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Building an Organizing Program

For decades, organizing has been the backbone of progressive movements, from the Civil Rights era to Obama’s ambitious ground game. Even in our digital age, talking to folks, at their doors and on the phone, is still one of the most effective tactics we have in persuading and turning out voters.

On this page:

What does an Organizing Program Look Like?

A good field program moves 2-3% of the electorate

  • The most effective time to either persuade or turn out a voter is in the two weeks before they vote
    • During this window, you have the opportunity to increase a voter’s likelihood of voting by 5-10%, higher for smaller campaigns, lower for bigger campaigns
  • To be successful, you’ll need to talk to A LOT of people in the final weeks of the campaign

Building a Field Program

How do you build a team before those crucial two weeks, that is large enough to talk to that number of people?

You need to:

  • Figure out who you will contact during Get Out the Vote
  • Collect at least double the number of IDs as number of votes you need 
  • Build your volunteer and paid capacity to talk to all of them in the last few weeks

Targeting Voters

Who do you need to talk to and why?

Most of the voters you will need to talk to are:

  • Low-turnout voters, folks who don’t normally vote, and 
  • Democrats

Some of the voters your campaign may want to speak with are: 

  • “Moderate” voters, or those who are less likely to be Democratic voters, and
  • Independents, or folks who won’t say they’re actually Democrats


For many of your races, the TDP will provide topline guidance on what your vote deficit is, but your campaign will need to map out how you get those votes.

Make sure you’re in contact with the TDP Candidate Services Team to get the guidance and reporting needed map this out.

Field Template

This template is a sample field plan that your campaign can use to derive all of these numbers, including your weekly goals. 

Building your Volunteer Team

Resources for building a volunteer team include:

Ready to go?

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