Not to be negative but, newsflash...winning a political race isn’t possible for everyone!
What is possible is that you give yourself the best chance. It’s like the Olympics, there is only one first place in many races, but getting there can be an achievement in itself. So how are you meant to prepare, what can give and your team the edge?
We have worked with thousands of campaigns over the last number of years, from all around the world. People campaign differently in every country and there is something to be learned during each political race. We have compiled a list of 8 Tips to help give you a fighting chance in any political race.
1. Vote Goal
Yeah, let’s start with the basics! Calculating how many votes you need to win your election is where everyone should start. If you are in a multi-candidate race you will need to take that into consideration and know that your goal may be less than 50% of the votes cast.
We went through the specifics over on our Campaign Blueprint page, click here to find out exactly how many votes you need.
2. Connect with voters by telling YOUR story
Politics has always been personality first, policy second. We need candidates who aren’t afraid to step up and share who they are with the voters. Ocasio Cortez blended her background story with why she wants to be part of the change in US politics today. On the other side of the political divide, Republic Dan Crenshaw lost sight in his eye while he was serving in Afghanistan back in 2012. It is this kind of story why he became the politician is he today and why he appeals to a certain segment of the US electorate.
Many voters won't be interested in turning out to vote unless they are invested in the character of a candidate. It's shallow, it's reality. If we can't feel connected with our representative, we won't feel obligated to vote for them.
3.Strategic campaign team hires
According to the candidates that we spoke to in 2018 and early 2019, they all wished they would have hired a Field director sooner because they knew that serious investment in a field campaign would win more votes compared to anything else. Person to person contact and a solid canvassing strategy are deemed the most impactful things you can do dying a campaign.
So think strategic, think field operatives.
4. Manage your budget
As part of good campaign organization, we always like to explore where money will be spent, it helps when trying to factor in where your money will be coming from and where it will be going. Simple cash flow will help you begin this process.
Things like application fees need to be considered, promotional materials, fuel costs, office rent, staff wages, expenses, catering costs for events, a clothes bursary, advertising, and even purchasing voter lists. All of these may be necessary costs for your campaign.
Having such high spend requires you to be creative with how you may bring in different streams of income. Perhaps holding local fundraisers is an option, are there grants available, have you savings stashed away and have you enabled your website to collect online donations? Many of these are standard ways of increasing your campaign budget. Make sure to consider the longest possible timeline when doing up your financial forecast as this will save you stress in the long run.
5. Have a solid social media game
Social media and politics work together very well for the purpose of disseminating political messaging to voters. It has gone so far as to create a whole new slate of roles in political organizations. We now see hundreds of eager, astute and creative individuals sitting at desks across the globe tweeting, analyzing data and creating videos, all with audience-specific content in mind.
Bearing this all in mind, for our 5th top tip, we wrote an entire piece on using social media as part of your campaign strategy here.
6. Get out and start being seen
Efficiency and visibility are paramount when it comes to any political campaign. For some politicians, they pin their hopes of victory on the door-to-door canvassing aspect of their campaign. Conversation with your constituents is essential because it opens up a platform for debate and feedback, which in essence, is what politics encapsulates.
We preach about door knocking and being front facing because there's no substitution for conversation.
7. Use insights better
Lately campaigning and election cycles have been dubbed "data-centric", and if you really want to understand your voters, then, yes, data is needed.
Experienced campaigners say the following data can help you succeed in campaigning:
Asking a person if they are a party supporter is crucial information and one answer that most people have no problem sharing with you.
Assessing how strong or weak this party allegiance is should be your next question. You can do this by asking something as simple as rate on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being totally loyal to the party and 5 being not very loyal.
Likelihood To Vote
Knowing someone's voting history shows a lot about what they think of the democratic system. Using your vote is extremely important and the more you are aware of that, the more you value your vote.
You may want to make note of people who are supporting you, but aren’t quite volunteering on your campaign just yet. This data is important if you need to increase your canvassers or event organizers, you can pull from this pool of people.
8. Continue to learn
The results are in, and they’re not what you planned for. No one plans for a loss, not really. You’ve spent months stumping, turf-cutting,door knocking, fundraising, and last minute GOTV operations — and by comparison, the post-election silence can be tough to stomach but there is hope.
You now have a serious foundation for your next campaign, you may also have learned something about yourself which will help you have a stronger mandate going forward. The good thing about politics and organizing is that there will always be a cause worth fighting for.
Speaking of which, why not sign up for Ecanvasser and use our Virtual Campaign Manager to help you get started.