So, you want to start your run for office? Where the f&%K to start though!*
Every day we get messages from hopeful candidates and the first thing they ask us is how fast can we get them set up and our answer? Pretty damn fast if you are willing!
20 hours to set up a solid and well functioning political campaign. Challenge accepted! We are going to take you from 1 to 100 in those vital hours. Read on to nail down everything that the likes of Obama, Bush & Sanders had on their checklist for their election bid.
Need A Taster Of Campaign Technology?
Before you even think about setting up a Facebook page saying your running to be the next President, park your nonsense and ask yourself "Who are my voters?”
Getting your hands on a voter file is critical to campaign operations so purchase your local electoral file and if needs be, enlist an expert to help you decipher it (you’d be surprised the number of people who struggle to understand voter files).
These databases contain masses of information if analyzed correctly, you will be privy to valuable information such as date of births, names, addresses, past voting history etc. You can find out where to source a voter file here.
Time spent: 2 Hours
Social Media Profiles
Now you are aware of your voters and their preferences, you may be better equipped to set up your social media profiles. People jump straight into setting up social media pages because they think it’s easy and ya, it’s pretty easy to set up an account but it’s an entirely different scenario when you try to gain value from it.
Consider Facebook, it has the fasted growth amongst women and men aged 40 +, so this is always a good place to find that section of your electorate. When making a Facebook profile remember to use current, authentic images and update your timeline often with campaign news, interesting facts about you and praise for your supporters and the wider community.
Next up, focus on your Twitter page. If you already have a notable Twitter presence, screen it for anything that may not be in agreement with your current political bid, we have seen recently how past tweets have come back to haunt prospective politicians. Check out the following video if you don’t believe us!
Find your personality using Twitter and follow people from your community first (people love being followed on Twitter), then move on to potential donors, action groups, other politicians, and news sources. Maintaining a solid Twitter presence requires a lot of work so don’t dive in unless you're going to be active.
For better visual optics you may want to set up an Instagram page, still a relatively new platform for campaigners, Instagram is great to share visual updates and also share live news or ‘stories’ as they are called. This feature is great to help you test messaging and gain confidence while talking into a camera.
We recently did a short blog on how you can maximise your reach to voters through Instagram, check it out here.
Setting up social media pages is quick and easy work, so we don’t think you will be too long doing this fun activity.
Time Spent: 1 Hour
Buying a domain name can be done in 5 mins, it’s the creative work which could cost you time. If time is against you (we know it is), I would prepare a decent skeleton of a website and you can come back and add to it as the days go by. My main tip for a quick website set up is having your social media profiles connected and a widget to accept donations.
Remember have a place you can direct your voters where they can learn more about you.
Time Spent: 2 Hours
Campaign Team Assembly
Still not panicking right? You need some organization and structure. That's where you need a Campaign Manager or a Director of Elections to step in and take the pressure off.
The Campaign Manager will direct overall campaign strategy - what key points should be mentioned on the doorstep, what areas should be canvassed, where should the posters go, fundraising techniques, and where to come across the best photo-ops.
Any discussion in a campaign usually begins and ends with money. How much? Can we afford it? Is it worth the investment? Time is money folks and this is never truer than in a political race, this is why it is fundamental that you have someone in charge of the purse strings. In most campaigns, this responsibility will fall to the CM but sometimes it is a role which can be delegated to a Fundraising Director. The fundraiser aka Money Man's main job is primarily to focus on raising the money necessary for a successful campaign. He or she is also responsible for projecting expected fundraising. However, the bulk of the work related to fundraising remains the candidate’s job as no one can secure donations quite like the face of the campaign.
Another common role in political campaigns is someone who manages the social media accounts. You don’t think Trump actually writes all his own tweets, do you? (Bad example, sorry, well I don’t think Barack Obama did anyway!). Spend a bit of time choosing these people as filling core roles now will save you time later.
Time Spent: 3 Hours
I love this aspect of the job, these days thanks to technology, everyone has the capability to take a decent picture. All you need is to find decent lighting and boom, we are all models!
Headshots can be taken in such a short space of time, if you're any kind of social media bunny, you’ll likely already have a repertoire to choose from (don’t pretend you don’t take 20 selfies every time you get a new haircut #millennials). High spec images will go along way on the campaign trail.
Time Spent: 30 mins
Due to social media and the overall power of the internet, I would like tp take the focus off traditional. It’s important to have materials to hand to people, don’t get me wrong but due to the amount of time we all spend on our phones, a link is simply as useful as a political brochure.
If you are dead set on printing campaign leaflets, again make sure your message will resonate and that your images are high quality. Just because you are in a hurry doesn’t mean quality should suffer.
Time Spent: 2 Hours
I have faith in people and because of that, I believe that people don’t run for office on a whim. To run as a candidate you need to have a deep connection and understanding of what your electorate want. This is of course what your manifesto will address. So, simply put, you cannot draw up a political manifesto in 20 hours, you can, however, put in place the tools that will allow you to be able to draw one up.
It is amazing that so few politicians do ‘broad spectrum’ surveys of voters regularly. In other words, speak to people outside their supporter base, speak to opponents and those on the fence. Bernie Sanders lobbied at the grassroots level from the beginning of his Primary campaign and, in the process, seemed to be able to gauge the temperature of the people far better than some of his rivals. His campaign messaging spoke to the disaffected middle of America as well as the Democratic base showing that grassroots surveying yields the rich data needed for a successful campaign. Many scoffed at him for being seen to be too involved at a low level but when he took a surprise victory in the New Hampshire Primary we realized that ground-game surveys work.
So why doesn’t every aspiring politician try and understand their voters the same, put in the work to create a solid manifesto? You use political technology to do many types of surveys, but how about starting smaller and simply draw up a 5 question survey asking your electorate what thier concerns are? You'll have manifesto drawn up in no time.
Time Spent: 6 Hours
When we work with campaigns, the vision of the candidate is what matters. This is where a campaign begins and ends. Having a vision is fundamentally what your election run is all about. Vision can be implemented in many ways, from your talking points when out on a canvass, to who you have on your team, and even, to what your social media strategy is.
It's gonna be tough, exhausting and fun. Jot down how you want your plan to look or check out our rollout video here.
Time Spent: 3 Hours
If you want all of the above collated into one unified system, sign up to use political software like Ecanvasser. There is much to be said for an efficient political tool that will help you earn votes easier.
Politicians often succumb to stress from losing track of one, or more aspects of their campaign - by joining the revolution and enjoying the process of campaigning, we can guarantee you extra votes. Plus, you can't put a price on the ability to be able to see what's working and what's not before it's too late.
Time Spent: 30 mins
Total Time For Campaign Set Up: 20 Hours
So come on, don't waste any more precious time, sign up now!