Common Mistakes of Affiliates

Common Mistakes of Affiliates

  1. Failing to collect data to build your list

Politics is about building and maintaining relationships. With that, you need to ensure you are collecting and building your list of supporters at every activity you do. With a bigger list, comes power. Start with the basics. Keep data on donors, members, volunteers, yard sign locations, event attendees, etc.

  1. Reject apathy and negativism. Build an organization that prioritizes teamwork.

It only takes one person to spoil a party. Diffuse and deflect that person. Difference between those who are difficult and divisive: You can find activities for difficult people that won’t affect other members.

  1. Leaning on too few of people to carry the workload.

Leaders delegate and empower others. While you can try to do as much as you can yourself, what happens when you leave the organization? How long until you burnout? As a non-profit volunteer-led party, people are constantly coming and going. Build the bench. Use a divisional structure with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Have divisional leaders mentor newcomers and build their team.

  1. Do your meetings feel productive?

 Too often, state parties fly by their seat of the pants, reacting to events and elections, and not anticipating the necessary steps they need to take. Does your Executive Committee try to solve all the party’s challenges at a monthly meeting? This is no way to proceed.

Executive committee meetings have two main purposes: 1) Briefing on party activities 2) A time to bring up fully-formed proposals, allow for discussions and then a vote. Rinse and repeat. If the motion feels only half-baked or just made up at the spur of the moment, you need to go back and look at getting these proposals made earlier in advance.

Support the specific divisional leader primarily charged with the area under consideration. This is akin to sub-committees in Government. You do not need to get in the weeds as a full committee, but rather delegate and let a small group of 1-5 people form a proposal for consideration.

  1. Letting others dump their projects on you.

You have limited time and resources. Get the other person to break down the tasks for their project; get them to carry it out. If it’s a great idea, they will invest time to make it a success and prove their idea.

  1. Not being responsive to all interested leads.

Ensure all submission forms whether email or Facebook are monitored. Assign a person(s) to follow up with volunteer inquires, run for office, general inquires and other prospects. Nothing gives a worse impression for your party than un-returned phone calls or emails.

  1. Playing musical chairs with technology platforms.

Technology is only as good as the people behind it. It is not a magical tool, it will not grow your state party for you. First ask, what do we need the CRM to do and can it do it? Have I fully researched and been trained on the platform or am I making assumptions about it? Because volunteers are pinched for time, usually there is a lack of a serious Database Administrator and “super-users” well-trained on the platform. Many systems do much of the same thing, and getting to know and understand it is the human component that must not be overlooked. Unless your technology is literally outdated, you should prioritize stability in platforms.