Training Staff, Candidates and Volunteers

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Volunteers: the basics

Volunteers need support, especially if they are not yet familiar with political work or everyday life on the campaign trail.

An election campaign means work. Convincing people on the street, at their front door, at the campaign stall. For untrained co-workers, it is unfortunately not always immediately obvious who they should speak to (is it worthwhile embarking on a long conversation or will this man in fact never vote Green?), how long a conversation should last (so that there’s enough time remaining for other conversations), how they should react to (often critical) questions, or who they should point to when more complex queries arise.

Idea: Once your election campaign message is clear and your flyers have been printed, get together and practice common campaign situations with the people who are going to be out on the streets campaigning by your side. Team up in groups of three, switch roles regularly, and spend around five minutes on each typical situation. One person is the campaigner looking to convince others that his party is the one to vote for, another plays a passer-by, while the third observes and provides feedback. The whole thing is usually fun and amusing, since people are generally quite happy to adopt other roles (an elderly grandmother one moment, a young father the next, then a banker on his lunch break) – much like an actor, but as part of a role-play. After a few rounds, the overall effect is that participants become more self-confident in their personal abilities and when communicating with other people. This is particularly important when the ultimate objective is to convince others of the merits of your own political programme.

[Click here for Best Practice Examples]

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