I have to hand it to the local Obama campaign – particularly the people who organize the volunteers, they know how to lure you in.  When I made a donation about a month or so ago and dropped it off in person b/c I wanted to check out the operation they immediately asked me if I wanted to volunteer.  I told them I’d have to get back to them b/c my job imposes limits on my political activity.   About a week later a phone banker called to see if I could volunteer and I asked for a number to call them back b/c I still hadn’t checked with my job to see what the applicable limits were.

So, I went in this week (late, I know) to get a yard sign and make another donation.  The coordinator immediately asked if I could volunteer.  Having since checked the ‘gray area’ of the limits on me, I explained that it would take a ton of hoops for me to jump through to get permission.  Bang, without pause, he asked me if I could bring drinks and snacks in for the volunteers.  I said sure.   No fool he, he immediately asked me if I could do it by Wednesday (it was Monday when I was there).  I hemmed, and he said, well, how about Friday.  And I said sure, knowing Monday and Tuesday were crazy, but Friday was doable.

So today, after picking up the boys, we went to the store and loaded up on cases of single waters, sodas, juices, and some apples and dropped them off.    The boys were psyched to help (BB is a bigtime Obama supporter, LB is somewhat oblivious).

My friend J, who also stopped in for a yard sign recently, had a similar experience of polite persistence.  When she said that her ability to volunteer was limited b/c she’s at home with her baby (3mos), they immediately handed her a stack of cards to work on at home (I think she stuck on mailing labels or something & put them in the mail).

My friend C has worked on a number of campaigns at various levels of importance (she’s probably doing something down in DC where she moved last year) and she says the most important thing is getting volunteers to show up and then, even more important, making them feel like they are useful.  She had been disgusted with the Kerry organization when she joined as a volunteer in 2004 because they just didn’t keep people moving and making them feel like their volunteered time was useful.  You have to make people feel like their contribution, whether time, money, or what have you, is needed and valuable.

Anyway, I was impressed with how organized the Obama campaign was compared to other political shops I have floated around, and how they were politely persistent in their efforts to show you how you could help and feel involved.

And so far, no one has stolen my sign, although somebody has already stolen my friend J’s so she has to go back and get another one.  They’ll probably give her another stack of cards to label & mail out.