As reported last time I was doing volunteer work with centrist political organization No Labels, and was about to join the political fray in the United States. Didn't happen.
Oh, I did as I was asked and downloaded the texting tool they had discussed in the conference call which sold me on the notion of helping. I was eager to give it a try but slightly apprehensive, too. I was exiting my comfort zone. I had never ever just started talking politics to a person on the street. Even though this was to be via texting, which would mediate the interaction, the possibility of touching on sensitive issues seemed quite real. I went into my office, figuratively closed the door ( doorless office ), took a deep breath, and opened the texting tool ( called, perhaps appropriately, Hustle ). I got a straightforward message, loosely translated as, "You have no marching orders; see your organization's Hustle administrator."
|Figure 1 - Hustle Screen|
Being technically inclined, I gathered this meant that No Labels had added neither targeted phone numbers nor text to send to those phone numbers to my specific Hustle tool. ( Back in my comfort zone, I admit a breathed a small sigh of relief … "Ah, a reprieve." ) I sent a text message asking for help back to the person ( phone number? ) that had texted me the instructions for downloading the tool.
A day or so went by, and I had heard nothing. I sent another text, this one to the other person who texted me after I signed up. This time I included a screen shot ( Figure 1 ) of the message I was getting.
Another day or so went by, and I still heard nothing. Though out of my comfort zone, I was eager to start, aware that the election was fast approaching and annoyed at what seemed like incompetence. I sent an email to the one person with whom I had previously corresponded, and who was touted as the 'go to guy' for issues of all sorts. No response.
Eventually I got a "thanks for your great help" e-mail, sent to all people who had volunteered to send text messages.
The next day I got two emails from the "go to guy" to whom I had emailed for help; the first said he was "looping in my colleague" who could help with texting issues without actually looping him in and the second one said the same thing and did so. I have still gotten no meaningful response about the texting problem.
Rep Lipinski won the primary by a narrow 2,000 votes out of approximately 90,000 votes cast. The campaigning of No Labels certainly made some difference, and some political writers are beginning to note that. I would like to have participated and have a sense that I might have made a difference. But I was on the sidelines ( again ).
Nobody is perfect; everybody makes mistakes. It discourages me that this organization, in whom I've placed a fair amount of my hope for a viable political future for our Democracy, failed to both provide what I needed to do the work for which I volunteered and to even notice that it failed to do so.
I am discouraged, yes. I am angry, yes. Will I volunteer for No Labels again? I intend to write one more email to provide feedback about my experience and how I feel about that experience. Time will tell whether I volunteer again; a lot depends on their response to my feedback.
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