Staff Structure

Up to this point, you may have structured your voter work as you have with your ongoing public policy work, but now that needs to change.

As your organization transitions into an active field campaign, the time pressures increase and your staff gets stretched thin. Field campaigns are traditionally structured as a clear hierarchy with top-down decision making. The undemocratic model is initially unsettling for some staff and members, as Robby Rodriguez has pointed out, which is why SWOP emphasizes the evaluation process, when everyone can review decisions made in the field and, by consensus, shape changes for the next cycle.

Typical field campaign staff structure:

staff structure diagram

What this structure enables your organization to do is field an efficient and effective campaign operation without falling into the time-intensive consensus models that many organization use in their public policy work. Because the time pressure on a voter campaign is so intense, you need a structure that facilitates quick and decisive action. This structure does that.

In additon to existing staff members, many organizations increase their staffing level in order to handle the increased workload by bringing on additional paid staff and unpaid volunteers. But, as Anthony Thigpenn explains, it is by far better to hire canvassers who are members of the community. SCOPE hires people who are unemployed and are able to door-knock during the week, unlike most volunteers.

Click to hear from an organizer

Anthony Thigpenn explains that SCOPE employs some paid staff during election projects
Anthony Thigpenn: both paid and unpaid staff are from the community

Robby Rodriguez has found that intensive planning is the only way to avoid “constant crisis mode."
Robby Rodriguez: there's a time and place for a different type of decision-making structure