By Richard Gooding
What is the most important thing I should be doing right now?
Maricopa County has slots for approximately 5,100 Democratic PCs, or one PC slot per 120 registered Democrats. At the time of the 2016 election, there were a paltry 880 Democratic PCs, or one PC per 700 Democrats. It is impossible for each PC to engage that many individuals. Fortunately, things have improved since the election. Maricopa has doubled that number to about 1,800 PCs. Unfortunately, that still means there is only one PC for every 340 registered Democrats. This same pattern holds for most other counties in the state.
Bottom line: if the Democrats are going to win at the ground game, which is the only way we can win, we need to fill every PC slot in the state with trained, engaged and empowered PCs. We need to get to a manageable ratio of one PC per 100-125 registered Democrats.
AZ Blue 2020 has been doing presentations and webinars to recruit PCs. While those have been moderately successful, we need to shift the focus. The clock is ticking.
The quickest way to fill the remaining PC slots throughout the state is for every PC to recruit two additional PCs. If the 1,800 PCs in Maricopa each recruited two PCs, we would have over 5,100 PCs. Therefore, the most important thing a PC should be doing right now is recruiting two additional PCs.
Do the people you recruit have to become PCs? Do they need to canvass? The answer to both is no. Volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests are needed. Some people won’t want to canvass but will write letters, postcards or phone bank. Others might be happy holding house parties, being the “Comfort Captain” on the team, or data person, pulling walk lists. All are welcomed.
Recruiting New PCs and Volunteers
Some recruiting will occur naturally when you are canvassing your neighborhood. You may meet an engaged constituent who wants to do more than vote. Invite that person to become a PC or volunteer.
A bigger challenge is recruiting in precincts with no PCs. How do you plant seeds in those areas? These precincts often have many registered Democrats whom need to be engaged but no one to do the engaging.
The first step is to identify the targeted precinct(s) and cut a list of high-efficacy Democrats in that precinct. These are the leads you need to mine.
You can reach them by canvassing the precinct going door-to-door or by phone banking. The phone banking process has been successfully deployed in LD 9, where close to 100 PCs were recruited over a four-month period.
Our recommended next steps:
- Hold a Group Phone Banking Party. Phone banking with others is much more fun than doing it by yourself. Recruit other PCs in your LD. Divide up the call list of high-efficacy Democrats and start dialing.
- Try the following script. It works.
“Hi, this is _______, I’m a Democrat in your neighborhood. I am calling other Democrats in the neighborhood to see if they can give us a helping hand over the next 12 months as we prepare for the 2018 election. As you know, the Democratic Party needs a lot of help, especially at the grassroots level.
Observe their reaction to the Party to judge their interest.
“Would you consider helping us out by being a volunteer in our ground game?”
If they are interested, they will ask about the duties and requirements for volunteers. You should describe it broadly and let them know there are a wide range of things volunteers can do to support the Party.
If they indicate they can’t help now, find out if they can help closer to the election. A “no” may actually be a “not now.”
If they are not interested now or in the future,
“Thank for your vote and continued support of the party.”
Go to the next person on the list.
- If they are interested, invite them to a small gathering with other potential volunteers. You need to pick a date and time for the meeting, as well as a location in the middle of the targeted precinct. If there were PCs in the precinct, you could hold a house party but there aren’t any PCs yet.
“A few of the people who are interested in volunteering are going to meet for coffee next week to learn more about how they can help. We are meeting on (date and location). Would you like to join us?”
If they can’t meet at that time,
“When would you be able to meet?”
At this point, you can use their requested date and time when making your next calls or you can have two separate meetings.
- Next, each PC holds their volunteer recruitment meeting. This is the small meeting in a coffee shop (or other central, public location) with two or three potential volunteers. You should share your story, learn about why they want to be involved and identify what skills and resources they are willing to volunteer.
At the end of this meeting, you should have a clear idea of who is interested in taking their involvement to the next level. You can share with them what a PC does and provide them a copy of the PC Survival Guide. You can even have them fill out the Appointed PC form on the spot.
Where things go from here may vary depending on your LD and the training they provide to new PCs.
Based on the experience in LD 9, starting with a list of 100 high-efficacy Democrats, you should be able to talk to 25-30 people, which should result in five potential volunteers for you to meet. The best time to call is Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.
We’d like to hear about your progress, any tips you might have and, most importantly, how many PCs you recruit.
If we all take a little bite of the elephant, we can bring it to its knees.