Really flexible and amazing people
Long-hours and hard to find times that work
I worked at Work for Progress full-time (Less than a year)
Excellent Training program. Great way to build organizing experience and leadership. Many wonderful, passionate, hard working people.
The "model" runs everything. Management/senior staff prioritize numbers and expediency over people. I was hired to help direct a canvassing office, and was shocked on the first day to find out that senior organizers firmly endorsed sending out canvassers, including young girls (as long as they were 18 or older) out to canvass ALONE in the dark in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Mind you, by the time I left staff, the sun went down at 6:45, but the canvassing shift ends at 9pm. When I and other directors in training expressed concern about safety issues concerning this, our concerns were blatantly shot down and ignored because they went against the expediency and effectiveness of their canvassing model. Moreover, during our training, one of the directors got hurt because she couldn't see the driveways and sidewalks in the dark. We were assured that flashlights would be supplied, but they weren't until at least a month later.
Second point about safety: the office I directed in operated in a CO area that was highly conservative with white supremacist roots and a lot of homelessness and joblessness. Moreover, it was not a densely populated urban area like Denver, which would be highly lit with streetlamps and activity; it got dark immediately. Throughout the course of our campaign, not one but FOUR of our canvassers had guns pulled on them at the door, including one of the directors-most during the later half of the evening. When I asked my supervisor about shifting the canvassing hours to earlier, so that we might preserve the SAFETY of our canvassers, she refused, as well as telling me that if people of color don't feel comfortable canvassing with us for fear of their safety, then this job is not for them, and that there was nothing she or anyone could do about it. The reasoning I was given for this was that there was no evidence based on canvassing success and rates to move the hours earlier-or in other words, numbers over people.
Final point: I was given extremely high recruitment goals for the fall campaign and was pushed to exceed those by my Canvass director and the same supervisor above, and then a month later told that we did not have enough neighborhoods and doors to knock on to continue to send out all of those people I had just recruited. Their solution? Lay off the unneeded staff, move one of the three directors, and fire one director (me). I was given no reason for their decision other than "it's not a good fit" though I asked them for the exact reasons for the dismissal. Major targeting team oversight. Needless to say, anyone who is not upper-level staff is completely disposable.
This organization values numbers, politics, and results over the safety, experience, and wages of their staff.
And finally, everything in the other reviews about the wages is true. Directors are expected to work 90-100 hours a week, with no day off, and host after work "socials" at 10pm almost every day. The lowest level staff, the canvassers, are paid anywhere from $10-16 an hour-nearly twice as much, if not more than the directors are paid hourly, because the directors are salaried staff.
And finally, directors are encouraged to let people go if they don't meet the daily canvassing standards, even if the neighborhoods are extremely spread out, poorly lit, difficult terrain, crossing highways, or hidden with conservative gun-touting residents. Regardless of age, fitness, education, etc. everyone is expected to meet the same standard. The "model" does not account for individual variance, or even local context.
This organization is a poor excuse for progressive ideals; it operates more like a chinese sweatshop than a paragon of democratic ideals. Avoid at all costs if you're actually interested in human decency.
Advice to Management
Pay your directors a living wage. Treat your employees like human beings; practice what you preach. What good is it to fight for democratic candidates and democratic ideals if you can't follow them within your own organization? Anyone who is silent on the matter, or just dismisses the tactics I outlined above in favor of "the numbers" and getting the work done, is endorsing the hypocrisy and indecency of this model, its organization, and its decision makers. If you're reading this now and currently employed by Work for Progress, you have a moral obligation to speak on behalf of your own living standards and those of the people you may employ. Silence is deadly.
I have been working at Work for Progress full-time (More than a year)
Overall, its an exciting-and seems pretty effective-election nonprofit. Work for progress seems to have a track record of elections and runs a pretty big /impressive program.
good training-learned a lot about elections/political campaigns
people obviously care a lot about what they're doing, which i liked; they're great to work with
have to be flexible.
hard work. long hours
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I have been working at Work for Progress full-time
Working with lots of awesome, passionate people.
Getting to work on election and have an impact on important outcomes.
Learning campaign skills
You gotta work a lot on the election project -- but it's an election!
I worked at Work for Progress (Less than a year)
People were all nice
Hourly rates get better the closer you get to election season
You generally get out the effort that you put in
Reimburse you for travel expenses if you are a driver
Canvassing can generally be a demoralizing experience
Lots of downtime that is technically not counted as part of your workday--you do not get paid for time driving to and from a canvassing location, or time spent at meetings before you go out. If you have an 8-hour shift, you might get paid for 5.5 hours of it.
Advice to Management
Do a better job cultivating employees--most of the "management" I got was obviously rote pieces of encouragement or advice by overworked college kids who were operating on about 2 hours' sleep. Take better care of yourselves, and your employees.
I have been working at Work for Progress part-time
You really feel like you're having a big impact on the issues you're working on, and you can take on a lot of responsibility pretty quickly. Fun coworkers!
You'll know this going in, but the work is hard and the hours can be long around elections.
Meet new people. You get to skip leg day. The people are genuine. And they honestly seam to care about us
Didn't get paid for mandatory training, complain about hitting goals they don't tell you. Management is a bunch of frankly rude people. Feels like we're being used for nothing important. They treat you poorly if you miss the goals tbey don't tell you on the first day
I worked at Work for Progress (Less than a year)
If you want to work for them, I suggest going for a field manager position. They pay you hourly and don't want to pay overtime so you will only be working 40 hours a week.
Training is pretty useful.
I was hired with 8 other people. We were all told before arriving in Denver that we would be working "up to 70 hours". Within the first two days, we all independently calculated that we'd be working 105 hours a week. Since it's a salary position, they pay you the same amount for 70 hours as they would for 105. We were misled. The deception led one girl to quit on the 3rd day, 2 people to quit the 5th day (including myself), another person to quit the 7th day...and I think they're still dropping like flies.
They tell you the position is a Director position ... It's an Assistant Director position. Again, misled.
They are a part of Fair Share Action (all of these are branches under the Fund for the Public Interest). And the hypocrisy is that Fair Share Action advocates for Fair pay but they wind up paying you $4.86 an hour ... Because they expect you to work 7 days a week (except in August it's only 6) and 14 hours per weekend and 12 hours on the weekend. If you're looking at that thinking, those are long days you are not alone ... And I must warn you that they also expect you to have socials/ hangouts every night with your team to promote bonding. This adds another hour to your day.
You feel dispensable. They recruit a lot because there is a lot of turnover. If they treated their employees respectfully and fairly, they would hold on to more people and be more productive by actually getting work done than by replacing everyone.
So as I said in Pros, training is useful. And they actually pay for your lodging if you so choose during training ... The catch is that, to save money, they squish you in a hotel room with one to three other people. Many of us were uncomfortable sharing a bed with a stranger the first few nights. A girl in my room actually volunteered to sleep on the floor and did, though we told her she could obviously share a bed with one of us. Additionally, they put you in a hotel that the head of Fair Share Action, who spoke to us one day, said "(they actually do that to people still?)"...because it is that sketchy, rundown, and gross.
Advice to Management
Beginning a job in which recruiters misled "Directors" by saying the job only called for "up to 70 hours" and was named "Directors" when we are expected to work 105 hours and we're Assistant Directors (which is not as impressive on a resume) is a bad way to begin. It sets the tone for the job. Do they disrespect me? Have they lied about other things? Yes, I found within the first week of being there.
You take young people who are excited and anxious to make a difference in the world and take advantage of them.
You work for Fair Share Action, who advocates fair pay and yet you would pay us $4.86 an hour...in training, you showed us how to recruit and make pay look as appealing as possible. Well you did that with us ... 25,000 a year. $4.86 an hour. Yea, you're right, no one in their right mind would take a job that actually presented it truthfully and said $4.86 an hour. But maybe something is wrong with how you run this program and how you pay people if you have to be that deceptive.
My biggest frustration with this organization is that I was so excited and ready to work on the election, and if you actually treated us with respect I would still be there, fighting with you. The four of us who quit would still be there. Why does one Director have to work 14 hours a day? Why can't one open the office, overlap with the afternoon director by an hour or two or even three?...I'll give you three.
Additionally, when I said I couldn't work that much for that little but still wanted to be part of this, they wouldn't let me switch to a Field Manager position. Probably because everyone would. You work reasonable hours and you make more than a Director who is working more than twice the hours you are.
You have high turnover because you don't respect and invest in the people you recruit...which is why every day Directors have to spend large chunks of their days recruiting. Maybe if you chose reliable, hard-working people and then actually treated & paid them well, you would have more time to focus on the elections and canvassing and maybe you'd work less than 100 hours a week.
It's not hard-just read the first few lines on Fair Share Action's website :
"We have a multi-issue agenda that includes ...ensuring that all Americans have access to good quality, well-paying jobs."
If you can't actually fulfill that to YOUR employees, how in hell do you expect to make that happen in the country in general?!
I worked at Work for Progress part-time (Less than a year)
Meet new people each week because of the high turnover
Get great skills by canvassing
Upper management will pressure you into putting more hours in.
Employees here are smart, energetic, passionate and hard-working. It's exciting to work in an environment where we're always in full-throttle mode and have new, bigger goals.
Very very long hours, combined with low pay (even in the non-profit scale) can make it a hard place to work without burning out.
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