Saturday, May 10, 2014
Mary Kay Teaches Me About Campaign Work
You know how quickly you can fall down the Internet rabbit hole? You go to watch one youtube video about how to do your eyeliner and then all of a sudden it's two hours later and you're thinking, "Whoa, how did I get here?" and you wind up watching a bunch of training videos from a Mary Kay Sales Director in Ohio named Michelle Cunningham. So...that happened. For those who may be unaware, Mary Kay is a direct sales makeup company that holds in-home parties to sell their product and is best known for awarding their top sellers with pink Cadillacs. I don't personally use Mary Kay, but I did get a lot from these videos. Specifically, because I am who I am, I would up viewing them through the lens of a field organizer.(That's really what this whole blog is about;life through the lens of an organizer.) I got a lot of good ideas/wisdom, so thanks Michelle! If you are girly and looking for some motivation or just looking for insight into the depths of my nerdy insanity, I'll share what I learned below.
The Fabulous Referral Game
You can see the way that Michelle uses the game for her business above, but I'll tell you about how I'd use it for campaigns.
At any house party, team meeting or phone bank in someone's home you attend, you bring sheets with a place for name, phone number, and a place to put a note. Then you tell your participants to take out their cell phones and that you're going to set the timer on your phone for 2 minutes. In those 2 minutes participants should write down the name and number of anyone they know who they think should be involved in the campaign. The person with the most names at the end wins a prize. Could be a campaign tshirt, could be a fun little Democratic donkey stuffed animal, whatever you can grab that is cute and cheap.
Just as Michelle does, you should tell participants that you will only call or text the leads they give you once(and stick to it!) asking if they'd like to be involved. That way participants aren't reticent to sign friends and family up for a barrage of unwelcome phone calls.
I love this game because it changes the conversation from "Do you know anyone else who would be interested in volunteering with the campaign?" to "I know you know people who should be involved, who are they?" It also encourages participants to dig deep and cast a wider net than they might have otherwise.
It's a numbers game and it's not for everybody!
As Michelle shares with her Fabulous Game video, EVEN when you execute your ask perfectly, not everyone will say yes. And that's okay! I am always telling my candidates that they should GO IN to call time expecting rejection because the reality is, it's a numbers game and being empowered through donating your time and money is not for everyone. If everyone said yes, we wouldn't have to make so many damn phone calls!
In the video above, Michelle tells her consultants that in order to generate new clients (or for us volunteers/donors) you need to know your "why" and you need to believe in what you're selling. When you find the "WHY" that makes you want to cry that's how you know what motivates you and that's what you need to have in the back of your mind when you're making your pitch. So for me my big why is that I want to empower other people to give them a stake in their government and have agency in their own lives. When you zoom out to that higher purpose as to why you're doing this job rather than just "I need to hit my goals" or "I need to impress my boss" then it's much easier to push through that numbers game and to not take rejection so personally. You can chalk it up to "those just aren't the people I need to empower." Like I always say, "You can always ask and they can always say no! But you'll never know if you don't ask!"
Never should you RELY on something like a flyer to recruit volunteers for you, but there's no reason you can't tailor Michelle's suggestions to suit your needs. You could put up a flyer in Panera/coffee shops offering free training on starting a career in politics (which we are, right?). One of the marks of a great organizer is the creative drive to keep coming up with out of the box ideas to help the campaign. Whether it's a volunteer appreciation party, a high school vs. high school phone bank competition, or a State of the Union and data entry drinking game night, the sky's the limit. Building a great, motivated team and fun office environment is what keeps you from feeling like a voter contact monkey so go nuts!
Campaign Love and Mine,