Mobilizing Supporters as Ambassadors for Primary GOTV

Forward Progressive
4 min readJun 6, 2023

As we approach the final weeks of the Virginia primary season, I want to highlight the importance of engaging a campaign’s supporters for the Get Out The Vote push beyond generic emails or social media posts.

In a primary race every personal contact can make a difference in motivating your team to take action and motivating voters who might not be too familiar with the candidates or whether they have significant strengths or policy differences between them.

My top suggestion is to host a GOTV Strategy Meeting via zoom with your supporters and to accompany it with a newsletter or checklist of actions that your campaign can use help with through Primary Day.

Similar volunteer events have been hosted recently by Biden-Harris 2024 as well as by the Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan and Delegate Dan Helmer campaigns.

SAMPLE “GOTV MEETING” AGENDA:

Welcome & Introductions (via chat)

(the opening of the meeting is a good opportunity to summarize the major themes of the campaign and what the culture of the campaign is all about so volunteers feel like they are welcome and their feedback will be heard. The National Democratic Training Committee offers an online course on creating a positive team culture that is reflected by Obama For America’s “Respect. Empower. Include.” mantra and more recently Joe’s Campaign Code which was also influenced by Pete’s Rules of the Road.

Briefing from candidate and/or staff on messaging

(updates on local or hot topic issues that pop up that could use special talking points and FAQ Fact Sheets for volunteers in addition to reminding supporters to review information on the candidate’s bio or issues page)

Briefing from candidate and/or staff on campaign progress

(updates on how many doors have been knocked, how many mail pieces sent, digital ads being promoted or other metrics that show how many voters the campaign is reaching)

Briefing from field organizer on volunteer needs

(updates or anecdotes from recent events and preview of upcoming events and actions as well as miscellaneous asks, encourage volunteers to sign up immediately via links in chat or make commitments in chat)

Briefing from digital or outreach organizer on community outreach needs

(updates on recent social media posts to amplify and a quick “social ambassador” training on how supporters can help spread the word to friends and family via their personal networks and can include a toolkit similar to the Biden-Harris social toolkit)

If volunteers have access to MiniVan or a relational organizing app like Reach or Impactive where they can look up voters they can “canvass” their personal networks and share the data with the campaign.

Excerpt from the Biden-Harris social toolkit about the power of relational organizing.

“Our organizing program is going to be powered by people like you talking to your friends, family, and communities. You are our best validator.”

These words are very important to emphasize as a candidate’s supporters can be influential ambassadors for a campaign for good or bad. I am still seeing lots of supporters of candidates throwing around insults like “DINO” or accusations about who is a “Real Democrat” which are very harmful to party unity in the general election.

Wrap Up

(the closing of the meeting is an especially good opportunity to thank supporters and answer questions via the chat if you don’t have time to give everyone time to speak)

Follow Up Email & Outreach

(share a newsletter with resources and actions then follow up with volunteers to make individual asks)

ALSO: VIRTUAL MEET & GREET

(i would also recommend calling and texting voters, especially undecideds, with an invite to a virtual meet and greet with a similar agenda via zoom or facebook live in the final days to engage them directly and answer their last-minute questions as well)

ABOUT JIM MCBRIDE:

Virginia Democrats Network and Virginia For Biden creator, Virginia “Blue Victory” and “Blue Victory 2024” Event Host Jim McBride is a Democratic Community Leader and Strategist focused on mobilizing grassroots networks from DC/MD/VA and beyond to win battleground districts for Democrats.

Jim is a member of Virginia Grassroots Coalition and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee who ran for Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia in 2022.

He previously served as a DNC & Biden-Harris Community Leader and Communications Director of the DC/MD/VA Grassroots Coordinating Committee. He also took the role as the 1st Volunteer Database Coordinator for Virginia For Obama during the 2008 Primary while in the position of Vice Chair of Arlington Democrat’s Precinct Operations and founded Generation Obama-DC/MD/VA Chapter while in the position of President of Arlington Young Democrats in 2007.

Jim has over three decades of communications and political experience including managing the communications department of the International Association of Fire Fighters and working with award-winning public relations firms. He earneda Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication with a minor in Politics from Ithaca College in 1996.

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Forward Progressive

Jim McBride is a former VA Dems Chair Candidate and Founder of Blue Victory War Room and “Keep Virginia Blue” War Room briefings on events.democrats.org.