Expert Advice Before Volunteering for a Political Campaign

Welcome to the #365Firsts Podcast and the Expert Advice Before Your First Time Series. The show aims to encourage, prepare, and inspire you to do things you’ve never done before and complete your #365FirstsChallenge list. 

In each episode of this series, we give you tips and advice to set you up for success, for specific firsts and new experiences. The guests and topics are as varied as the options and possibilities of new experiences. 

Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill, improve your health and happiness, work on your self-development, add excitement and adventure to your life, or simply have first times, you’re going to love our podcast.

In This Episode

This episode is one that’s incredibly relevant to our current climate, as it focuses on politics. 

Before we get started, it’s important to note our guest is a Democrat – but there will be no debates or arguing about which side of the fence anyone sits on. Our guest has a wealth of experience that can be applied to working with any style of political party.

In this episode, we’re lucky to be joined by Collyn Warner to talk about volunteering for a political campaign for the first time. She’s got a number of intriguing experiences within the political world, and plenty of fantastic advice to share with all of us.

The Guest Expert

Currently, Collyn works as the Director of Live Training for the National Democratic Training Committee. This interesting organization offers online, interactive training resources for Democratic candidates who are running for office. These resources are completely free, and have helped many candidates in their path to success.

Ever since 2008, Collyn has been engrossed in political and issue-based campaigns, community projects and training work. Her career started off in mostly rural areas in the regional South, which allowed her to meet a number of interesting characters. 

In addition to this, Collyn previously worked at the International Monetary Fund, focusing on event coordination, communication efforts and logistical work. She has also worked on membership development for Business Forward, and has worked in communications and outreach for the Campaign for Southern Equality, Neighbors For Equality (a fantastic grassroots LGBTQ+ rights group), Amnesty International and various higher education institutions.

As you can see, her experience spans many fields and she has a true passion for politics and making a difference – which made her the perfect guest for this episode of the show.

What You Need To Know About Political Volunteering For The First Time

Many Varied Opportunities Available

Collyn notes that one of the first things to be aware of is that there are multiple types of volunteering campaigns and opportunities. The type of work you could end up doing as a volunteer depends on whether you’re working on a local or national scale, and it’s likely you’ll end up wearing multiple hats as a volunteer. Some common tasks include;

  • Fundraising work
  • Communications and physical marketing
  • Digital marketing and social media work
  • Photography
  • Voter outreach and canvassing

There are lots of different roles for different people to play in a campaign, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re introverted or extroverted. One of the key themes in volunteer work is flexibility, and there will always be a suitable role for you to succeed in.

If you’re looking to be a weekly volunteer, you should expect to put in about 3 hours of work a week – although there are plenty of opportunities to work more and to expand your skill set even further outside of the campaign and throughout the year.

You Will Receive Training

It’s important to note that training will be provided during campaigns, and there are always people on hand to help you out if you’re struggling with anything. Don’t let a lack of experience or nerves put you off from trying this out.

However, as in any job, work, or volunteering you do, it’s important to know what your superiors expect of you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Remember to look after yourself and prepare yourself for success e.g. if you’re going door to door, bring comfy shoes and some water. Additionally, why not recruit a friend to help out?

Make a Difference (No Matter the Outcome)

What attracted Collyn to getting involved in her first political campaign was her desire to make a difference through supporting a candidate she believed in. She continued volunteering for more candidates that aligned with her belief system and what mattered to her.

She points out how becoming involved as a volunteer for a political campaign offers you those opportunities, to tell your personal story to others, and share why you support the candidate you volunteer to help.

Collyn shares her personal experiences with working for an education based campaign for North Carolina in 2014 and a similar campaign in 2016. While the outcome of those elections were immensely different, she was able to share what mattered to her about the education system.

While the candidate you support might lose the election, always stay focus on the bigger picture and stay engage!

Expand Your Skill Sets

When listening to Collyn, you can really tell how much she loves what she does. She states one of the main benefits of working in a campaign is that you can learn a huge number of skills; skills that will benefit you in all areas of life, not just politics. This can vary from people skills and communication, to data input, and social media work.

Get Started

Knowing how to get involved with a campaign will depend on the type of campaign that you’re looking at. Check out the website for the campaign you are interested in to see who you need to email, or try to find a sign-up page or contact form to fill out.

The main theme that Collyn goes back to is the importance of learning and growing during your work as a volunteer. Don’t be afraid to get involved with extra work in the community outside of election season, and try to build long-lasting relationships with your peers too. There are great resources available to help you out, and we’ll be linking Collyn’s website as an example below.

Get In Touch With Collyn

As with all of our esteemed guests, you can reach out to Collyn to learn more about what she does and to ask her more questions. Her social media links are as follows;

Additionally, you can find her fantastic work and resources at www.traindemocrats.org

How To Reach Us

We are always thrilled to hear what you guys think of the show, so we would love to hear from you today. Community is at the heart of what we do as a business, so we always love hearing what you guys think about the topics, guests and advice.

Are there particular topics that you’d like to see, or something you want advice on? Is there something that you think we could be doing better? Feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at contact@365firstschallenge.com today.

What’s Coming Up Next Time?

New episodes of Expert Advice Before Your First Time are released each Tuesday and Thursday, and we’ve got a fantastic roster of expert guests lined up to give you more advice. 

In our next episode of the show, we’ll be speaking with Dave Jackson on the 28th about starting up a podcast for the first time. After that, we’ll be visited by Adonis McNeal to speak about attending the Super Bowl for the first time.

Make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode, you can listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, or Spotify. While you’re there – please leave a review if you can. It really does help us out with our work, and each review is truly appreciated.

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