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Recruiting volunteers with Craigslist

From our friendly neighborhood volunteer coordinator, Austin Petersen:

To supplement traditional recruitment through your local events, and to help with Ballot Access, I have been placing advertisements on the Web site Craigslist.org. Although it may not sound like a good place to look, you would be surprised at the return rate of people who reply to these ads. By writing highly charged political advertisements that cite specific issues that people care about in the subject lines, you can build your party by adding several new volunteers a week.

There are several things you need to know when attempting to recruit people on Craigslist. The first thing you need to know is where to place the advertisement on the site. Look for the major metropolitan areas in your state. If you have large cities, place the ads there first. Usually the response rate is greater for areas with a higher population density.

Next, you need to decide in which section to place the ad. If this is for a specific project or event, then you are technically posting what Craigslist calls a “gig.” On the left side of the site, there is a "POST TO CLASSIFIEDS" button. When you are there, you must click “I want to hire someone.” Then, go through the steps to post your ad in the appropriate section.  More than likely the "LABOR" section is appropriate, but you can make your best judgment based on your needs.

In the "COMMUNITY" section on the front page, there is a place to post ads directly under "Volunteers." If you are looking to just do general recruitment for a meeting or event to grow your party, try placing your ads here.

Technically Craigslist does not allow you to post your advertisements several times, even if it is in different states, or cities. So, the only way to accomplish this is to rearrange the wording of the advertisements. Typically, the first and last sentence of the ad, as well as the subject line, must be completely different. Have a look at some examples of advertisements placed for volunteers. Notice the middle section will be the same, but the beginning and end are different.

Subject: “Who is Dick Heller, and why is he trying to save D.C.?”

For the first time in 30 years, D.C. residents can finally legally defend themselves inside their homes. It's sad that the 2nd Amendment was taken away from us for so long.

This is Austin Petersen from the Libertarian National Committee. Dick Heller (the man that took on the D.C. ban against handguns and won) is running for a delegate position in the local D.C. government. D.C. residents are now needed IMMEDIATELY to help Heller gain ballot access, and it is crucial that we acquire enough volunteers to fill the slates. If you have been looking for more ways to get involved, this is a great way to begin. Never has the time been more perfect in our history for the Libertarians to unite and work together to make our voices heard. If Heller can take on a city and win a Supreme Court Case for our guaranteed 2nd Amendment rights, imagine what else he could do!

"Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins." – Sammy "The Bull" Gravano

Or this one:

Subject: Want lower gas prices? Put your energy into this!

Inflation is a big reason why gas prices are so high. Help us convince Congress to allow domestic drilling. How much longer can you afford to pay $4 a gallon of gas?

This is Austin Petersen from the Libertarian National Committee. I am writing today because I am in need of individuals who are dedicated to the cause of liberty, and are willing to work for it in their local areas. Volunteers are needed to gain ballot access in your area, and it is crucial that we acquire enough volunteers to fill the slates so that Libertarian candidates can run for office. If you have been looking for more ways to get involved, this is a great way to begin. Never has the time been more perfect in our history for the Libertarians to unite and work together to make our voices heard. Please respond to this ad if you are interested.

"Every American who drives an automobile knows that something needs to be done about the cost of energy in the United States. While Republicans are calling for more subsidies to oil companies and Democrats are seeking to micro-manage energy companies with more regulations and laws -- or to punish them by raising taxes on them -- Americans are left to watch helplessly as fuel prices go through the roof." - Bob Barr

By writing ads that speak directly on the issues we care about, you will receive a higher amount of responses. One of my most successful ads subject line has been, “Help us get out of the war in Iraq.” Many people respond asking what we are all about, and what they can do to help us. It’s very encouraging.

Don’t be daunted if you are not very Web savvy. This is actually a very easy task once you go through it once or twice. As this can seem like a more complicated process than it actually is, I would be glad to help anyone personally. I am always available to be reached at my office during normal business hours at (202) 333-0008 x232, or by email at austin.petersen@lp.org.

Let me know how it goes!