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So, YOU want to be an organizer? Tips from a midwestern organizer

I love my job as a political organizer, and with the 2012 election approaching I have many friends that are starting their careers as organizers. Here are the top 5 pieces of advice I can give to young people starting/pursuing a career in political organizing.

Boundaries are important.

One of my organizer friends said it best: “They come for the president, and stay for you.” This is so true. Volunteers come to your organization because they connect to your cause or candidate. People end up staying because they find community. As an organizer, you then begin to develop strong relationships with your volunteers. This can cause a huge strain on an organizer’s ability to achieve any normal amount of work-life balance.

You are asking them to wake up at four in the morning and drive across the state to listen to anti-choicers read bible quotes and compare abortion to the holocaust and slavery–you feel a need to reciprocate and answer all of their phone calls. Even the middle of the night calls. Oh, all of them have your cell phone number too of course. Because you have to be so available as an organizer, it can be easy to slip into a sense of guilt in trying to fulfill all of your volunteers’ needs. At the end of the day, your goal is to reach your deliverables, not to be best friends with all of your volunteers and answer their every call. On the other hand, ...

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