers and organizers if

your scripts are overly long or complex.

2) Scripts have to be interactive and

fl exible. No one wants to read or listen to

a 30 second monologue on the phone or

at the door and it won’t have any impact.

3) You can’t run every test or experiment

you would like to run. You have to

prioritize based on expected vote

gain per dollar or volunteer hour.

4) There are many opportunities for data

loss or mischaracterization. The question

can be misread by the canvasser, or

misunderstood by the respondent. The

answer can be misrecorded by the canvasser

or misstated by the respondent. The

data can be read or entered incorrectly.

5) Lists and models have to be updated

regularly to incorporate new fi eld data. No

organizer or volunteer is going to trust a list

or a model that keeps sending them back

to the same Republican house every week.

As an analyst, he learned so much that

would have made him a better organizer.

1) There are always an infi nite number of

things you could be working on. (*Alice’s

Note: how REAL is that?) Figure out which

is most likely to deliver the greatest return

on investment (ROI) in terms of votes per

hour or votes per dollar and do that fi rst.

2) Question assumptions and past

practices. Just because something

has always been done a certain way

doesn’t mean it is right or best.

3) If you have a question, fi gure out how

to test it. For example, if you have two

voter registration messages and you don’t

know which is better, test them both

out and see which performs better.

After all of his work in analytics, there’s a

reason Andrew still calls organizing,

“the toughest job I’ll ever love.”

Being an organizer is mentally, physically,

and emotionally demanding. But

it’s also magical—it gave Andrew,

just like it gives you, the chance to

infl uence people’s lives on a one-onone

basis AND on a grand scale.

Next time you hit a challenge, ask yourself

how the principles of analytics (or of

your unique expertise) can improve

your organizing, and how you might be

able to incorporate best practices from

other job fi elds to be better at yours.


The Grass Is Greener:

Analytics

Department

Highlight

with Andrew Claster

What really goes on in those other

campaign departments you’re always

hearing about? You probably have a

basic idea, but we want to take a closer

look with you, every issue, so you can

truly understand how the work of other

departments on your campaign affects

what you do as an organizer and vice

versa.

Every department plays a role in

supporting organizers like you, so let’s see

what’s going on behind the scenes.

This issue we’re learning more about

analytics departments with Andrew Claster.

What does a campaign analytics

department do?

An analytics department on a political

campaign exists to help give decisionmakers

the tools and information they

need to make better decisions. These tools

can include a spreadsheet that ranks media

markets or voter targets, a caucus simulator,

a targeted list of voters, a predictive model,

a map displaying useful information, and

much more.

To do this, analytics teams analyze all of the

internal and external data that a campaign

has access to, including: the voter file, other

internal and external lists, volunteer data,

fundraising data, paid media data, polling

data, voter contact results, etc.

That’s A LOT of data.


A presidential campaign will generate

literally billions of data points. Because

of the huge amount of data, the analytics

department needs to:

1) Prioritize which data and analytics

projects are most likely to deliver highest

return on investment (ROI). ROI on a

political campaign is the votes per dollar per

person and hour.

2) Conduct that analysis of the projects’

ROI accurately and quickly at lowest cost.

3) Communicate the results of that

analysis in a way that makes sense to

decision-makers.

4) Translate analysis into

recommendations that are reasonable and

can be implemented.

5) Measure results.

When Andrew worked in the analytics

department for President Obama’s

reelection campaign, they viewed

themselves as an internal consulting

group. “We met with every campaign

department – paid media, fundraising, field,

communications, operations, political. We

asked them: What do you know already?

What don’t you know that you need to know

in order to do your job better? What can we

give you that will help?”

“Then we figured out how we could

give each department the tools they

needed. Creating the best tools was an

iterative process, but by the end of the

campaign, we were able to support every

department in the most effective way.”

What parts of the work of an analytics

department are most

relevant to organizers?

1) Vote goals: Analysts help determine

vote goals. What is our baseline? How do

we get to victory using voter registration,

persuasion and GOTV?

2) Modeling: Analytics teams create

models to help decide which voters you

target for voter registration, persuasion, and

GOTV.

3) Mapping: Okay, so now that you

know who your targets are, where are they?

Analytics teams map your targets and help

assign turf to reach them.

4) Resource Allocation: How many

field organizers, volunteer leaders, and

volunteers does this campaign need? How

do we assign them?

5) Campaign Techniques: Data

and analytics help determine which

campaign techniques are most effective

for registration, persuasion, and GOTV.

Spoiler alert: it’s almost never yard signs.

How does an organizer’s work affect an

analytics department’s work?

Your work as an organizer affects an

analytics department’s work in two main

ways: execution and data.

1) Execution: Nothing the analytics

department does matters unless the

volunteers and organizers in the field use it.

Andrew describes it this way:


“I used to have an orchestra teacher

who would wave his baton in the air to

demonstrate to the audience that he can’t

make a sound unless he has an orchestra

full of musicians who can play. The

analytics team isn’t exactly like an orchestra

conductor – maybe more like the guy who

tunes the piano. You can be the best piano

tuner in the world. If nobody plays the

instrument, nothing happens.”

2) Data: The data collected by volunteers

and field organizers is among the most

valuable data the analytics team has. Your

data tells analysts who was canvassed, who

they support, how likely they are to vote,

what their most important issue is, and

much more.

The data collected from door knocks and

phone calls placed by volunteers is critically

important. For instance, it’s a major input

into model scores. In addition, organizers

provide both a gut-check and a test-bed for

the conclusions and recommendations that

analysts develop. If analysts have made a

mistake, organizers are often the first to

show them that something is not right.

Well, there you have it. Now we know

what an analytics department does, how

their work affects your work, and how

your work affects theirs. (*Alice’s note:

Though I’m still not exactly sure what they

do on their computers to deliver all this,

and I’m pretty sure I’ll never know.)

If you’re interested in possibly working on

an analytics team in the future, here are

some basic steps you can take to prepare

yourself:

•Learn MS Excel very, very well. This

will help you organize as well!

VLOOKUPs, pivot tables, and text

columns are extremely versatile.

•Learn SQL.

•Consider taking a couple statistics

courses (after election day, obviously).

•Learn a good statistics program. R

and Stata are the most commonly

used options in politics, and SPSS is

common among pollsters.


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Click here to play video

Nick’s Pick

“On Storytelling”

by Ira Glass (2009)

visuals by David Liu

This video is in a slightly different

vein from the other picks, but

it’s inspiring all the same — and

it doesn’t just apply to people

doing creative work. The idea that

someone may have to fail a lot before

they can be successful at something

is universal. If you’re screwing up,

it’s because you’re doing something

difficult, and that’s the best way to

grow. Keep at it, you’ll figure it out.


Organizer

Life

Hacks

Easy changes to improve your work


A B C D

Marlon’s Tip:

Monitor Your Calendar

Presented by Warren Excel

“For one week, write out on your

calendar what you’re doing each

moment of the day. Then the next week,

take a step back and see where you’re

spending your time and reevaluate.”

Want a quick, easy, and powerful way to follow Marlon’s advice?

Click here to download this handy MS Excel “Calendar Monitor”

workbook and watch the video below to see it in action.


Make

Call Time

More

Enjoyable

with Larry Tramutola

We all know the importance of call time. Call time is sacred for a lot of different

reasons. It’s the time you dedicate every day to volunteer recruitment. It’s a

time for your volunteers to get together to take action. It’s a time for volunteers

to reach voters. It’s a time for you to test your volunteers. And it’s a time to

display the kind of discipline that is absolutely crucial for an organizer to have.

Sometimes call time is really great.

Maybe on those nights your volunteers

bring in your favorite food, you have

a really great night on the phone, or

you have a great group of volunteers

in working hard the whole time.

Let’s be real though. Call time isn’t always

fun. Sometimes those five hours feel like five

years. Sometimes no one is home or worse—

the only people home are shockingly cranky.

But you’re an organizer; you’re trained to

use your call time every night, no matter

how miserable it sometimes makes you,

because you know how important it is.

To help you out, each issue of 63 Magazine

will bring you new ideas to make

call time more fun. Because, admit

it: you need it to be more fun.

This issue’s tip comes from Larry

Tramutola. He’s been organizing for

over 40 years and even he still learns

something new every race he works on.

When he was recently working on a

particularly tough soda tax campaign, he

realized his team needed to do something

to keep the spirits of their volunteers up.

Here’s what they tried.

Here’s the problem: you are not the only one

who sometimes dreads call time. Your

volunteers are going to have rough nights

too. It’s your job to keep organizing

fun for all of your volunteers.


Step 1

When volunteers sign in to

phonebank, have them

also write their name

on a slip of paper.

Step 2

Every night and every

phonebank, set an alarm

for the same time. Choose a

time that’s seems best for a

quick break, like 7:00 PM.

Step 3

When the alarm goes off, ask

everyone to wrap up the

call they’re on and to stop

dialing for a few minutes.

Step 4

Draw a name from the slips of

paper volunteers fi lled out

when they signed in.

Step 5

Whoever’s name you draw

becomes Dance Captain

for the evening. As Dance

Captain, they are responsible

for picking one song.

Step 6

Pull up the song chosen by the

evening’s Dance Captain and

play it on some speakers.

Step 7

EVERYONE DANCES!

Step 8

Finish the song, clap it out,

and then get right back

into call time.

These nightly dance breaks turned out

awesome for Larry’s team. Each night it was

so much fun to watch volunteers of all ages

get excited for their nightly dance break.

Try a nightly dance break at your phone

banks! The fun of that one dance

break can kill the restless wriggles and

distractions of a long, slow night of calls.

Here are a couple on–theme songs you can

use if your name gets drawn one night:

Telephone, by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé

Call Me Maybe, by Carly Rae Jepsen

Telephone Love, by Shabba Ranks

Gone ‘Til November, by Wyclef Jean


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Click here to play video

Warren’s Pick #1

“ABC”

by Blake (Alec Baldwin)

in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Organizers are incredible at

selling. Instead of pushing reluctant

buyers through sales funnels, you

pull disengaged citizens up ladders of

engagement. You work on your hard

ask every day, and you hardly ever take

no for an answer.

Frustrated with your prospect lists?

Watch this and then go get yourself

a big steaming cup of coffee.


Take

Care of

Yourself

Improve your health, wealth, and well-being


Take Care of Yourself

by Alice McAlexander

“Take Care of Yourself ” is one of my favorite sections of 63 Magazine. It’s so

important to me because I know that when I was an organizer, I didn’t take care of

myself at all.

I’m not special – most organizers give themselves entirely to their work. There’s

some value in being that committed, but often it’s a liability. On my first campaign,

I sacrificed way too much of myself. I never exercised unless I was walking briskly

between doors with a canvass packet; I ate most meals from the gas station next

to my field office; I slept in my contacts all the time because I was too tired to take

them out.

On the Sunday before election day, all the organizers in my region came into

Richmond at 11 PM to do a doorknocker drop and we all decided to race. That

one-hour of “jogging” was so much for my poor body to handle that I found myself

looking up “muscle atrophy” the next day.

I was a mess, and it showed in a lot of ways. I wasn’t myself and it made me crazy.

I was lucky that all the craziness channeled into hitting my goals, but I had a couple

close calls where I almost entirely melted down.

That shouldn’t happen.

As an organizer, you have got to take care of yourself. Not only is it important to

keep yourself sane, it helps you do your job better. You’re a better organizer if you

get more sleep. You’re a better organizer if your body doesn’t start to fall apart

because you’ve only eaten fried food and energy drinks for six months. You’re a

better organizer if you retain a little bit of yourself.

So much of being a successful organizer is personal. You need to take care of

yourself to be the best organizer possible.

Now, I know it’s not easy. I tried on every subsequent campaign to set reasonable

guidelines and goals, to stay healthy, and to try to stay myself. I never came close to

achieving these, but I did a lot better because I tried.

At 63 Magazine, we want to tell you that it’s okay to take care of yourself, because

you’ll be a better organizer for it.


Inspirational

Tidbit

Alice McAlexander

Editor, 63 Magazine

Click here to play video

On her worst moment as an organizer:

“I couldn’t do

everything by

myself, any more.”

63 Magazine is the premier digital magazine and online community for progressive political organizers.

Learn more at 63mag.com


Yoga for Busy Organizers

with Stacy Berger

This issue, we’re so lucky to have Stacy

Berger lead a quick yoga routine designed

specifically for your busy schedules.

Stacy began organizing for the John Kerry

presidential campaign in 2004 as a field

organizer in Columbia, Missouri. There she

met her future husband, Marlon Marshall.

After finishing that campaign as a Get Out

The Vote lead organizer in Wisconsin, she

continued to work in progressive politics.

Stacy served as a regional field director for

Hillary for President in Las Vegas, Nevada

in 2007, as the deputy national training

director for Obama for America in 2011,

and as the GOTV director for the Obama

campaign in Nevada in 2012. She also

has a ton of experience leading young

democrats and college democrats, and

executing organizing efforts for non-profit

organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Through all of this work, and many other

roles, Stacy has been able to lead a healthy

lifestyle. A certified yoga instructor,

she knows the importance of taking

care of yourself while organizing.

Throughout her grueling work on many

campaigns, Stacy has looked to yoga

to relieve stress and to increase her

ability to stay focused on her work.

I’m so excited she created this yoga practice

for you. Earlier in this issue, Stacy’s husband

Marlon said, “The biggest thing that keeps

me [making time for my health] now is I

have a wife who lets me know I need to get

my butt in the gym.” She is always such a

great influence for everyone around her.

This yoga practice was just what I needed

after a stressful day. Make some time right

now in your calendar for yoga with Stacy

– I know you’ll be thankful after.


Yoga for Busy Organizers

Click here to play video


Healthy

Eating

Tips

with Michelle Berger Marshall

& Stacy Berger

The food you eat is like a lot of stuff in

organizing – to control it, you have to

make an effort and make sacrifices.

When everything gets busy, it gets hard

to make smart decisions about what you

eat and you start to feel like you’ve lost

control. Next thing you know, you’re only

consuming cake, pizza, and an actually

dangerous amount of energy drinks.

It’s easy to lose control of what you eat on

a campaign and then once you’ve

lost control, you feel like there’s no

point in trying to get it back.

But that’s wrong – you can make small

changes that will add up to a big difference.

Eating more healthily will keep your body

better prepared to do all the hard work you

need to do and it will help you feel more

like yourself.

Of course you’ll eat some of the homemade

baked goods that are ever-present in

campaign offices, and of course you’ll

eat literally anything that’s in front of

you during GOTV. But before you

get to those inevitable crazy moments,

make your health a priority.

To help you out, we have some tips for you

from Michelle Berger Marshall and Stacy

Berger. You already met Stacy when she

gave you a great yoga workout. Michelle is

her sister and she’s the director of nutrition

at Feeding America, where she supports

food banks in their efforts to increase

healthy food access, raises awareness of

food insecurity as a public health issue

and promotes nutrition education.

Together, they’ve shared some simple steps

you can implement (even with your crazy

schedule), to give your body the best fuel.


Drink water:

Sip water or other drinks with few or no

calories to help maintain a healthy weight.

Keep a water bottle in your bag or at your

desk to satisfy your thirst throughout the

day. (*Alice’s note: I sometimes try to limit

my bad for you drinks to a certain amount

each day. That way, I have to switch to water

at some point and plan when I’m going to

drink those yummy diet cokes. You won’t

always make it, but at least you tried!)

Go for great whole grains:

Look for whole-wheat breads, popcorn, and

whole-oat cereals that are high in fiber

and low in added sugars, saturated fat, and

sodium. Limit refined-grain products such

as snack bars, cakes, and sweetened cereals.

Nibble on lean protein:

Choose lean protein foods such as lowsodium

deli meats, unsalted nuts, or eggs.

Store unsalted nuts in your desk or hardcooked

eggs and deli meats in the office

fridge to enjoy any time. (Don’t have an

office fridge? Craigslist that right away.

100% worth it.) Wrap sliced, low sodium

deli turkey or ham around an apple

wedge for a great and healthy snack.

Eat throughout the day:

Keep your blood sugar level throughout the

day to avoid that afternoon crash

where you’ll likely crave sugar. Plan

to eat every two-three hours.

Keep an eye on the size:

So we just told you to snack (as you

should!). But snacks shouldn’t replace a

meal. Store snack-size bags at your office

and use them to control serving sizes.

Fruits are quick and easy:

Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits can be

easy “grab-and-go” options that need

little preparation. Grab a bunch of

them! They even have fruit at 7-11 and

McDonald’s, so you have no excuses here.

Make half your plate fruits

and vegetables:

Any time you have a chance, add fruit and

vegetables to meals as part of main

or side dishes. Choose red, orange, or

dark-green vegetables like tomatoes,

sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along

with other vegetables for meals.

Plan, plan, plan!

We know you have very little time to meal

plan and grocery shop (also, meal planning

is SO adult). But most weeks, try to

schedule in an hour to stop by a grocery

store. Plan what you’re going to buy – any

snacks you can have on hand to avoid

eating a third brownie and any meals you

have control over (like breakfast).


Inspirational

Tidbit

Sara El-Amine

Executive Director, Organizing for Action

On her worst moment as an organizer:

“I was absolutely

mortified when my RFD

revealed that....”

Click here to play video

Organizing for Action is a non-profit organization based in Chicago. With more than

250 local chapters around the country, volunteers are building OFA from the ground

up, community by community, one conversation at a time. OFA is committed to

finding and training the next generation of great progressive organizers.

Learn more at BarackObama.com


Organizer

Spotlight

Highlighting your peers and volunteer leaders


Campaign Spotlight:

Morse Force

by

Max Clermont


This spotlight goes out to the entire

#MorseForce organizing team. Led by

David Grizzanti and Elvin Bruno Jr., the

Alex Morse for Mayor re-election campaign

in Holyoke, Massachusetts really proved

that running a positive, data-driven, and

organizing focused program is not only

the way to win but also the way to build

and sustain a dedicated and committed

group of people who will stay engaged in

civic life long after the campaign ends.

The field program was one of the most

inclusive organizing programs I’ve ever

witnessed. There was a place and space

for all to learn, lead, and execute.

From the very beginning, the campaign

made a decision to focus most of its

field efforts engaging individuals in the

historically marginalized communities of

color. These communities have always had

the lowest voter engagement and turnout

- not because elections haven’t mattered

to them, but because they were always an

afterthought to candidates and campaigns.

The campaign decided that they weren’t

just going to go after their votes in the final

weekend before the election. They were

going to meet them where they were, engage

them in a conversation about the progress

that the city has seen under the Mayor’s

leadership, and get them involved in making

the case to their neighbors that this work

wouldn’t continue under a new direction.

This strategic move by the campaign paid

off not only in a victory but in an

election day that saw some of the highest

turnouts from these “lower wards.”

One of my favorite #MorseForce traditions

was the “slow clap”. Every time a volunteer

went above and beyond or showed up

with goodies, a member of the campaign

team would initiate a clap that got louder

and bigger as everyone in all corners of

the office joined in. It was a way to show

appreciation for their sacrifice but also

to reinforce why volunteers matter.

Congratulations, #MorseForce – on

creating a community of engaged citizens

that will last – and also on your victory!


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Click here to play video

Alice’s Pick #2

“There’s Nothing

We Can’t Do”

by Barack Obama (2008)

Man, this speech needs no

introduction. Just in case: this

video shows Obama giving a great

speech at a rally in Virginia in the

pouring rain. But it also has the best

music, the best canvassing montage,

and just the right amount of guilt. The

day after the election, will you be able

to say you gave everything you had?

Well, I’m going to make damn sure now!


Have

Some

Fun

Smiling makes you better


Story from the Field

by Ariane Psomotragos

This is the story of an amazing volunteer.

On any campaign you get those wonderful people who show up, do the

work, spend long hours helping you reach your goals and make your

exhausted life that much easier. This person was one of those inspiring

people but there was something unique about her: she was 79 years old.

She had been a volunteer before I became a summer fellow on the campaign

and had taken some time off for a home renovation. On the first day she

came back it was a miserable rainy Saturday morning and we had only one

other volunteer show up to canvass, a resounding disappointment as we

were used to getting closer to ten people.

Sitting on the porch of the house we used as the staging location that day we

got into a deep discussion about what we had to do to improve the team and

get better results. I knew her dedication and wanted to empower her to take

on a larger role now that she was available to help more often. I encouraged

her to join the new summer fellows. She, knowing the average age of the

fellows was closer to my age of 21, was very resistant to the idea. It took a bit

of persuasion but eventually she relented and joined.

For the final six weeks of the campaign, she and I worked side by side for 12

hours every day, 7 days of the week and our team grew exponentially, hitting

all our goals and running a very successful staging location on election day.

To this day I remain in contact with her and the other wonderful friends I

made on the campaign. It is truly inspiring to see what one-on-ones can do

to build relationships and commitment from people of all ages. This was my

first political campaign and I’ve gone on to do four more since 2012. It never

stops and I love it.


Fun Zone

by Alice McAlexander

Click here to play video

Whine About It:

The Types of Coworkers That Are the Worst

I’m sure you’re already watching Matt Bellassai’s “Whine About It” series, but if

you’ve missed it, here’s one to get you started. Every week, Matt gets drunk at his

desk and complains about stuff. It’s the best.

Here he is complaining about coworkers. I’m sure your coworkers

are so wonderful that none of this resonates… but just in case.


You’ve listened to Hamilton a hundred times already, right? (*Warren’s note: Alice

thinks everyone is as obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical as she is. For

those who have never heard of it, it’s a new Broadway musical based on the life of

Alexander Hamilton, using hip-hop and R&B to tell the story.)

Okay, okay, I’m on this Hamilton bandwagon hard right now, but trust me–

everyone is so into Hamilton because it’s so amazing. If you haven’t listened, do so

right now! I can’t think of anything better to pump you up as you work to improve

our country.

But first, watch this throwback video of Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator

of Hamilton, performing the opening number at a White House Poetry Jam

in 2009. He’s so great and Obama’s so into it: it’ll warm your heart.

Lin Manuel Miranda

Performs at the White House Poetry Jam

Click here to play video


Motivational Musings

To Pump You Up

Click here to play video

Warren’s Pick #2

“I Was Just

Having Fun”

by Tommy (Chris Farley)

in Tommy Boy (1995)

Do you sometimes feel as if you

can’t close a one-on-one to save your

life? Or that you are on an entirely

different page than some of your

volunteer prospects?

Keep plugging away, be your authentic

self, and have some fun while you’re

at it. It’ll all start to click (again).

Remember, supporters come for the

candidate, but they stay because of you.


Ready, Set, Action!

Actionable takeaways from this issue

1

Be healthier.

Start by drinking more water and stocking your desk

with small protein snacks.

Feel less overwhelmed.

Start by monitoring your calendar for one week.

2

3

Turn call time into fun zone.

Not sure how? Try a dance party.

Act normal, for once.

Reflect on what makes you feel centered and whole.

Schedule time for it, and get out and do it.

4

5

Find your happy place.

Bookmark those motivational songs and videos that

lift and pump you up. Use as necessary.


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