Public Resource
Behind the scenes of Sunrise’s volunteer-led phone bank program
Sophia Zaia and Randall Smith, Sunrise Movement and PowerLabs
In the spring of 2020, Sunrise Movement had a goal of making 300,000 phonebank calls on six congressional primary races. Sunrise decided to create volunteer teams to manage other volunteers, liaise with campaigns, set goals, and develop strategy. The volunteer leaders of these teams took on a level of responsibility and autonomy typically reserved for staff. The team members took responsibility for setting goals, creating strategy and tactics, liaising with campaigns, and managing the work of thousands of other volunteers. The choice to invest in volunteer teams instead of staff results in increased strategic capacity, increased investment in outcomes, and builds the power of our movement long term. The practices above and the success of the team were supported by a team culture of autonomy and experimentation, consistent and clear communication, celebration of each other’s contributions, and a commitment to making time to have fun together.