by Peter Rothbart, TCDC Volunteer Coordinator
Yes it did. This election mattered, this democracy mattered, votes mattered and volunteerism was one of the engines that drove the process.
On a personal level, volunteerism feels good. We feel engaged, alive, empowered and committed. We are taking charge of our lives and our futures. And with Covid all but locking our doors for us, volunteering gave us a reason to cross the threshold and reach out to others barricaded at home.
Covid, of course, changed not only the campaign landscape bur forced us to improvise new ways to the communicate… and quickly. Door to door contact was just plain dangerous, causing the Democrats to abandon leafletting out of a justified abundance of caution and respect for others. The importance of phone calling became even more paramount; new software and new organizational approaches were developed quickly, often with flawed and mixed results at first. The glitchy software got better and training sessions improved with experience and confidence. New techniques using texting and social media postings proved to be quick, efficient, cheap and personal in communicating with potential constituents.
And even post carding and letter writing found a renewed niche as people longed for non-technical and personal ways to reach out.And all of it worked in its own way. We were successful in some campaigns, less so in others.
But we found new ways to overcome adversity and with those discoveries, we found a renewed commitment to making our democracy work by the simplest and most profoundly American way … by volunteering.