A Campaign Plan Is Good for Your (Campaign) Wallet
Write a Campaign Plan! Your Campaign and Its Wallet Will Thank You!
I think the best advice (and perhaps simplest, at least in theory) anyone can give a political campaign is to plan ahead and have a campaign plan. Obviously, any campaign comes with a number of unknowns, and you can’t account for everything, but the more you plan, the better prepared you are to deal with those unknowns, and the more likely you are to nail a win. This means taking the time to write and develop a winning campaign plan.
Having a winning campaign plan involves a great number of things, but perhaps the most important is planning your budget. First, this means accounting for both intake and outflow of cash (and when you’re accounting for intake, promises don’t count – we’re talking cold hard checks and credit cards here). It may seem like common sense, but a lot of campaigns miss this step. Your budget needs to live in tandem with your fundraising plan, plain and simple. Knowing what you’re spending (and what’s coming in the door) on items large and small, from your campaign manager’s salary down to paper clips, will make a big difference in terms of managing your resources and saving those hard-earned call time dollars.
A good campaign plan also means thinking carefully about when and how you’ll be spending your money on voter communication. At least 70% of your campaign funds should be directed toward direct voter communication of some sort – I’m talking direct mail, television, online advertising and the ever-important field program.
The farther ahead you can develop a campaign plan, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to control what you’re spending and avoid getting gouged or stuck with rush fees. This is particularly salient when it comes to things like TV, where the rates will go up the closer you get to election dates. The sooner you can lock in your buy, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to purchase the number of points you need to be competitive.
Bottom line: A Campaign plan is the key to a successful campaign.