When you're out in the field, your most valuable resources are people and time. One of the biggest challenges I've faced (and I'm sure I'm not alone!) is figuring out how much time is worth, and then allocating projects to my organizers that are the best use of their time. I remind myself, "Time equals money!" or better yet, "Time equals votes!"
When I'm planning projects and dividing tasks for my staff, I try to keep these things in mind when convincing people that organizing time is valuable:
- Use hard metrics. If your field organizers are paid $3,000 a month and work 60 hours a week, their time is worth about $15 an hour. Is sitting at a table at the county fair worth $30 (2 hours) of their time? Is stuffing envelopes worth $60 of their time? Figure out where you need to do the most work, and put your people there.
- Talk about time in terms of votes. If an organizer spends at least 18 hours a week making volunteer recruitment calls, they will schedule around 35 volunteer shifts. If those volunteers complete their voter contact shifts, they could attempt to talk to about 2,100 voters and contact 540 voters! If a task takes an hour, is it worth giving up 30 voter contacts or new registrations?
- Create a culture of trust and respect. If you show your staff or fellow organizers that you value their time, they will be more likely to come through when you need them to.
If you're an organizer, make decisions about how to schedule your week by assessing a baseline value to the possible uses of your time-and then decide how you'll spend your time, what you'll ask interns or volunteers to be doing. If you're a manager, create a campaign culture that emphasizes the best investment of field staff time.
Create and maintain space within your campaign for field to do the work at hand and grow the program, and you'll see the results come Election Day.
How do you decide which tasks are worth your organizer's time? Let us know in the comments on the blog.
Courtney Konyn is Deputy Field Director for the Wisconsin Democratic Party.