Anti-gun group plans to continue its activism in Maine

gunsThe campaign plan for the 2016 Maine gun ballot initiative, created by the Everytown for Gun Safety group funded by Michael Bloomberg, has been provided to me by a former Everytown staff member.

I know you will find the plan to be interesting as well as concerning. Here it is.

Maine Ballot Campaign Grassroots Field Plan

Voter Contact Phase


  • Executive Summary
  • Organizational Structure and Staffing
  • Volunteer Team Structure
  • Field Goal Metrics
  • Field Plan Tactics and Calendar
  • Budget

Executive Summary

Grassroots Team Role Within Campaign

Building a robust volunteer field operation during the petition-gathering stage was both politically advantageous strategically necessary to our general election campaign strategy. Maine’s volunteer base has grown from 23 volunteers in February 2015 to 613 in December. The volunteer base produced over 10,000 signatures collected during the campaigns initial phase. Equally as important the grassroots team provided geographic diversity in the signature collecting allowing the campaign to highlight a broad support throughout the entire state.

Maine has a long history and built-in infrastructure to support political campaigns through grassroots involvement.  While media and digital strategies will play a large part in the campaign Maine is uniquely situated to benefit from direct voter contact. A ballot campaign will not be won in Maine using media strategies alone. Organizationally, Maine’s grassroots organizing efforts will provide two crucial opportunities through its work, field testing a long form persuasion conversation voter contact model and development of best practices for effectively using a ballot campaign to grow chapter membership.

Maine’s small population and connected communities make it a great location to field test messaging in a cost effective manner. Field tested messages in a rural state will be beneficial to the organization beyond the 2016 efforts. Maine’s ballot campaign has proven thus far to be an effective tool to engage new supporters in the GVP movement. Maine’s grassroots field work can be utilized as a tactic to bring in new members into Moms Demand Action’s state-based team. It will be important to develop and refine blueprints outlining the most effective ways to use ballot campaigns to grow membership including developing skilled community leaders.

Legislative and electoral work in Maine will continue to be a priority post 2016 and this work will require a broad and network of grasstops and grassroots volunteers. The most effective way to increase reach within the state will be to pair a robust grassroots field operation with other campaign strategies assisting the creation of a multi-touch campaign (voters see us on television, read papers about the campaign in newspapers, and hear about the effort from from someone they know.)

Maine residents value their communities, which are often small and well-connected. It will be imperative that Maine voices are highlighted throughout the campaign as Mainers have repeatedly turned down referenda that have been labeled as “agendas from away.” Campaigns that are seen as Portland-centric also face steep challenges with rural Maine voters.  For MMDA to be successful in portraying the campaign as middle-of-the-road and commonsense, rural Maine voices will be key. We must be able to honestly state that MMDA is supported through out the state.

Consequently, the outcome goals of the volunteer field plan are:

Grassroots volunteer teams will lead voter contact efforts to engage likely Maine voters in long form conversations to test strategic messaging using phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.

Grassroots teams will work to add identified supporters and members in desperate locations and identification of grasstops for use in communication strategies

Establishing a format for moving newly engaged supporters into membership and providing skill development for local leaders with a clear pathway of transition from campaign to ongoing leadership

Targeted Volunteer Goals:

  • Volunteers will complete 100% of the persuasion and retention voter contacts for the campaign.
  • MMDA will engage 2000 volunteers, with 60 community leaders.

To fully accomplish these goals, we need a fully staffed field team of organizers starting March1st.

Staffing levels have been determined to allow for optimal volunteer growth and voter engagement levels. 

Organizational Structure and Culture  

To achieve the ambitious goals outlined in this plan, we will need to deploy a robust infrastructure supporting our organizers and volunteers in the field. The managerial level staff will consist of a Field Director, 3 Regional Field Directors and a Data Manager. A Survivor Engagement and Coalition Manager along with 10 Field Organizers will be deployed around the state. The Data Coordinator will The GOTV Director will be brought in during the final stages of the campaign.  

Our top priority as an organization will be to prepare and empower our volunteers and staff to take on a meaningful role in our strategic plan. We will be driven by data and measureable goals. Innovation will be encouraged, and extraordinary performance incentivized. We will be professional, disciplined and flexible, with a pervasive culture of excellence. We will celebrate our collective achievements and the contributions of our staff and volunteers.

Volunteer teams will be supported through the grassroots field infrastructure while simultaneously a paid field component will play a role in the field plan. The paid field team will strictly focus on voter ratings and complete 50% of GOTV goals. This division will allow the paid field team to generate the high volume of voter ids needed in preparation for the GOTV program.

Goals and metrics for all voter contract (persuasion, retention, gotv) will be determined based on Maine voter modeling.  This will be completed in January and February.


Phase Dates Description
Phase 1: Planning & Staffing January 1- March 15 Program planning & development, staff recruitment and hiring, infrastructure development
Phase 2: Organization Building & Direct Voter Contact March 15–

September 15

Staff training & development, organization building and testing, voter contact,
Phase 3:  Absentee ballot and voter retention program   September 15 – October 21 Absentee chase program implementation, GOTV transition, Campus organizing
Phase 4: GOTV October 21 – November 8 Fully coordinated GOTV implementation, absentee chase program, election protection programs       

Staffing Chart

Role Onboard Location
Field Director January Statewide
Regional Field Director- Southern Maine January Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc
Volunteer Recruitment

Organizer- Southern Maine

January Cumberland, Sagadahoc,


Data Management Organizer – Southern Maine February Cumberland, Sagadahoc, York
Voter Contact Organizer- Southern Maine February Cumberland
Voter Contact Organizer- Southern Maine February York, Sagadahoc
Northern Maine Regional Field Director January Penobscot,
Volunteer Recruitment

Organizer- Southern Maine

January Penobscot
Data Management Organizer – Northern Maine February




Coastal Maine Regional Field Director January Hancock, Waldo, Knox,
Voter Contact- Coastal Maine February Hancock, Waldo, Knox,


Central Maine Field Organizer February Kennebec, Androscoggin


Rural Maine Organizer January Washington, Aroostook, Oxford, Franklin
Campus Organizer February UMO, Bates, Colby, USM, Bowdoin
Survivor outreach and coalition manager March Statewide


GOTV Director September Statewide
Vacation Volunteer Coordinator May Statewide (part time position)


Data Coordinator February Statewide


Staff Role Descriptions

Field Director

The primary role of the Field Director is to develop and drive the field plan. She hires, trains, manages and provides guidance to staff in the field. She is charged with measuring the program, and calibrating strategies by gauging the effectiveness of organizing in each region. She advises the Campaign Manager and Steering Committee. She reports directly to the Campaign Manager.  

Regional Field Directors

Regional Field Directors (RFD) play a significant role in the campaign management team. Each will supervise a team of organizers deployed across the state. The Deputies will be present in field offices, providing support, conducting assessments, and delivering ongoing training. They will be involved in program and training development, and may serve as political contacts in the field. Regional Field Directors report directly to the Field Director.

Field Organizers

Field Organizers (FO) recruit, develop, train and manage volunteer teams in the field. Organizers are responsible for meeting weekly, monthly, cumulative campaign goals and for data integrity within their assigned turf. They will provide ongoing support and accountability to their Organizing Teams, guiding the development of a campaign plan for each team, including direct voter contact goals, a training plan, meeting and event schedules. Organizers are expected to be creative, adaptable, ambitious, detail-oriented and diligent. Field Organizers will take on specific areas of focus and will work in both geographic teams and statewide focus area teams.

  • Voter Contact Organizers- 3 positions with a heavy emphasis in population bases in the state, will manage and train teams for persuasion/retention phone banks and canvasses.
  • Data Organizer- 1 position in both metro hubs, will manager office volunteers and volunteer confirmation programs
  • Volunteer Recruitment Organizers- 2 positions to be focused in Portland and Bangor where the largest volume of volunteers will be generated.
  • Rural organizer- 1 position to focus on the unique challenges to completing campaign tactics in rural communities
  • Campus organizer- 1 position to focus on development of college local groups on campuses, 2 part time paid internship positions will also be included in campus outreach work.

Field Organizers report directly to a Regional Field Director.

Survivor outreach and coalition manager

The Survivor Outreach and Coalition Manager will support the efforts of the campaign to include survivor voices in all appropriate tactics. Additionally this person will orchestrate outreach to grow the coalition and campaign endorsers. Engaging these organizations and people in strategic campaign efforts.

Vacation Volunteer Coordinator

Maine is uniquely positioned as a wonderful location to run a vacation volunteer program. This position will be part time and will begin in May. This person will be responsible development of and execution of a program in which volunteers come into the state to volunteer for set periods of time. Development of the training program for participants along with coordination of their community housing and assignments to a general area will be part of the responsibilities of this position.

GOTV Director

The GOTV Director will be the lead planner for Coordinated GOTV operations in Maine. She or he will be responsible for writing a plan to organize our combined resources to achieve strategic goals for the final phase of the campaign as developed by the Campaign Manager and Field Director in coordination with coalition partners. The GOTV Director will develop systems for materials production and deployment, and logistics and data tracking. He or she reports directly to the Field director.

Data Coordinator

The high volume of data generated through the voter contact work the position will be imperative to the campaign.  The Data Coordinator will maintain the integrity of the field data working closely with the digital team.

Field Staff Flow Chart

Staff Training

The main goals for staff training are:

  • Ensure that all of our staff receive the same, high-quality, practical training and orientation to our strategic vision and basic skills
  • Prepare our staff to be excellent trainers and coaches in the field and experts on the programs and strategies we implement
  • Provide consistent advanced training on a regular basis on topics like message, team management, and political outreach as our staff grows and develops over time


Major Training Events (all dates tentative)

February 29:  Welcome to the Team Training

This is a large scale staff training, focused on basic organizing and technology skills.  

September:       Transition Training (regional)

A series of regional trainings will meet the organizers in the field, inviting volunteer team members to participate as part of our campaign team. This will address the pitfalls and challenges of organizing, address upcoming program and strategy shifts, and prepare for the early stages of GOTV.


October 9-10: GOTV Training

This coordinated training will be developed with staff from all campaigns, addressing specific strategies and skills that we will need to employ during our final push.    

Volunteer Teams

Team building will be the primary tool that we use to increase voter contact in Maine. Our volunteers will be empowered to take initiative, plan to meet vote goals, and conduct training for other volunteers. Team leaders will be in close contact with staff and be the primary producers of volunteer and voter contact data, voter registrations, and absentee ballot requests.  

Volunteer Team Culture

Identifying, Recruiting, and Developing Leadership: We build relationships with potential collaborators to explore values, learn about resources, discern common purpose, and find others with whom leadership responsibility can be shared.

Building Community: Leaders, in turn, continually reach out to others, form relationships with them, expand the circle of support, grow more resources that they can organize, and recruit people who, in turn, can become leaders themselves.

Turning Community Resources into Power: Relationship building doesn’t end when action starts. Commitment is one of your greatest resources in organizing, particularly when your campaign starts to come up against competition, internal conflict, or external obstacles. Commitment is developed and sustained through relationships, which must be constantly, intentionally nurtured. The more volunteers or members find purpose in the intentional community you are building, the more they will commit resources that you may never have known they had.

Local Team Leadership Roles

Community Coordinator: Oversees designated region such as a local group or a whole county- brings team members together for meetings and coordination for each focus area. Communicates regularly with assigned RO

Events Coordinator: Coordinates community events, house parties, tabling events and manages volunteers who help recruit for and host events.

Voter Contact Coordinator: Organizes events such canvasses and phonebanks, may also include training volunteers to have conversations with friends and family or other locally developed projects for voter contact (I.E. newspaper support statements)

Data Coordinator: manages volunteers completing VAN data entry for entering new supporters, managing volunteer event data and oversees confirmation call team

Local Team Structure

Campaign Office Leadership Roles

Volunteer Recruitment Team IPVR Coordinator:

Volunteer~High Five Buddy~Trainer

Volunteer Recruitment Phonebank Coordinator:  Volunteer~High Five Buddy~Coach~Trainer

Voter Contact Team- Persuasion, Retention, GOTV

Door Canvass and Phone Banks Coordinator

Volunteer~High Five Buddy~Coach~Pod Leader~ Trainer

Data Management Team

VAN Lead

Data Entry Volunteer~VAN L1 volunteer~ VAN L2 volunteer~Van L3 volunteer~Trainer

Office Manager

Office Volunteer~ Greeter~Materials Manager

Confirmation Call Team Coordinator

Confirm Caller~Trainer


Progressive VAN trainings will be developed providing 3 competency based certification levels.

High Five Buddies- will provide an entry level for new leaders, organizationally they help to provide feedback to new volunteers while fostering team collaboration.  Coaches will complete formal trainings for providing feedback to volunteers Trainers will complete a Train the Trainer Training

Campaign Office Leadership Ladder

Additional Leadership Roles

Media TeamSocial Media ManagerFacebook Coordinator

Twitter Coordinator

RSVP Link Coordinator

Earned Media Coordinator

Rapid Response Press Team

Letter to the Editor Coordinator

Volunteer Field Goals with Metrics

Goal 1- Volunteers will complete 100% of voter persuasion contacts testing a minimum of 5 messages. 

Paid Canvass: Voter Id’s and GOTV

Volunteer focus: Long form persuasion voter contacts

Field Tactics:

  • Rural Organizing Project
  • Tabling events
  • Organized Voter Contact Canvass
  • Primary Election day- Day of Action
  • Voter Contact Phonebanks
  • Community meetings/ House Parties

Goal 2- Adding geographic diversity and identification of grasstops for use in communication strategies

Volunteers will engage in activities that will serve to support the campaigns communications goals by including messaging training components in all aspects of volunteer development.  The field campaign will remain flexible to adjust locations or tactics to benefit Everytowns electoral priorities, as they are determined.

Field Tactics:

  • Rural Organizing Project
  • Tabling events
  • Election day- Day of Action
  • Collection of Maine Ballot campaign support post cards
  • Letter to the Editor campaign
  • Community meetings

Goal 3 – Establishing a format for moving newly engaged supporters into membership and providing skill development for local leaders with a clear pathway of transition from campaign to ongoing leadership

Volunteer leadership roles have been developed to line up with chapter membership leadership roles. Movement leadership development will be integrated consistently through out each phase of the campaign. Developing natural community leaders through skill building and reinforced through a leadership structure that encourages local responsibility.

Field Tactics:

  • Leadership trainings
  • Relational Commitment based leadership infrastructure

Growth and Capacity Metrics: to be determined in conjunction with voter modeling 

Category February & March April & May June-August September & October
Voter Contacts

Postcards collected

Unique Active Volunteers- completed an action with campaign
Volunteer Shifts completed
Leadership volunteer roles filed



Growth rates:


Field Tactics Calendar

Throughout the campaign field will tactics will run in a cycle of recruitment/build power, Action/use power and assessment while keeping a steady beat for our supporters. Building power phases will be in growing teams through identifying new supports and volunteers. Action phases will come with created urgency to move volunteers into a direct action. Following each action healthy campaigns allow for some recovery and assessment time.



  • Modeling
  • Signature turn in event
  • Volunteer Leadership Training
  • Mayor Outreach


  • Staff training
  • Building out voter contact goals
  • Base building activities
  • Mayor Outreach


  • Volunteer Voter Contact begins
  • City Council Resolutions
  • Campaign Endorsement outreach


  • Voter Contact doors begins
  • Campaign Endorsement outreach


  • Voter Contact
  • Campaign Endorsement outreach
  • Community events
  • Volunteer vacation program begins


  • Voter Contact
  • Community events
  • Volunteer vacation program begins
  • Summer intern


  • Voter Contact
  • Community events – July 4th parades
  • Volunteer vacation program begins
  • Summer Intern



  • Voter Contact
  • Community events –  Volunteer vacation program
  • Summer Intern


  • Voter Contact
  • Community events- Common Ground Fair
  • Volunteer vacation program
  • Fall Intern


  • Voter Contact
  • Community events
  • Volunteer vacation program
  • Early Voting begins
  • Fall intern
  • GOTV Training


  • GOTV
George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.