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Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:19 AM

Beware of sleazy "progressive" McActivism sweatshops that chew up young progressives...

I had a bad job experience. I lasted two weeks. Then I got fired. As did the vast majority of the people who worked there. If you're not a superstar at raking in contact information and donations, you don't make quota, and you're out.

The management calls themselves progressive, but they treat their employees like shit. And I'm fucking pissed.

The rate at which this place chews up and spits out aspiring activists, I wondered if it was really run by James O'Keefe-style Republicans scheming to burn out progressive activists, alienate them from the public and keep them from doing genuinely useful stuff.

How do these places work? Go to any college campus, and see the ads posted all over "MAKE MONEY SERVING A GOOD CAUSE!!! GREENPEACE!!! ACLU!!! MAKE $12/HR!!!" The ads are all over Craigslist.

Most of us have seen these people - they're the folks with the clipboards who are accosting people at college campuses, busy town centers and going door-to-door trying to get donations or contact information from you.

In my case, the cause I was hired to canvass for was Fair Share Alliance.

You'd think that a well-run progressive activism outlet would provide opportunities to network progressives together, build connections, foster community.

You'd think that they'd, well, organize.

Nope. None of that here. They put you on the street knocking on doors either taking contact information from people, or taking donations. It's all about the donor lists, and the money. They don't care about community-building.

And they have you working under less-than-ideal conditions. When I worked political campaigns as a volunteer, safety was the big rule. Don't go out after dark was the biggest rule. Here at Fair Share, noooooooo. The law says you can canvass until 9:00 at night, so they make you canvass until 9:00 at night. Dealing with big dogs. One of my coworkers had a gun pulled on her because she knocked on his door after dark. Thankfully, she just left the property, and she's OK. But absolutely fucking scary. And when you complain, to the managers, they question your commitment to the cause.

Oh, and there's the quotas. I was taking pledge cards. You had to get 15 of them a day. If you didn't get that number consistently, you're "on review". Spend more than a couple days "on review" and you're fired. How do you make quota? Either you get lucky and get put in a nice neighborhood where there are some fellow progressives who don't mind signing pledges. Or you use super-pushy used-car-salesman tactics. "NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!" As I'm not a pushy guy, and I don't do guilt-trips and false-urgency, I didn't make quota.

So I got fired. As did a bunch of my coworkers. They chew people up and spit them out. They don't give a fuck about their safety, and insinuate that you're a shitty activist if you're not ultra-pushy.

Lest you think that my experience is unique, or that I'm just bitter and have a bad attitude and I'm a bad worker and a bad progressive, here's another story.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/hello-wanna-give-to-a-good-cause/Content?oid=2172030&showFullText=true

...If you've ever been approached on the street by an Oxfam representative seeking funds to end poverty in Africa, or had a guy from the Democratic National Convention knocking at your door at dinnertime crusading to keep Washington under Democratic control, chances are they were hired, trained, and paid by Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. The for-profit canvass outsourcing firm grosses untold millions from its fund-raising commissions, and has recruiting offices in more than twenty cities nationwide. Each year, Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. employs armies of eager young adults to canvass on the streets or, in Badami's case, manage those canvassers.

Though most people don't know it, the canvassers hired by Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. work under conditions that would likely make the organizations they're championing cringe. Workers face tight fund-raising quotas and notoriously high turnover rates; the average canvasser lasts less than a month. But the constant pool of new applicants, often churned out by liberal academic institutions, coupled with the bum economy, has allowed Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. to continue to work its young employees very hard seemingly without much repercussion. In fact, they're currently hiring.

...

Yet as it grew, so too did a litany of employee complaints, allegations of labor violations, and, eventually, a series of class-action lawsuits. In recent years, a multitude of blogs by ex-employees has sprouted across the web, portraying wretched work experiences of near-Dickensian scope.

Columbia University Sociology Professor Dana Fisher describes The Fund in-depth in her suggestively titled book Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America, published in 2006. A former canvasser herself, she notes the efficiency of the outsourcing model, but also the heavy toll on those in the trenches, many of who start out as impassioned, potential leaders in the movement and become quickly disillusioned and alienated. The modern Republican political organizing approach, she argues, has been far more effective in creating stronger, lasting relationships with both its employees and political base.


I'd say getting fired from these shit-flingers is actually a blessing, because now I can say what I really think.

FUCK YOU FAIR SHARE ALLIANCE!

FUCK YOU FOR TREATING YOUR WORKERS AND ACTIVISTS LIKE SHIT!

FUCK YOU FOR SOILING PROGRESSIVE CAUSES!

FUCK YOU FOR RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING YOUR WORKERS TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK!

I'm going to broadcast my grievances loudly, and see what I can do to damage their reputation. Progressives and progressive causes deserve far better.

And I'm gonna switch to some other form of activism, and some other job. At a place that doesn't treat employees like used toilet paper.

58 replies, 26094 views

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Arrow 58 replies Author Time Post
Reply Beware of sleazy "progressive" McActivism sweatshops that chew up young progressives... (Original post)
backscatter712 Apr 2012 OP
fasttense Apr 2012 #1
FarLeftFist Apr 2012 #37
Blue_Tires Apr 2012 #53
alcibiades_mystery Apr 2012 #2
Hissyspit Apr 2012 #3
salin Apr 2012 #7
lunasun Apr 2012 #10
shcrane71 Apr 2012 #13
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #4
anti-alec Apr 2012 #16
Surya Gayatri Apr 2012 #5
leveymg Apr 2012 #6
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #9
lunasun Apr 2012 #11
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #14
Zalatix Apr 2012 #30
aikoaiko Apr 2012 #8
gopiscrap Apr 2012 #12
Zalatix Apr 2012 #31
eridani Apr 2012 #39
Zalatix Apr 2012 #15
silverweb Apr 2012 #17
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #18
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2012 #19
tex-wyo-dem Apr 2012 #20
tridim Apr 2012 #21
annabanana Apr 2012 #22
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #25
NuttyFluffers Apr 2012 #40
Raine Apr 2012 #23
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #24
Earth_First Apr 2012 #26
Puregonzo1188 Apr 2012 #27
ilovecolombia Apr 2012 #28
Puregonzo1188 Apr 2012 #35
hunter Apr 2012 #29
uberblonde Apr 2012 #32
chrisa Apr 2012 #33
indivisibleman Apr 2012 #34
Sarah Ibarruri Apr 2012 #36
NuttyFluffers Apr 2012 #38
eridani Apr 2012 #41
Post removed Apr 2012 #42
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #43
Post removed Apr 2012 #47
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #52
LittleCharlie Apr 2012 #48
Tunkamerica Apr 2012 #45
LittleCharlie Apr 2012 #46
Marrah_G Apr 2012 #50
Marrah_G Apr 2012 #49
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #51
Tunkamerica Apr 2012 #44
thepurpleknuckle Apr 2012 #54
backscatter712 Apr 2012 #55
keetseel May 2013 #56
uppityperson May 2013 #57
hrmjustin May 2013 #58

Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:55 AM

1. I had NO idea.

 

Thanks for posting this. I had no idea they treat their employees so awful. I've collected signatures, made phone calls and gone door to door as a volunteer worker, never as a paid worker. I just assumed they treated both the same way.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:14 AM

37. Those types of jobs require extensive training. One well-known progressive establishment for that is

http://www.midwestacademy.com/

Edit: Sorry I commented in the wrong spot. Meant for the OP.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 02:29 PM

53. +1

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:59 AM

2. This has been going on for many years

I did one day on a NYPIRG canvas when I was hard up fopr money in college. One day, and I recognized exactly what kind of scam this was and never went back. Sorry you had to waste two weeks with these crooks. The reason they're constantly advertising is because the turnover is monumental: it's essentially a pyramid scheme like any other, selling stupid bath soaps or whatever. Get a lot of young, gullible people in the door, turn them out, dump them when they don't perform. You may as well be cold calling for a boiler room stock shop. It's the same principle.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:16 AM

3. I was about to say the same thing.

Except that I didn't even go a day. I walked in and about five or ten minutes later, I walked out. This was 20 years ago.

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Response to Hissyspit (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:51 AM

7. I interviewed for a canvassing job about 25 yrs ago.

Knew I wasn't comfortable with the soliciting and decided not to take the job.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:54 AM

10. at least u r outside and no cig smoke room=boiler room is worse IMO

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:22 AM

13. That was my experience with WIPIRG 20 years ago.

Also overheard a very angry manager at a Gay yellowpages in AZ go on a 30 minute YELLING spree with the sales staff. The staff was called everything in the book for not making their quotas. I was in another room setting up appointments for the sales staff, and we could hear everything. Many people left, others cried. I never went back, and was never paid for my work. When I called to receive my paycheck, they asked me if I had a lawyer. When I said no, they said to call back when I got one.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:26 AM

4. I may need some ideas for revenge...

I'm thinking of cruising the 16th Street Mall, to canvass the canvassers.

When they stop me to give the the Cause of the Day, I'd ask them "How long have you been working here? Three days? How's the job working out for you? Let me tell you a little about your employer. Check out Grassroots Campaigns Inc., check out this article that shows how other canvassers have been abused. See what you think?"

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:49 AM

16. Yes. I see the Greenpeace activists hanging out on 16th and Larimer

 

near Office Depot...

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:28 AM

5. Thanks for bringing these outrageous labor pratices to public attention!

 

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:36 AM

6. Door-to-door canvassing is hard work. Here's a list with lots of other kinds of progressive jobs:

http://tommanatosjobs.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=25b11bb1652827051f7033270&id=544471a202

Not everyone's cut out for life in the trenches. What gets you through is believing in the organization you work for, and the small successes that come everyday with meeting like-minded people. Good luck.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:22 AM

9. The thing is that I've done lots of volunteer canvassing.

When I did it as a volunteer, things were a lot more casual, the people I was working for were a lot more pleasant, and the work was actually fun.

Try to get a paycheck doing it, and all of the sudden, the greedheads are tightening the screws.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:57 AM

11. well the bosses r trying to get a paycheck too

casual/fun = volunteer

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Response to lunasun (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:44 AM

14. There are places that don't sweatshop their workers and still make money

Colorado Fair Share is not one of them.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:30 PM

30. Funny how things go sour when you try to find a job that puts food on the table.

 

Damned evil workers, how dare they go from volunteering for free to working for pay.

(That's not a condemnation of you, it's a condemnation of the greedheads)

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:01 AM

8. coffee is for closers






Somehow Alec Baldwin's character has become an inspirational leadership model for far too many.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:22 AM

12. Many years ago I was desparate and between jobs

soI took one with an outfit called Washington Citizen Action..same thing, they treated you like shit and worked your ass off in all sorts of conditions. I was with them for 9 months and often was their top money getter. However, other than outright fraud, they didn't care how you got donations. You also had a weekly minimum to raise and if you didn't you were on probation the next week. I remember a couple of times throwing 20-30 bucks in with a phoney name and address to make the minimum. (Didnt happen often, but it did) The place also foster a culture of drinking and partner swapping.
I was able to seperate the cause from the greed (the higher up you went, the more you made and also made a small percentage off of everybody else)

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:31 PM

31. Uplines?? Wow, how is that different from a MLM scheme?

 

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:50 AM

39. That's what I remember from 1985

Not sure how the organization works these days. Statewide Poverty Action Network mainly focuses on voter registration, and I've enjoyed working for them.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:47 AM

15. Please read this... TAKE ACTION, report them to Oxfam.

 

Oxfam is a FAIR TRADE group and their rules forbid this. Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. is violating the fair labor standards of the World Fair Trade Organization.

Oxfam would have to end all relationships with Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. lest FLO-CERT yank their fair trade certification.

Contact Oxfam and share your experiences with them:
http://www.oxfam.org/en/contact

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 02:59 PM

17. Then Grassroots has changed in the past few years.

I know someone who worked for them several, maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and had a very positive experience. She is still friends with some former coworkers who, like her, have also moved up to more interesting and personally rewarding campaign or advocacy-related jobs.

Maybe the company changed hands, and along with it changed its structure and management style?



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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 03:10 PM

18. What no one's noted is that Grassroots Campaigns is the contractor of the supposedly

 

'progressive' orgs, and in this relationship completely mirrors present-day labor practices, use of contractors to keep grunt workers at "arms-length," pay them less with worse conditions, work them harder, etc.

Which makes you wonder, if this is the way Greenpeace, etc runs their house, what's so bloody progressive about them, ultimately?



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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 03:13 PM

19. You sound surprised. It took the corporatists some time to consolidate

 

their hold on the leadership of party before they could get to work on the roots. I'm not sure exactly when the party stopped representing the people, but it was finished by the 80's. If I had to choose a date it would be 1968.

K&R

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 04:03 PM

20. I think just ONE thing mentioned in the OP...

Is the root of the problem: "for-profit canvass outsourcing firm"

Don't think you need to look any further than that.

The paradox is that these for-profit canvassing firms are making tons of money raising money for organizations that are, for the most part, non-profit.

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Response to tex-wyo-dem (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 04:46 PM

21. Money, so they say..

Is the root of all evil today.

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Response to tridim (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:03 PM

22. The LOVE of money is the root of all evil

1 Timothy 6:10

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Response to tex-wyo-dem (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:53 PM

25. I don't think it would be a bad idea

to contact all of these 'progressive' organizations and let them know you won't support them another minute until they stop outsourcing their canvassing to parasites like this. The more people that do this, the more likely those organizations are going to quickly change their minds about saving a buck at the risk of losing a bunch of donations. Threaten the twitter-verse if need be. Word travels too fast nowadays Many organizations are realizing this and they will act fast if there is any whisper of something going viral.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #25)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:51 AM

40. now that's not a bad idea.

such outsourced canvasing seems greatly wasteful, of non-profit money ('cuz they pay for the service), of idealistic labor, and of community goodwill. someone's benefitting, but it's no one that we should care about.

time to end something that should've been ended long ago.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:02 PM

23. WOW ... THANKS for bringing this information out.

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Response to Raine (Reply #23)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:43 PM

24. No problem! Best to save fellow progressive rabble-rousers from my pain...

At least now, I know which toxic organizations to avoid when looking for work...

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:02 PM

26. I did a two or three day stint with NYPIRG back in college...

It was everything you just described.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:09 PM

27. I did canvassing once. As soon as I saw your title I knew exactly what you were talking about.

It was for a big environmental group (won't say which one) but was outsourced to another group. First day they sent me to Chevy Chase (really nice area in Maryland) and I raised a lot of money. But because I was in training all of it was counted for my supervisor who got a nice commission that night.

Next night they drove me to another area in DC where several people warned me about recent muggings. I did not collect a single dime. I was fired.

Never received my paycheck in the mail.

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Response to Puregonzo1188 (Reply #27)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:18 PM

28. I would of sued.

 

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Response to ilovecolombia (Reply #28)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:04 PM

35. The cost of the lawyer would have been way more than my paycheck, which amounted to at most $60 or

$70.

At most.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:25 PM

29. Any org that accepts money from these sleezeballs is FUCKED.

I'm looking at you, Greenpeace.



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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:41 PM

32. Welcome to the wonderful world of PIRGs.

That's the problem with a lot of "progressive" organizations. They're not made for working people who need to pay the bills.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 09:45 PM

33. "It's all about the donor lists, and the money. They don't care about community-building."

Of course it is. It's not about anything else. That's what it's always been about, and will always be about. It's no different from other door-to-door sales.

Why do you think .01% of donations to charities that claim to fight starvation (for example) are actually used to fight starvation? It's so that they can continue to claim to be a charity and can rake in the big bucks for their own pockets, taking advantage of the fact that people want to help others. It's a business, basically, and this particular business sells the idea of making your community better by promoting progressive causes, while also making great sums of money in the process (which is mostly given to people that don't need any more money).

They don't care about you. If someone were to get killed going door to door, they would just look at it like a broken cog that needs to be replaced (and usually very quickly). These places are businesses that view the main purpose of their activities as to make money.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:10 PM

34. disappointing to say the least.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:42 AM

36. Money is the problem in the U.S. NOTHING, not even elections can run without it - LOTS of it

We need election reform - NOW!

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:45 AM

38. yeah, i know about them. visited twice the office at berkeley, ca.

heh, silly me. first time i refused, but the second time i thought it was a real job application (edit: granted there was like an 8 year difference between). called ahead of time, heard the name, was desperate enough to give it a chance, got there -- nah, it's still just the calling center sweatshop for canvassers.

when i was learning grant writing i asked why the hell do groups bother with this and mass mailers? apparently they work. they only need to work greater than 1% of the time or something, but they work enough that other 501c3 keep using their services.

if i was in a 501c3 my first task would be to clean up the (usual) mess of the regional office and make sure the rolodex is perpetually up to date. that'd save enough money and give a pool to build community action and funding that you'd think you could go without these stupid for-profit sweatshops. but whatever, business as usual, forever. it's the american way.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:53 AM

41. Years ago, IWW tried to organize Greenpeace workers in the Seattle area

This made a major stink, and raised a lot of awareness. I donate only to local organizations that do community building. I particularly avoid national environmental organizations.

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)


Response to Post removed (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 03:38 AM

43. Oh piss off.

I know the difference between a normal low-paying job where one's expected to work hard, and a situation where people are being abused.

We were being abused and exploited. You weren't there. You weren't hearing about coworkers getting guns waved in their faces, you didn't have those damned quotas looming over you, so if you don't have anything productive to say, do yourself a favor and shut it.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #43)


Response to Post removed (Reply #47)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:56 PM

52. PPR revoked. Buh-bye asshole. Go create another account...

or better yet, go back to Free Republic where you belong.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #43)


Response to Post removed (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 05:35 AM

45. I concur with the above... apparently you didn't rtfa

1.25-3.51 per hour?

At least waiters get tips. Several anti-organizing lawsuits against the company in 3 different states. Fired for not making quotas, paychecks not being delivered for weeks.

How about you stop telling "the Left" how to abuse its workers? And here's the obligatory: enjoy your stay.

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Response to Tunkamerica (Reply #45)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:53 AM

46. I did, in fact, RTFA

 

...and like so many other user written moanfests on DU this one gets a lot of symPATHETIC oohs and awws from the hand holders among us.
Being Liberal doesn't mean whining. It is no wonder the Right seizes upon this weakness and uses it against us. Buck up little campers and get ready to put some real effort into your lives.
Yikes...with ideas like we have on this end of the political spectrum we should have been able to motivate the kind of change we all desperately need in this country...but we haven't because every whiny little individual that has an tiny axe to grind never hesitates to eat their own. The one thing that the GOP and the RW has over us is their ability to hold it together. Look at them! They have no ideas and no candidate yet they have most of the money and they are neck and neck in the polls with the greatest sitting POTUS of our lifetimes! Fir crying out loud...stop bo hooing about some crappy job and get on your game face. You people are ridiculous.

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Response to LittleCharlie (Reply #46)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:55 PM

50. New Little Charlie

I'm going to put you on ignore rather then waste another minute reading anything from someone as nasty and impolite as you are. Great way to start out in a new online community. I personally hope the admins toss you out on your ass for being a jerk. You sound like one of Michael Grahams troglodyte callers.

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Response to Post removed (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:50 PM

49. Congrats on behaving like a jerk

The internet is a great place to sling anonymous insults.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #49)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:54 PM

51. Looks like he's already gone. Good riddance to this subhuman troll. n/t

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Response to backscatter712 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 01:26 AM

54. Alright, enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

I'm a canvass director at a non-profit that works on similar goals as many of these groups. I despise PIRG, I despise GCI, and any of their hydra-like organizations that stem from them. They are ruining the profession of canvassing and activism.

That being said:

We are A UNION shop. May be the only union canvass shop in the country, but I tell every person I hire about it, and the benefits of being in a union.

Our quota is 80 dollars a day, 50-60 dollars lower than the PIRGS or GCI. It's a stretch each day but it's do-able.

Pay is constant. You come in, you work, you get paid. There's a small commission aspect but I'm looking to git rid of it and either get higher wages or use that as "organizing time" where the canvassers are paid to help out with the other goals of the organization.Peo

I tell people in the interview and in orientation the exact demands of the job, and give it to them in writing. We do let people go if they can't hit the $80 in one night during their first three nights, but this is told to them up-front.

I'm really not in it to make tons of money for the organization- I make sure these guys know the issues in and out, get out to the protests and press conferences we hold, know our leadership staff, and read our name in the paper. I'm really here to train activists, not fund-raisers.

There is a high level of turn-over. It takes so many to get a set of workers who will actually be able to be consistent in their fund-raising. That being said, if someone doesn't seem like they can handle the job, I don't give it to them.

For fund-raising canvassing (rather than candidate, letter, phone-call, and other types) there is a HUGE racial gap. I've hired people from the inner-cities hoping I could train them to see the larger picture and learn to fight back; I had to fire them before I could ever get that far. Fund-raising canvassing favors white, upper to middle-class women over any other demographic. I've tried countless times to break this horrible fact within myself and within the field of canvassing to no avail. I'm white and I acknowledge my privileged background.

I spend 12 hours a day doing this job, like many of the other canvass directors. Biggest difference is that I'm PAID for it because of my bargaining unit and union benefits. I get good healthcare and time off to go work on union issues because my executive director has a rap sheet a mile long for civil disobedience.

We actually do things with our funds that have a LOCAL impact- Our advocates are up at the Capitol building every day. I bring the canvassers on tours of the capitol and make sure that they are at all the protests we do around the state- they can see what their efforts of door-knocking go to.

We are a registered 501 c4 non-profit with the state, not a for-profit entity. Any organization that just acts like non profit or turns their lists over to for-profit industries deserves a brick through their office window.

I do fire people for not making quota. It's part of the job. It fucking sucks and has brought me to tears before. However, I do tell each person I fire that this is NOT the only way to do activism and encourage them to seek out other organizations that do advocacy work. I encourage them to read their local newspapers and get active in their community or on campus and regularly invite them to our protests, press conferences, and other volunteer opportunities we have long after they've left the organization.

I make sure my canvassers have a working knowledge of state politics and the differences between different towns in the state that we operate in. I make sure they know that town X is facing issue X right now and mention how it might impact their night.

I school my canvassers in the basic concepts of community organizing as put forward by Saul Alinsky.

I make sure the neighborhoods we go to are mostly middle-class, middle-of-the-road communities. No wandering around seaside mansions asking clueless, scared white people for money or ducking dangerous individuals in the bad part of town.

I make sure that the police know where we are each day by sending them all of our canvasser's info, car description, and locations. I fight back with legal pressure if the police harass my canvassers.

I make sure my canvassers are visible to our other organizers, leadership, and allies in the progressive movement.

I make sure when the summer ends or someone leaves that they know the value of their job and thank them.

I train activists that fund-raise, not fund-raisers that are activists.




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Response to thepurpleknuckle (Reply #54)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:13 AM

55. You work for a far better organization than I did.

Did some searching around, best I could tell, Fair Share Alliance is yet another head of the the PIRG hydra.

Sounds like you actually treat people right, rather than chewing people up and spitting them out.

I'd happily join your union if fate brought me to your organization rather than a PIRG/GCI sweatshop.

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Response to thepurpleknuckle (Reply #54)

Thu May 9, 2013, 05:10 PM

56. Campaigning Corporations

Okay, so tell us which company you work for.

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Response to keetseel (Reply #56)

Thu May 9, 2013, 06:48 PM

57. Welcome to DU and a question, how did you find this old thread?

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Response to keetseel (Reply #56)

Thu May 9, 2013, 11:07 PM

58. Welcome to DU my friend!

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