So, I was planning on volunteering for Kathleen Murphy today but am once again disappointed in the way Virginia Democrats are handling their digital outreach efforts.
You need to get the basics right before you share pics online and give your twitter shout-outs.
Here is the quick list from a brief review:
-> The email with a “Jim, plans tomorrow?” subject line might be better served by mentioning special guests Congressman Don Beyer and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. This message is easy to skip otherwise…it’s better to share the strongest headline or hook rather than just ask a general pseudo-personal question.
-> There are twitter shoutouts with pics of Beyer at the morning event but no advance warning of the 10am canvass to build attendance. There was a facebook post about it but without a clickable link to sign up just an email address….I would also recommend more than one post unless it is sponsored because facebook organic reach is harder than twitter reach nowadays. That’s why I would recommend a facebook group for smaller communities like your volunteer army to connect easier.
-> The email about the canvass today includes a broken link to some kind of NGP sign up page, a graphic about the canvass that isn’t linked to a signed up page but also the email address to RSVP which helps but for a major canvass it would be better to use a sign up page when something as simple as eventbrite can create a nice spreadsheet of all your sign ups with information on preferred shifts, driver/carpooler and other details from volunteers. And the best part is these forms usually have an email confirmation too.
-> If you didn’t get the email but want to get involved by checking the web site then a google search doesn’t produce http://www.murphyfordelegate.com. The best the SEO does is the NGP-branded version of the web site in the 7th listing. And to show the importance of facebook her page is the 1st listing.
-> Once you find the web site, there is no reference to today’s canvass or Events or a Campaign Office address with hours of operation or even a phone number.
-> The Contact page and Volunteer pages only allow you to fill out a form but is the campaign going to respond in time if i want to volunteer today??? I filled it out to find out….stay tuned.
Now we can simply dismiss some of these things as items that very few people who are motivated enough to volunteer will miss but it is a sign that digital is a dormant tool and not being utilized properly.
And it does affect volunteers of all levels of participation. I saw a facebook post from a very active volunteer today asking how to phone bank for the campaign….all i had was an email address for him.
So, if people crazy enough to proactively look for how to get involved like us are getting confused then imagine what it is like for someone who we’re trying to recruit for the first time.
Winning campaigns needed to start somewhere….and I don’t see the foundation being laid in this campaign or several others in Northern Virginia.
UPDATE: 20 minutes before the 1pm canvass the Virginia Young Democrats notified us that Northam will be in Great Falls not McLean as advertised. We’ll see if the campaign ever contacts us.