You know how etiquette books say to never discuss politics at the dinner table? Well, if you love a good political discussion and need an outlet — or if you just want a way to earn money working from home — consider working for one of two grassroots advocacy groups that offer work-from-home opportunities.
Next Wave Advocacy, LLC, and DDC Advocacy both have “@home” operations. These advocacy groups run grassroots political campaigns on issues such as healthcare, energy, defense and taxes. They hire people (which is where you would come in) to call constituents or advocates, folks who might be interested in the issue at hand. Your job is to help those people communicate their opinions by writing letters on their behalf to Members of Congress.
Of course, people can always write to a senator or congressperson on their own, but most people don’t. That’s what Next Wave and DDC have figured out, and where your earning opportunity begins.
What Does the Job Involve?
If you work for either NextWave@Home or DDC’s OnPoint@Home, both bipartisan companies, you’ll be assigned to a particular campaign. Your job is to study the issue and understand which side the client represents. Clients vary, as do the campaigns; for example, your client could be a lobbying group or a special interest group. After studying the issue and learning who you would be representing, you have the chance to accept or turn down the campaign. So if you prefer to only work on campaigns that jive with your personal views, you can.
Once you’re on the campaign, you’ll receive a list of potential advocates to call — people who have already indicated their interest in the topic at hand, or groups who would likely be interested in the issue, like trade associations, corporations or doctors’ offices. The fact that individuals have already expressed their interest in the issue makes this different from a telemarketing job — you’re not cold calling.
When you call someone, you’ll talk to them about their reasons for wanting or not wanting legislation passed (or whatever the call to action might be). There’s no pre-written script, so you’ll have unique conversations with each person. Then you’ll use that information to draft a letter on the person’s behalf.
After you write the letter, the person receives a copy and either approves or rejects it. If it’s approved, the advocacy company you work with sends the letter out to the applicable Member of Congress.
How Much Can You Make?
Several years ago, as a stay-at-home mom, I did this work to earn extra money. Both companies like you to work 20 to 25 hours a week during a project, but some people work full-time hours. Campaigns usually last from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on what the political issue is. Once you complete a campaign, you’ll likely be offered more. Some campaigns require calling during regular business hours, and some have night and weekend work available.
Pay varies, and rates can be hourly or per-project. You should earn about $12 to $15 an hour or more. You must have Internet connectivity and a computer workstation that meets the requirements to integrate with the companies’ systems. Both companies list the specific technical requirements on their websites: NextWave technical requirements and OnPoint technical requirements. Unfortunately, neither company is set up to work with Macs.
No Special Skills Required
You don’t need any special skills or training for either company. For OnPoint, you need to be a good communicator who can discuss often-complex issues with the people you call. You must be a good listener, so you can accurately communicate constituents’ thoughts. Finally, you must be a good writer who can put those thoughts on paper.
NextWave divides the job: you could be a caller or a writer. Writers for NextWave make no calls themselves. They listen to recorded conversations and draft letters that way.
You don’t need to be Hemingway, but you do need to be able to write a letter (unless you are only a caller with NextWave). The company I worked with asked me to edit letters, so there are people to clean up writing roughness. But it doesn’t hurt to brush up on basic letter-writing skills before you apply.
If you’re the type who enjoys striking up a conversation with strangers, this job could be a perfect fit for you. Just be prepared to hear some strong opinions.
Your Turn: Would you try helping others express their political opinions?
Laura Agadoni has a background in credit union marketing. Her articles appear in various financial publications such as The Houston Chronicle’s small business section, The Motley Fool, Yahoo! Finance, San Francisco Gate’s real estate section, Zacks, Arizona Central’s small business section and InsuranceQuote.com. Follow her on Twitter @LauraAgadoni.