By Kathy Krauskopf
Now that spring is in full bloom, events are taking place across the state that attract huge crowds. VNP volunteers capitalize on these events to circulate petitions and hit our signature collection goals. Royal Oak in Bloom is an annual event with a huge following of people and families who attend year after year. Held in public parking lots in downtown Royal Oak, it’s the perfect venue for circulating. And with some extra planning, a little teamwork, and a lot of luck from Mother Nature, it can be a blooming success for signature gathering!
Royal Oak in Bloom is one-day only, with a limited time frame from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm. It draws large crowds arriving early and continuously throughout the day. The event is outdoors, wide-open and accessible from all four surrounding streets. Because it is so large and heavily attended, it’s also a great opportunity for multiple circulators to work together.
But shifting an event is tricky. It depends on several factors, like the number of attendees and the length of the event. I don’t always get it right. It’s trial and error. I often shift capacity at the upper end to make sure we have enough people working the event. Sometimes I adjust the number of circulators to account for the flow of people throughout the event. For this event, I created three 2-hour shifts, and one 1-hour shift. I set the capacity to four circulators to cover the four main access points off the street corners. I did not work to fill the shifts, but did keep an eye on the sign-ups, and took a list of circulators with me to the event.
We got lucky with a beautiful sun-shiny day, cold in the morning but quickly warming up, which brought out the crowds. There were only a few other circulators with other ballot initiatives; we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Karen and Robert A., and Steve T. were at the event and collecting signatures when I arrived at 7:00am. I talked with them, and I realized then that we were going to be very busy.
Traffic was constant, and people were generally receptive. Chris A. came by around 8:00am to drop off petitions, and stayed to collect signatures. By then, there were enough people walking by that Chris and I were collecting signatures while working a few feet apart!
We had so many people stopping and signing, I didn’t want to leave, but I had to go. Katie S. took over our corner at 9am. On the way out, I talked with two other volunteers and at that point, I realized even more circulators were needed.
I called volunteer leaders from neighboring areas, who got the word out to their teams. Three more people, including VNP Deputy Director Jamie Lyons-Eddy and her husband Chris, came to take the last shift and were still collecting signatures throughout the day.
In the end, our 13 volunteers worked for 7-hours and collected over 450 signatures!
The deadline for signatures is fast approaching. If you have an idea for an event, contact your Field Team Leader right away!