Ending Your Political Campaign the Right Way

by Joe Fuld

Image of a soapy window with a person scrubbing it down.

Just because your political campaign is over, doesn't mean it's the end.

Whether you won or lost your political campaign, the 2018 Election Cycle is over. Like us, you're probably pretty exhausted. These past months you've likely been getting your hands dirty and working tirelessly on your campaign cause, and we want to help you clean up both your literal and figurative mess.

Here are our tips on how to end a campaign:

1. Make sure to end on a good note. 

Be equally organized about your campaign clean-up as you were with your campaign plan. Thank people, pay your bills, and remind folks that you ran for the right reasons. Don't just email people who supported you on your race, instead go the extra mile and call them. In addition, send a handwritten note. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges with those who you built relationships with during the campaign cycle. 

2. Find out what your legal requirements are

What information do you need to hold onto? You probably have a pile of papers on your desk, maybe even multiple, but don't be hasty when organizing your office space, emails, filing cabinets etc. There are lots of rules and requirements about how long campaigns need to keep records, so make sure to check with a lawyer before you throw anything out. 

3. Keep an inventory of what you said in the campaign.

Keep an inventory of questionnaires, interviews, and articles, and get someone to highlight things you were criticized for on the campaign trail. Just because it wasn't an issue during your last campaign, does not mean it won't be an issue in a future campaign. 

4. Use a shutdown list. 

Hopefully, you already have a plan for what shutdown policies you need to enact - whether that means hiring your campaign staff or finding new employment opportunities for them. Be sure to also document your campaign assets and decide where they will go. If you're just playing catchup, act quickly! Regardless if you win or lose, people don't wait around for you to make decisions. 

5. Take inventory of your campaign assets in a spreadsheet

During the course of your campaign, you should have kept a running list of campaign assets/inventory. Make sure all of this information is kept in one central place that you can refer back to in the future if you ever need it. 

6. Make sure you have a policy on who gets to keep assets.

The candidate? Manager? Fundraiser? The party? Can this info be shared? Write this out and speak to a lawyer.

7. Formulate a real policy of who, if anyone, gets the losing campaign assets. 

Candidates should keep control of their assets and have a plan for these assets. Who will you share info with? Do you get anything for giving your assets away?

8. Secure your data and assets.

Cloud storage, as well as a large portable hard-drive, are a useful and cheap method of protecting your losing campaign assets. Password protect/encrypt everything separately.

9. Have a life

Go see your family, spend time with them. They made sacrifices too, thank them. Clean out your car, do your laundry, go to the gym, shut off the news for a few days, take a real break and get back in  physical and mental shape (post campaign burnout is a real thing), 2020 is just around the corner. 

Do you still have questions about preparing for the political campaign shut down and how to end your campaign the right way? Ask them here.