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Have Questions about Organizing? Ask Julia Rabkin

Posted on October 20, 2021

Swing Blue Alliance volunteer Julia Rabkin may have started slowly — an afternoon here, a few postcards there — but these days she’s a critical go-to contributor in our Freedom to Vote legislation campaign. 

Ever understated, Rabkin modestly describes herself as a “generally helpful person when postcard hosts have questions.” But she is much more than that.

A Helpful Coach for Postcard Hosts

Like a handywoman whose motto is “no job too small,” Rabkin is a one-stop shop for postcard hosts — and individual postcard writers. How many postcard packs should I order? Ask Julia. Where is the postcard pickup location? Ask Julia. How does Mobilize work? Ask Julia. In fact, some refer to her as SBA’s “Mobilize Maven!”

Coach, trainer, mentor, troubleshooter: Rabkin is the SBA point person for all customer service issues for our postcard efforts. It’s really a natural extension of her work in 2020. During the runup to the election, Rabkin’s main job was Zoom coaching volunteers on how to run virtual postcard events. She still works via Zoom, although now she’s added email and phone calls to the mix. Another change is where the postcard hosts and volunteers reside. Since SBA has expanded beyond Massachusetts, Rabkin is coaching and talking with volunteers across the country — which she really enjoys. 

What hasn’t changed is the variability of the workload. She might conduct six Zooms in a day or six in a week. She’ll receive a barrage of emails and calls when a newsletter with a postcard signup goes out to SBA members and then maybe have a week without any volunteer requests. 

Whenever duty calls, Rabkin is always ready and happy to be of service.

“Mostly, I field a lot of questions about process and procedures,” said Rabkin. “But I’ve also educated myself on the ins and outs of the Freedom to Vote act so that I can help hosts and volunteers understand how critical this effort is.” 

Top Priorities: Voting Rights and the 2022 Midterms

“Some people say that Freedom to Vote is the most important piece of legislation in our lifetime,” she continued. “I’m really glad to do whatever I can to help our volunteers encourage voters to contact their senators and urge their support.”

Postcarding for the Freedom to Vote legislation is likely to continue through the end of October, or whenever the bill comes up for a vote. And what does Rabkin look forward to after that?

“I don’t know yet what campaigns SBA will be supporting in the 2022 midterms, but I imagine we’ll select a few states where we have good local connections, and can add value and measure results,” she said. “I haven’t done any in-person SBA work so far, and I’d really like to help with voter registration on the ground somewhere.”

Please Reach Out!

If you’re even just a little bit curious about hosting postcard events, reach out to Rabkin. “I wish I were busier right now with coaching opportunities,” she says. “During the run up to the general election and then to the GA election, I was really busy.  Now — despite the critical importance of the fight for voting rights — there’s not as much postcard activity as SBA might wish.  Of course, some hosts are very experienced and don’t need my help, but it would be great to bring some new ones into the mix!”

Learn more about becoming a Swing Blue organizer

Marilyn Hirsch is a freelance copy and editorial writer based in MetroWest Boston.