One of the biggest lessons learned in the aftermath of the 2020 election is that there is a lot more work to be done. When campaigns come into a community once every two years asking for votes, it is not creating the kind of durable power needed to push for real change, both on the ballot and off. As campaigns, nonprofits, and labor unions transition their work from electoral into a longer-term base building mode, there are several things you can do in Reach to keep your volunteers activated and organizing throughout the year:
Digital Volunteer Hub
Use your Home Screen as the go-to place for any interested supporter to learn the latest from your campaign. Fill your Home Screen with weekly or monthly actions they can take part in, list volunteer opportunities, or highlight key wins for your supporters and send Push Notifications to keep people in the loop. Keeping your relationships with your organizers alive between cycles is so much easier than having to start from scratch in the future.
One great off-cycle use for Reach is ongoing voter registration activity by creating Reach Adds for unregistered voters, and following up with those people with necessary voter registration resources. Getting people registered to vote should not be an electoral-only activity.
Issue Based Organizing and Consistuent Relations
The issues facing your community don’t go away just because a candidate isn’t talking about them. Many victorious campaigns, as well as c3 and c4 nonprofits, continue this work in the off cycle to better understand the needs of their constituency/target groups. Every time a voter in your district contacts the office or stops you in the street, find them in Reach and mark down survey responses for which issues are important to them so you and your team can make sure their voice is heard. It will help to adjust the Survey Questions in your Reach campaign from identifying supporters of particular candidates to identifying top issues of voters.
Deep Canvassing and Progressive Base-Building
One high-priority need coming out of 2020 is building deep-standing community relationships of trust that transcend a specific candidate or electoral cycle. For many people, hearing from someone they know personally is the best place to start. Plus, Reach’s fully customizable Survey Questions, included open-ended text, are perfect for Deep Canvassing interactions where a canvasser might be taking detailed qualitative notes on an interaction which would not fit well in a MiniVAN script.
Recruit volunteers in parts of your district or state where you need to broaden your outreach, and have them build out their Networks and start the persuasive conversations early. When an election does roll around, you already have the inroads and community trust from having done the work to build out your Networks.
Tip: Import Contacts on both web and mobile!
When mapping your Network, be sure to map both your phone contacts in the Reach mobile app, as well as your Google Contacts when using Reach in your web browser to double the impact!
The data in Reach does not have to be a voter file – quite a few Reach clients use the tool to organize existing union membership, hold membership drives, and assist locals and worksites that need more resources, particularly during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Organizing for Municipal Elections and Legislative Sessions
In some places (NYC, Detroit, and the state of Virginia, just to name a few) there is no off cycle because municipal or state legislative elections take place in the odd years. If you’re in one of these places, it’s not an off-cycle year at all! Or, if you don’t have elections but your legislature is in session, continuing nonprofit organizing to hold your legislature accountable on specific bills is key. Restructure your questions to be focused on bills you’re advocating for/against, and organize voters to contact their legislator to make their feelings on the bill known by creating task Action Cards on the Home Screen.
In-Person Organizing (one day…)
Once the vaccine is widely distributed, you can use Reach for its original use case, which is in-person organizing. Use the Search feature on your phone to find people while crowd canvassing, set up an iPad to table at a farmer’s market or park, or use the Household Search feature to find people off-list while door-knocking.
Optimizing for an off-cycle budget
Funds are tight in non-election years for many organizations, and there’s a few options to get the most bang for your buck when organizing with Reach. You can move down a tier to save money on features you don’t need in the off-cycle, prepay for 6 or 12 months to receive a long-term discount, and more. Contact us to talk about some of these options.