For those who follow politics, you probably remember when former presidential candidate John Edwards spoke in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention. He expressed passionately the economic disparity in the United States as being “two Americas.” Clinton’s speech had a similar tone at Roosevelt Island, as she energized the crowd. And her presence definitely electrified the supporters present and those who viewed the speech on television.
There was another rally the next day not publicized as much, but no less eager to support the former First Lady, with only a cardboard figure of Hillary Clinton flanked by volunteer legions epitomizing the heart and soul of political campaigning: grassroots. One group of grassroots folk are super organizers, as they proudly call themselves, are not affiliated formally with the Clinton campaign.
“They're the "HRC Super Volunteers" -- a group of near obsessive Hillary Clinton supporters who travel, on their own dime, to volunteer at the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign events,” according to a report by ABC News.
Super volunteers knock on doors, canvas, make phone calls, and conduct online rapid response and the myriad of other activities that grassroots organizers do best.
They pay all their own expenses and are as exuberant and committed as those enjoying formal recognition; however, the Clinton campaign related they were unaware of the group attending the rally.
One of the life-long Hillary Clinton supporters noted the “Super Volunteers” are the most energized and excited supporters saying, “We are here to fight for Hillary, and we are here to not only have her win the Iowa Caucus, but also New Hampshire and the first four primaries and get to 270 [electoral votes], so we can have the first woman president.
One of the organizers told of personal experience. “I had a personal problem the first time I met her. And she saw I was pretty emotional about it. And she grabbed my hand and said I was standing strong. And my response was ‘I am standing strong next to the next President of the United States.’ She smiled and winked at me and said she was going to give me a hug. I told her ‘no.’ But it was wonderful,” they said.
Winning elections depends on winning local victories, and the website “Local Victory” clearly outlines the systematic process for local, state and national elections. In the election of 2014, the Republican victories were monumental, and theories cited by some in the media accredited the use of grassroots organizers at all levels as one of the most valuable and effective.
Successful grassroots organizations are easy to spot: they have a lot of members / volunteers, get on the news, and create a recognizable brand.
These organizations use a specific formula for success as follows:
1. Plan for Success Successful grassroots organizations have a well thought out, and well-written plan. Many people think groups like this simply sprout up organically, without much forethought, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most uber-groups started with a written plan.
2. Have a Hierarchy Grassroots groups without a hierarchy usually devolve into anarchy. Again, this may seem counterintuitive for a grassroots organization, but the group will need a leadership structure with defined responsibilities if it is going to succeed at a very high level.
3. Build a Brand The most successful grassroots organizations out there are recognizable by their brand (including their logo, their message, and their spokespeople). This is true for campaign-run grassroots operations as well (just think about the Obama campaign’s grassroots army in 2008 or the Bush/RNC 72-hour Election Day corps in 2004). Your group needs a consistent look and feel for its marketing materials, one or more well-versed press spokespeople, a logo, and a defined and consistent message (just like a standard political campaign).
For more information on building a political brand, read Political Slogans and How to Craft Your Campaign’s Message.
4. Use Every Tool Well-run grassroots organization use every tool at their disposal to get their message out: press releases, press conferences, a political website, volunteer activity, direct mail, door to door, rallies, etc. Write a plan that uses lots of different grassroots techniques to make your voice heard.
5. Ask for Members One of the biggest reasons why small grassroots organizations stay that way is because they become insular “cliques,” where members are jealous of their role in the club and don’t really want outsiders coming in to ruin their good time. Your group will never get big enough to have clout using this mentality. One of the primary functions of your organization should be to grow… and that means going out and actually asking for new members… all the time, everywhere you go.
Grassroots organizations are a great tool in the arsenal of successful issue advocates, political campaigns, party organizations, and more… use these five secrets to help you build a strong and sustainable grassroots organization.
Super volunteers for Hillary Clinton are a great example of setting goals, capturing the imagination of the electorate, and making their presence known.
One of the most outstanding characteristics of this kind of organizing is the absence of negative ads as a strategy. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate so far to say he will not resort to negative campaign ads. If all of the candidates could make a similar pledge, voters can focus on the issues rather than trying to sort out the fact from the fiction.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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