The Campaign Workshop Feed

How Can I Build My List For Fundraising? Joe Fuld List Building for Campaign Fundraising: Start With Friends and Family. List building is an art and a science. When you start a campaign your friends and family are pumped up, you have some committed volunteers, and maybe you even have an official campaign Facebook page.  One key question remains, can you raise the money?  This is where list building comes in. List building Before you run Many candidates make the mistake of running before list building and assessing how much money they will need to raise from friends and family. Sometimes they stop prospecting before looking in all the places of their life for potential fundraising prospects. So, before you say, “I can't build my list”, here are the places you may have overlooked in forming your list of fundraising prospects. Family and Friends of Family: Call mom, call dad, call grandma and Aunt Sue. Fill your campaign coffers with these initial checks. They all have lists, go through those and look for prospects.  This should include cousins, in laws, former family members (that you may be close to), and adopted family members.  If you have a friendly ex, ask them for a check!   Find your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Instagram followers:  Know and work your connections. Facebook friends are a great place to look for fundraising help.  Try and remember what connects you to them in order to customize the ask.  Dig into LinkedIn: LinkedIn in is a great way to get email addresses and a great way to connect with folks in your professional circles. Former coworkers, professional contacts, past jobs, bosses, coworkers, business associates, customers, and industry partners are all good prospects for your list. Take it a step further by digging into your resume. Business Card List: Where is that stack of business cards? There is gold in those cards... we hope. Go through them and add them to your list. Holiday card lists: These are a bonanza if someone sends you a holiday card, chances are they will write you a check. The Associates: These are the folks you know but aren’t considered your close friends.  Play sports? Your kickball buddies have a check book, make that hard ask! Shoot them your donation link so they can show their support. Belong to book club? Ask the group to Venmo your campaign a donation.  Friends of Friends?  Add them to the list!   The Mentors: Have friends who have raised money? Some of your friends have raised money for groups, candidates, and causes. Charities or other candidates, ask them to raise money for you. Have actual friends who are elected officials give you suggestions of who to raise money from. Ask them if they will go through their list with you. The Classmates: Whoever is not covered on Facebook will be covered by going through your year book. All those guys who wrote “stay cool” need to hear from you.  Add them to your list. The Board: Make friends on boards. Boards are a great way to network and make good long-term contacts; it is a great place to find like-minded folks who can donate and help your list building efforts The Brothers and Sisters: Your sorority sisters and fraternity brothers are a wealth of fundraising prospects. Don’t forget about alumni chapters too. The Recommendations: Your friends have friends. Every time you reach out to a friend you must ask them for friends that are potential prospects. The Rest: Keep looking into whatever you do in your life where there could be prospects.  This includes past clubs, model UN, camp buddies, marching band, trail friends, law school class mates, bar associations, fellow entrepreneurs, union members, leadership class members, fellow realtors, PTA members, fellow den mothers, volunteer firemen, Peace Corps buddies, etc... Your Partner’s List: Your partner can do all of these things too! Make it a game, how much can you get from your friends and family? If you haven't gotten to 1/3 of your campaign budget keep going, keep list building. keep fundraising! Most importantly, make sure you don't steal lists, call people at work when they can't legally be called or break any fundraising laws. Yes, you should go talk to a lawyer and get legal advice on the dos and don'ts of fundraising. Bottom line: Don't leave any stones unturned, but make sure you follow the law. Have questions on list building? Ask them here: If you haven't already, check out our Complete Guide to Digital Advocacy!   Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:00:12 EDT
Evaluating Success for Your Campaign Strategy The Campaign Workshop   Because They Don't Hand out Medals for Campaign Strategy  Now more than ever, it's important to set measurable goals for success and to evaluate your campaign strategy against those goals. What may have worked for another campaign may fail miserably for yours, so keeping your benchmarks for success in mind will be critical. Let's look back at evaluating success for your campaign strategy.  What is success? This is not always the question folks ask when developing a campaign strategy but it should be.  When starting on a new project, or even evaluating an older one, it’s important to set goals and measure the success of your campaign strategy.  Think about the goals for campaign strategy. Success metrics shouldn’t just be, “did it work?” Rather, you need measurable benchmarks that are meaningful to your organization.  Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius.  But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  If you define the success of your campaign strategy by the wrong metric, you can end up continuing a program that isn’t working as well as it should, or worse, cutting off a project because it was not “climbing trees.” When it comes to campaign strategy, there is a difference between solutions and success.  There are a number of ways to solve any given problem, but some solutions may have unintended consequences or be organizationally untenable.  It’s also important to set realistic goals and measure your progress as you go to get a clearer picture of what elements make something successful for your individual campaign or organization. Be strategic about primary and secondary goals, and use both when evaluating success.  Perhaps your event didn’t raise quite as much money as you had hoped, but it did get a ton of publicity and a number of new supporters who may turn up for the next one, for example.  If your primary goal was to raise money, then perhaps you should look into other fundraising strategies, while you may want to hold low-cost events in the future for the secondary goal of growing your organization’s membership and public profile.  By splitting our goals, and definitions of success, rather than eliminating “failed” fundraising events, we get a more accurate picture of our strengths and weaknesses and what to do differently to make our next attempt successful. How do you judge the success of your campaign strategy? Leave a comment or drop us a line here: Sun, 15 Oct 2017 21:24:08 EDT
10 Advocacy Myths That Hurt Your Organization Joe Fuld  Dispelling The 10 Most Common Advocacy Myths With Advocacy Season in full swing, it's time to clear the air on some common advocacy myths about what will, and what won't, hurt your advocacy group. 1. Only the rich can meet their elected official  Go ask your legislator to meet you for a cup of coffee at Starbucks and talk about your issue. Most legislators will say yes. You don't have to be a big shot to do that just a little bit of moxie and a basic pitch. 2. Advocacy campaigns don't matter Bullshit. They matter now more that ever. Folks are building campaigns for legislation and are using those campaigns to shore up support to achieve other organizational goals. 3. All you need is a good lobbyist A good lobbyist can make a big difference for you. They can open doors and define targets, but don't set them up to fail by believing they can do everything. Having a good campaign to back up legislation can help your lobbying efforts a great deal. 4. If you call too often your legislator will vote against you Not likely. If you don't call or advocate, you are in a lot more jeopardy than if you do. 5. Legislation takes care of itself  Legislation is like a plant- no matter how good the seed (idea) is, if you don't nurture and water it, the plant will die. 6. Nobody cares about what voters think Knowing how their voters think is a big deal to elected officials. Showing them that their voters care about your issue is very important and can mean the difference between support or opposition. 7. Grasstops advocates are hard to find Look at the elected official. What is there background? What boards are they on? Where did they go to school? Who are they married to? Who are their donors? Looking at these basic factors can help you build grasstops power. 8. People know how to do advocacy Your members don't know your priorities unless you tell them. It is not fair to your advocates and members to assume they are advocacy experts when they are not. Tell them what actions matter most to you and what they can do to help achieve overall goals. 9. Advocates are different than donors They are very often the same folks or a potential group of donors you have not tapped yet.  10. You can't build an organization through advocacy  Many folks are afraid of advocacy. They think that their current donors will run away when they start doing advocacy. We have seen the reverse happen- by doing advocacy you give your donors and members a chance to speak about the issue they love and get other folks to buy in. Have a favorite advocacy myths? Share them here: Check out our latest ebook: The Complete Guide to Advocacy in Trump's America   Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:00:07 EDT
Let Strategy Drive Your Digital Campaign Budget Joe Fuld Digital Campaign Budget: The 10% Rule and Other Digital Buy Myths: How much money should you spend on a digital buy? Determining the size of a digital buy is a question many folks ask, but there is not a real set formula for a digital spend percentage. Politics is not cookie cutter. In order to build a winning digital budget, you need to make sure you create a strategy to define your goals and determine your tactics based on your goals and target- not just based on tactics alone. So where did the whole "spend 10% of your budget" idea come from? How did that start? Back in 2003 when selling digital ads became a reality, potential clients would ask "how much money should I spend?" and somewhere along the lines, sales folks responded with 10%- and it stuck.  This was a bad way then to determine a digital budget, and it still is. Folks today look at 10% as a minimum digital spend. But, figuring out your budget based on your overall goals, and then deciding the amount to spend on digital, is a much better way to deciding how much money to spend on a digital buy,  than sticking to a traditional percentage without any real meaning or logic. What should I base spending on? Is there a magic formula? Short answer: There is no magic formula for a digital buy. Long answer: Good digital strategy is about planning to achieve specific goals. Don't hire anyone that says it has to be this way or the highway, without having done some kind of research and having knowledge of your specific race. For advocacy, we have had campaigns that spend half their budgets or more on digital because they are focused on list building. In other words, your strategic goals should drive the spend.  Shouldn't I spend more on television than digital buys? 2016 was the first year on record where commercial advertisers spent more on digital than television.  Politics will follow slowly, but folks are likely to spend more on television that digital for politics in the near future. It is important to know what your goals are before you pick a medium, not the other way around. I read that digital doesn't work? Many folks at different times have said television, mail, digital, and yard signs all don't work. We know that when done right and used in conjunction with a good strategy these mediums can make a difference. Run a good campaign by having a good strategy not by deciding on a favorite medium. Why should I spend money on a new medium?   Digital for politics and advocacy is hardly new, in fact, digital ads for politics and advocacy stated over 15 years ago. But in politics, folks are slow to change. Have questions on digital buys? Ask them here: Check out our ebook: The Complete Guide to Digital Advocacy here! Mon, 09 Oct 2017 08:00:15 EDT
Why Are You Running for Office? Do you know the answer? Joe Fuld Why are you Running for office? Do You Have a Good Answer? For some, "why are you running for office "is an easy question to answer because you feel innately passionate about your political pursuit. For others, they may have a murkier answer. But knowing why you are running for office and what you want to do when you get there is critical to being a successful candidate. And having a canned answer to the question is not good enough. Ted Kennedy's famous non-answer to the why he was running for office in his 1980 presidential campaign is a historical lesson about not having your heart in the race.  But there are countless examples in less high profile races of candidates not being able to successfully answer the “why are you running political for office” question. Running for office for the right reasons is critical, not only to gain support but also to win.  If you lack the passion and really don't want it, that will be evident to voters. Think long and hard before you launch your campaign, because you don't want to commit to a race you don’t want to be in or a race in which you can’t win. Or even worse, be elected to an office and realize you really don't want to do the job.  With that said, here is a break down of the right and wrong reasons to run. Right reasons: To help your community. This is the USA classic reason of running for office. You see your community needs help and you believe you have the skills to fill that need. Advocating for causes. There is a specific cause or policy that is affecting your community and you feel that you can have a real impact on the issue by running for office. Wrong reasons: The party asked me to. Just because someone asks you to run does not mean they have your best interest in mind. This could be a great start if you have other reasons for running, but running for office to please someone else is always a bad idea. Revenge against the incumbent. The reason that “he did something to me so I’m going to beat him” is not a good reason to begin running for office. Revenge is a horrible reason to run, no matter how bad the opponent is. Make sure there are other motivations that drive you. Because I can win. It’s important that you have a chance of success but don’t run just because you think you will win. This will be my only opportunity - I get that there is a lot of luck in politics and picking the right opportunity is important but that is different than thinking you will only have one opportunity. Be thoughtful about why you are running and make sure you pick the right opportunity to win, not just the opportunity that is in front of you.  A canned answer to the "why are you running for office question" is not good enough. If your heart is truly not in the race you will know, and so will voters. The bottom line is, don't run if you don't know why you are running. Sun, 08 Oct 2017 09:05:20 EDT
4 Signs of a Winning Campaign Ben Holse 4 Qualities Winning Campaigns Share:    After working with a few campaigns, you really do get a sense of what it’s like to work on a winning campaign. These campaigns share a few key qualities that ultimately contribute to their success. Below are four of the qualities that winning campaigns almost always share:    Willingness to delegate responsibilities One telltale sign of a winning campaign is a clear delegation of responsibilities. In a winning campaign, the staff are empowered to make decisions that aren’t overruled later down the line by the candidate or manager. Winning campaigns are also truly collaborative. If you’re working on a winning campaign, you will feel as though your voice is heard. You may not win every argument, but you win some of them. In that same vein, another clear sign of a winning campaign is to take advantage of the resources and experience of your staff and consultants. No one has all the right answers all the time. Campaign consultants, especially ones that work remotely, rely on good on-the-ground knowledge and input. But it’s important to remember that campaigning is a zero sum game. Every moment that’s spent rewriting direct mail copy or debating a preferred shade of red is less time that can be dedicated to fundraising and talking to voters. A clear campaign vision Most campaigns will tell you that they have a clear vision for what they want their campaign to look like. But this just isn’t always the case. Winning campaigns clearly delineate what type of campaign they want to run. They set goals that are based on real metrics, so they know when they’ve been successful and when they’ve fallen short. In a winning campaign, everyone on the team has a clear understanding of the campaign’s vision. This vision has been communicated to all the members of the team, which allows the team to in turn create a campaign that fulfills that vision.  Dedication to the hard work Winning campaigns always have one thing in common; they put in the hard work it takes to win. Very, very few candidates like doing call time. But winning campaigns recognize that call time is a necessary evil and are willing to dedicate the time it takes to raise enough money to be successful. And let’s face it, canvassing is exhausting. No one likes getting chased around by angry dogs or bothering people during their dinnertime. But winning campaigns go out in their communities and dedicate effort to talking with voters and telling them why they’re the right choice to represent them. Losing campaigns make excuses and try to find the “silver bullet” to avoid doing the hard work it takes to win. Message consistency Voters have incredibly short attention spans. Winning campaigns know how to stick to their message, plain and simple. While many campaigns will get sick of talking about the same three things all the time, it’s important to remember that you aren’t saying the same things to the same people. Even in a small campaign, there are a lot of people you need to convince that your candidate is the right person for the job. If you get to communicate with a voter twice, you’re very lucky (this includes at the door, in the mailbox, online, etc.) So it’s critical you communicate your most important points in the very limited amount of time you have a voters’ attention. When it comes to the campaign message, winning campaigns always do the same three things, repeat, repeat, repeat. Have questions about the four qualities of a winning campaign? Ask them here: Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:09:37 EDT
Campaign Chairperson Vs, Campaign Manager: What’s the Difference? Ben Holse Campaign Chairperson vs Campaign Manager When you first file your candidacy for office, in many jurisdictions your paperwork will ask you to declare a campaign chairperson. You expected that you’d need to hire a campaign manager at some point, but why do you need a campaign chairperson? Anyway, you think, I’m sure Cousin Larry could do it. Well, before you just pick a name out of a hat, it’s important to recognize that your campaign chairperson can be a valuable position and should serve a very different role than your campaign manager. So what’s the difference? Your campaign chair is typically a volunteer position, whereas your campaign manager, in most cases, is paid. Most often, your campaign chairperson is a part time position where your campaign manager should be full time. The primary duties of your campaign chairperson will be high-level tasks, whereas your campaign manager should be very involved in the nitty gritty, day-to-day campaign operation. For the position of campaign chairperson, it’s best to identify someone who is well known, respected and has deep ties to the community. While their tasks will vary based on your campaign and the capacity of each person, some typical campaign chairperson responsibilities are to identify endorsements and high-level fundraising targets and offer their general feedback on strategy and the campaign plan. Ideally, your campaign chairperson would be someone who has the means to give a maximum donation to your campaign and could call 10 or so people themselves who could also give your campaign a maximum donation. As we’ve mentioned in past blog posts, your campaign manager is the person who manages the day-to-day operation of the campaign, including fundraising, budgeting, strategy, messaging and managing the candidate’s time and schedule. For all intents and purposes, think of your campaign chairperson as if they are a member of your board of directors, they will have a strong understanding of what’s happening, but they aren’t in the office every day. As such, it’s important that you put real thought into who can serve as your campaign chairperson to recruit someone who can bring real strategic value to the campaign. And once you’ve hired your campaign chairperson, you should develop a real plan for them so you can make the most of their value, yet limited, time.   Want to learn more about running political campaigns? Check out our ebook: Ready Set Go: Jump Start Your Political Campaign Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:00:26 EDT
7 Questions with Alan Secrest on Polling Joe Fuld Political Strategist and Democratic Pollster Alan Secrest Answers Our 7 Questions If you were working on a campaign or running for office in the 80’s, 90's, or 2000's, Alan Secrest was a ubiquitous and sometimes against-the-grain Democratic polling presence. Alan was a strategic force on dozens of targeted races across the country. He left the political consulting world, only to reemerge as Executive Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, and now back again as a Democratic pollster, as the president of a polling firm with offices in DC, Atlanta, and Nashville.'  Here is our 7 question interview with Alan Secrest:  1. Why did you leave political polling?  Why did you come back? I had to step away from the business and my company at that time due to enormous pressures on the personal side that involved significant expenditures, which diverted my attention from our typical marketing approach for all or part of three full cycles. I needed to be present for my children during this difficult period. I took about a year and a half off, then agreed to serve as Executive Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party during 2014. Although returning to polling was not my plan initially, the more I spoke with friends and colleagues, the more sense it made to return. I'd had a chance to refresh, recharge and re-imagine the kind of firm I wanted to (re)create. In 2015, the 'soft launch' of Secrest Strategies enjoyed success, and our intentional slow build and growing success in 2016 convinced me the new iteration of the firm was destined to succeed. 2. What has changed in the world of political polling? How long do you have? Almost all of the changes in polling, per se, were well underway when I recused myself for a while. The available technologies continue to improve, and, when deployed properly, today's analytics are an integral and critical part of a complementary research battery. But I have long observed and lamented a certain 'dumbing down' in some areas of our business. Too often methodological AND analytical rigor are sacrificed for speed and convenience. Too many surveys are crafted to yield a certain result, and questionnaires have become recklessly biased in too many instances. Screening questions, if they are used at all, are often inadequate. Few want to take the time and invest the effort in giving the respondent at least one opportunity during the survey to respond in their own voice, that is, a true (not pre-coded) open-ended format. The final survey product too often is a stack of crosstabs, the topline results, maybe a 2-5 page cover memo, and a 15-minute phone briefing. Thoughtful, thorough and accessible analysis is too often never forthcoming. Add to this the short-sheeted investment many media firms make in their "polls," the improper deployment of robopolls and online polls, and the unforgivable decision to depend on algorithms as faux-polls, and the potential for problems becomes clear. That said, several organizations and top political polling firms on both sides of the aisle, along with us, have demonstrated that accurate and actionable live-call polling is alive and well. You just have to know where to look for it! 3. How do get a representative sample in 2017/18? The absence of sufficient rigor in the sampling process may be the number one obstacle to accurate and actionable polling today. As I noted, technologies have improved, but these are of little use in the absence of a clear-eyed intentionality and commitment by the user to sample the likely, rather than the 'wished for,' electorate. Start with a well-matched (phones) list. Be certain that a significant number of the completed interviews (from 30% to 50%+, depending on venue) are collected from cell phones, challenging though that is. Use well trained, centrally located callers (technology permits dispersed calling, but in our experience, the supervision and quality control provided is very inadequate). Spread the calls over several evenings (avoid Friday evenings, Wed evenings if possible in some areas, and minimize Sat calls, especially on a benchmark). Assemble prior regional turnout from a range of prior elections, to guide the distribution of interviews. Make provision, obviously, for Early Vote. Employ minimal or no weighting on self-ascribed partisanship. Look to multiple reliable sources and prior experience in weighting race/ethnicity; if the sample had been properly configured, such weighting should be relatively modest. These should be 'givens' in preparing a poll sample, but all too often they are not, and are sacrificed in the name of shortcuts to save money. 4. What do you do to make sure your political polling is accurate? Accuracy should be the minimum expectation, within the bounds of statistical laws. Statistically, there will always be a few 'rogue' surveys. A client should be able to assume accuracy when selecting a polling firm. Sadly, accuracy has come to the fore as a major concern because of less than rigorous sampling AND analysis. After every election in which we are involved, win or lose, we prepare a 'PostElection Advisory,' comparing aggregate and regional results in the last survey to the actual results, and comparing projected regional contribution to the actual. While these were initially an internal document to hone our methods, years ago we began sharing these with clients--a practice we continue today--for one reason: our projections were highly and consistently accurate. A large part of the reason for that accuracy is embodied in the prior response, about sampling. But questionnaire design has suffered as well, with far too heavy a reliance upon easily manipulated and misunderstood 'agree/disagree' questions, no open-ended questions (there is some disagreement among firms about the utility of these; in my experience, arguments about this matter or others, such as the value of screening questions, generally have one thing in common: lower completion costs for the pollster...just saying), order bias and questions about issues that provide far too little information to the respondent. Worse, perhaps worst of all is providing dramatically unbalanced information about the two candidates prior to re-asking the trial heat. Such data is analytically flaccid and a blight on the credibility of the pollster. If it helps temporarily with fundraising, it ultimately undermines the process of political polling in the eyes of both the public and the client. Finally, we analyze the data that emerges rather than molding it to the preconceived notions of the client. This, along with sampling rigor, accounts for our record, especially in the arena of 'upset wins' and wins in Democratic primaries. 5. You were known for being aggressive in your approach to marketing, campaigns, client engagement, and politics in general.  Has anything in your approach changed? Aggressive, proactive, leaning in... clients expect no less from their consulting team, from the first handshake through Election Night. At every stage of the process, we took care to provide what I call "the courtesy of candor." We still do. Misaligned expectations are a common source of dysfunction in a campaign. We engage in an integrated fashion to be sure clients receive every bit of value from a survey. Survey research, used properly, should inform every aspect of the campaign, from targeting to message to stump speech to recommended outreach platforms to fundraising, and more. Part of our job is making sure none of it goes to waste! I'd say that our expectations of our clients were high, as we hoped and still hope their expectations of us are. It's a partnership. We need their best effort in providing requested input in order to make a survey as actionable as possible. We've not hesitated to advise a client to gun the engine financially (more TV/mail) down the stretch to ensure victory. But we've also not hesitated--many times--to gently steer a candidate couple, usually with young children, away from taking out that second mortgage if it became clear that a win wasn't in the offing. Under those very difficult circumstances, I'd often suggest heading to Disneyworld right after the election as a family; I've received more than one call from a grateful candidate or spouse enjoying the Magic Kingdom with their kids after a few days away from the campaign! All of the above with regard to our involvement and commitment to winning is still true...but having seen lots of wins, and some tough losses along the way, I don't take the marketing quite as personally as I might have at 29! I take it seriously, just not as personally! 6. What is your firm like today? What kind of clients do you work with? While we still work with a wide range of candidates/ballot positions, our most recent focus has been on gubernatorial, state legislative, municipal and advocacy. Mostly virtual, we operate from three hubs now: Washington, Atlanta, and Nashville. Staff is a blend of several senior members of the former team and several very talented newcomers. Our shop is more boutique than in prior years, with a product that is streamlined and accessible while still highly rigorous and actionable, both methodologically and analytically. We have always been very hands-on, and that has carried forward.   7. What can Democrats say to Trump supporters who had voted Democratic in the past to win them back? Having worked for Democratic candidates since I was fifteen, I've seen a fair amount of ebb and flow in Party fortunes, and I've observed it at both the federal and state levels. In either venue--and this happens in both parties--too often in dire or uncertain times, I see two reactions: an insistence on over-the-top party 'purity,' as well as a tendency to point the guns in, instead of out. Neither dynamic is healthy. Over the years, our firm had huge success not simply in traditional Democratic strongholds, where the list of our progressive clients would fill the page, but in (then) "red" venues like OK, KS, NE, IN, GA, AL, AR, MS, TN or (now) swing states like NC, VA, MO, and PA. Our candidates campaigned as neighbors who, as one put it, would "never forget who I am, where I come from, and who sent me." Like family, neighbors don't always agree, but they stay in community with one another, bear one another's burdens, and forgive. Most recent Democratic defectors to Trump are retrievable. Democrats have to make plain they WANT to retrieve them. Tone matters. As many have written, Obama/Trump voters need to be reassured that Democrats "get" them...economically and culturally. Voters who supported Obama in '12 and Trump in '16 didn't somehow turn into deplorable bigots during those four years. But many ARE concerned about stagnating or diminishing economic opportunity for themselves and their children. They have been led to believe that the Democratic Party often seems, in their eyes, to go out of its way to play it's (traditional) "helping hand up" role for both newcomers to America as well as the 'creative class,' but at the expense of--and sometimes with a large dollop of condescension toward--middle class Americans. In addition, our winners over the years in the red and swing states above--from Governor Sebelius (KS) to Governor Miller (GA...in better times) to Congressman/then Senator Joe Donnelly (IN) to Governor Henry (OK) and more--inevitably offered voters a message that called for both opportunity as well as accountability (see Bill Clinton in terms of his issues approach). When either party gets seriously off track, it often can be traced to a serious imbalance between these two critical dynamics. For decades, the Democratic leadership, at the state and federal levels, understood and made room for leeway among legislators whose district or conscience compelled a certain cross-grain position on particular issues, while still maintaining sustainable discipline on most issues. That was a Party strength, not weakness. Bonus questions: 8. What can the Democrats do to take back control in 2018 and beyond? Make state legislative races a much higher priority. Encourage and support District-friendly candidates. Be patient with candidates who don't always fit the 'mold,' but in years like 2018 often slip through to upset an overconfident incumbent. Appropriate the right lessons from prior campaigns instead of whistling past the graveyard. Enjoy Seth Meyers and SNL at home, but leave that tone there when you get back on the campaign trail; be sure Party spokespeople do the same. Help basically transactional voters understand what's in it for them in no uncertain terms. Study closely Richard Florida's research (Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto) of employment sectors, especially 'service workers' and the access and opportunity they provide Democrats, as Tom Edsall has written, to GOP-lean districts in states like, say, WI, PA, MI, NC, FL and OH. Taking out incumbents means causing voters to fire them; this is incontestable. But make the disqualification credible; use the language and references that voters themselves use, and make plain in organic terms the reason the Democrat wants to serve.  Never substitute any form of analytics for live-call polling; use them in concert.  9.  Political Polling data is important, but it’s not the only information that campaigns have at their disposal. How much of a campaign’s energy and decision making should be focused on what the poll numbers are saying, what else should they be listening to? Campaigns should be about honoring voters, first and foremost. Not pandering, but recognizing and acknowledging voters' mood, values, and issue priorities. Thoughtful and rigorous political polling should provide those insights, and, of course, the candidate and team must be willing to be informed and proceed accordingly. Polling should be an efficiency tool: how do you deploy limited campaign resources--people, time and money--in service to a win? As such, as discussed earlier, it should be a consistent informer of, and check upon, nearly every aspect of the campaign...and throughout the campaign because...things change. There is a variety of other 'data feeds' increasingly available, and worthy of consideration. But many are often compromised by third party interests, too-narrow ideological assumptions, less than thoughtful modeling and/or are overbearingly devoted to Conventional Wisdom. That is the beauty of well-crafted and well-executed polling, and its "courtesy of candor," which every campaign needs. It pulls back the curtain on reality, rather than echoing a wish list. Naturally, candidates need to be mindful of their own and society's ethical norms and boundaries; the tone and language of voters they meet (lots of swings and misses here in 2016); an experienced campaign team beyond the political polling, who know how to help the candidate give credible and resonant voice to the campaign's message; and those Party entities charged with assisting their particular campaign (DLCC, DCCC, state party or caucus, etc.).  10.  Have you read anything recently that sheds insights into the American electorate? "Asymmetric Politics," Grossman/Hopkins "Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyond," Democracy Fund Voter Group, Lee Drutman "The Road to Somewhere," Policy Exchange/Richard Goodhart "Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Survey," June '17 ('Rural Divide') "Trumped," edited by Larry Sabato "Between the World and Me," Coates "The Refugees," Nguyen Anything by Thomas Edsall "Hillbilly Elegy," Vance "Just Mercy," Stevenson "To Kill A Mockingbird," Lee "Heart of Darkness," Conrad "Born to Run," Springsteen Thank you to Alan Secrest for Answering our questions. Trying to get in touch with Alan Secrest? He can be reached at secreststrategies@gmail.com   Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:00:53 EDT
Emotion Makes a Difference in Advocacy Advertising Elena Veatch Why Emotion Beats Reason in Advocacy Advertising Here at The Campaign Workshop, we always stress the value of storytelling with strong visuals in political and advocacy advertising. In other words, using photos or footage of authentic people looking straight into a camera and speaking candidly about things they’ve experienced, makes communications materials more compelling. There’s far more potential to persuade folks through testimonials than there is through wonky policy white papers – the question is, why? We process emotion-laced language and imagery far more readily than we take in dense information loaded with statistics. Our brains are wired to absorb content that makes us feel something over content that’s difficult to understand. As a result, when we read a piece of direct mail or watch a video ad that evokes sadness or fear or anger, our brains form networks of associations between the visual and the emotion it triggered. This automatic reaction makes it easier for us to recall memories linked to our emotions. Even if we can’t remember the meat of a political or advocacy ad, we can at least recall the visceral emotion it conjured up. When we later hear about the same issue or candidate, we’ve already sub consciously formed an opinion. Appeals to emotion beat appeals to reason. We may decry Trump’s tactic of making arguments about immigration or health care by elevating anecdotes over statistics, but the fact is, Trump’s way is more efficient in changing minds. While progressives shouldn’t take a page out of the president’s book by lying to the public to get folks on our side, making our ideas more digestible would help move the needle for causes and candidates alike. To learn more, check out Drew Westen’s The Political Brain. Have questions about using emotion in advocacy advertising ask them here:    Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:00:17 EDT
Shake the Bad Habits Behind Campaign Mistakes Elena Veatch If There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Avoid Campaign Mistakes Campaign mistakes force folks to learn and adapt – in a perfect world. In reality, plenty of campaigns fail to reflect on their flaws before gearing up for their next fight; they recognize that a problem exists, but don’t always take the time to address the bad habits that cause them to keep repeating their mistakes. We’re creatures of habit who cling to our instincts and institutional rituals, even when we know we could be more efficient if we changed our ways. It’s hard to shake old habits and to embrace new ones, but it’s worth toiling through the process to avoid making the same campaign mistakes again. Below are a few tips to help make that happen. Know what needs to change.  The first step to banishing an unwanted habit is to acknowledge that something needs to change. Whether your bad habit is setting too many advocacy goals or always giving up on call time too quickly, be honest with yourself that you’d be more effective if you made a change. Commit to changing.  Habits are rooted in the choices we make. No matter how ingrained a bad one feels, you can ax it – but it takes time and deliberate practice to be effective in doing so. Make sure you’ve bought into the end goal – otherwise, it’ll be easy to sink back into the comfort of old routines. Rewire.  Habits are routinized responses to cues. Look for the cues that tempt you to automatically yield to your bad habit and find ways to condition your brain to respond differently. If you’re a candidate struggling to commit to regular call time, maybe dialing and waiting for someone to pick up is a cue that prompts anxiety or frustration, making it easy to give up for the day. In an instance like this, you can have someone else do the dialing for you. Or, you can follow the Franken Way. Al Franken hated call time when he was first running for the Senate until he rebranded the process as “Call Time: The Musical.” Franken and his call time manager turned every call scenario into songs that they’d sing before or after any call, helping Franken find fun in the discomfort of asking for money every day. You don’t have to write a musical to quash your bad habit (unless you want to); you can just experiment by introducing new cues to prime the responses you want to make routine. Reward yourself.  We indulge bad habits because our brains associate our habitual responses to cues with a reward (often the feeling of comfort). Be sure to reward your commitment to a new routine – not just because you deserve a treat for going through this taxing process, but because strategically timed rewards actually help turn a new behavior into a habit that sticks.   *To learn more, check out Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:00:40 EDT
Nonprofit Content Marketing: Don’t Rent. Own. Joe Fuld Drive Folks to Your Nonprofit Content I am a big fan of nonprofit content marketing, but many folks who are new to the world of online content tend to skip blogging, or creating content on their websites and go straight to outside content sites. I look at outside content sites as more like renting an Airbnb than buying a home. You can enjoy a rental unit, but you should spend most of your time working on your house. There a few reasons for this:  Working on your site will pay off For your site to rank for potential keywords (SEO) you need to have content that speaks to the keywords. If you don’t have content, your site won’t rank. Pick keywords to write content around. Look for keywords that have a low difficulty score and a high search volume. You don’t have to write a ton of content to help your site rank.  Backlinks will help your site Medium, Tumblr, Youtube posts will all assist the rank of your site if they link to relevant content on your site. This is why it is so important to develop content on your site first and then link to it on outside sites.  Conversions Please The primary goal of your site should be conversions - short hand for list sign ups and engagement.  Driving people to your site will help with conversions. Commit to the ongoing work of a blog If you hate blogging or have given up, start with longer posts.  Make those long posts the cornerstone content on your site and own those keywords. This will not work as well as regular blogging, but it will help you rank for keywords that are not super competitive and will contribute to driving folks to your site. Using Social Media to promote content I love social media, and it drives thousands of folks to our website every month to read new content, but I need a steady stream of content that to link on The Campaign Workshop's social media platforms. Have questions about Nonprofit content or marketing for non-profits?  Our Fall 2017 Advocacy Training is coming up! Join us October 24-25th in Austin, Texas, for a training that will give you all the tools you need to make a difference in your community. Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:00:37 EDT
Why Your Nonprofit Should Resist Buying a Fundraising List Joe Fuld List Building Matters Whether it is for advocacy or fundraising, nonprofits spend a lot of time list building.  With the right plan, an organization can grow and engage through their list. But done the wrong way, list building can be a waste of money and resources.  Here is some advice on list build for organizations: Think Beyond List Size Many folks think list size matters. It does not. If there is one bit of advice I wish every group would take, it is to remove the deadwood from their lists. Don’t keep people who have been on your list for a year and never opened an email or responded to a direct mail appeal. Get rid of them now. List hygiene is undervalued for groups. Make sure you are updating and cleaning your list—whether that is a mailing list or an email list. It will give you a real understanding of the resources you have.  Have a Plan Once You Acquire a Name The most common mistake groups make, is not having a real plan to follow up with folks once they acquire an email address. Many organizations spend a lot of money to acquire names, but then don’t go about the process of keeping those folks engaged. With a little know-how, you can keep engagement up long-term by using a variety of list building strategies.  For example creating content of all types and driving folks to video content, SMS signup, organizational branded apps or other types of content. These are strategies folks should look into, depending on their goals.  Engage Your List Build your list from the ground up. Do everything to organically collect email addresses, like petition campaigns, Facebook ads with calls to action, and content marketing. Place gated content on your website for download, and collect email addresses to access it. Evaluate every resource you have and turn it into an opportunity to fine tune and build your list. Try a Re-engagement Campaign Back to that deadwood. If someone has not engaged in a while, try a re-engagement campaign.  Segment Your List From The Beginning Having specific messages for specific audiences can help you.  Not having them, can hurt you. Segmenting existing lists, and adding data to lists that you already have both works very well.  One More Time, Never Buy Lists!  Buying cold lists is a real problem for nonprofits and advocacy campaigns, especially when it comes to email lists. We have not seen this method work. We have seen our clients build great email lists from the ground up by getting folks to take action.   Direct Mail May Be Worth a Shot…  Direct mail has been seen as the only real targeted medium for a long time, but today that is not the case. Depending on what your goals and your audience are, direct mail may still do very well for you. You should also be testing other mediums to see if there are ways to engage your direct mail audience by doing list matches to your email list and serving them digital ads.   Try Modeling  Use modeled lists to build broader coalitions over the long term. Segment your existing list and match that data to other lists to get more information on who your members, donors, and activists are.  Use Your Content as a Way to Engage in Advocacy and Fundraising I believe we are moving to a place in communications where we will continue to have more channels not less, and we need to think about advocacy across platforms and creating content that engages. A single platform won’t do that. Thinking about how we connect, engage, and track advocates across multiple platforms are needed for the digital world. About four years ago content marketing became a hobby of mine. Real content marketing has been embraced by companies, but not by nonprofits the way it should. Organic search is massively undervalued and very cheap for groups to do – it also works very well with a social media strategy. In-app communication is also something we are looking into for large nonprofits to increase engagement over the long term.  Have questions about list building? Our Fall 2017 Advocacy Training is coming up! Join us October 24-25th in Austin, Texas, for a training that will give you all the tools you need to make a difference in your community. Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:00:19 EDT
10 Political Consultant Problems Joe Fuld Political Consultants and Your Campaign: Problems and Solutions Do you hate or love your political consultant? As the world of political consulting has grown, so have issues that organizations and candidates face with their political consultants. To be clear, some political consultant problems are easily solved, and some are not. Picking the right campaign consultants with the right approach and being clear on goals or roles can help a lot. Here is our list of political consulting problems and some basic solutions for them:  Problem: National View Many political consultants may seem to have an overly national focus; they can appear to be just focused on the national politics and not understand the impact of local issues on local communities. This can be a blind spot.  Solution: Round your team and look for diversity in opinion and solutions. Make sure your national consultants are plugged into your campaign, understand, and incorporate the local flavor into their work. Problem: Myopic Local View Some campaign consultants see themselves only as local experts. They are so focused on what the local issues are and what local campaigns have done in the past, that they forget to have a broader view of a messaging strategy. Solution: Talk to the consultants ask how diverse the firm is.  Make sure your team reflects a broad perspective. Problem: Too Focused on Polling Some consultants look like they focus only on poll and modeling numbers instead of listening to outside information. Solution: Don't get me wrong; polling can play a major roll in your campaign depending on the size of the race. But your consultants need to be able to draft, understand, read, and interpret polling. This seems like it should be a given, but sometimes it is not. Problem: Inside Game and Outside Game Some consultants are very focused on the inside politics that voters never see.  Inside politics such as, who has the party endorsement? Who is backing? What political consultant are campaigns using? Or, they can be occupied by outside politics and how voters perceive your campaign. Solution: All of this inside and outside jockey can be a full-time job. Depending on the race you are running in it may not be necessary at all, so talk with your team and figure out how much effort you want to put into inside and outside games.  Problem: Political Consultants Are Not Loyal to You Loyalty in politics is a critical thing. Know where your team stands, know where your consultants stand.  Solution: Do some homework before hiring your political consultants. Who are their biggest clients? What issues do they care about? Who have they worked for in the past? Problem: Political Consultants Think They Know Everything Campaigns are not all the same, but there is an idea that all consultants have the same approach; bullying their clients to rubber stamp a cookie cutter formulaic program.  Solution: Ask about their approach. Do they work collaboratively?  Do they want any input? Check references with a winning and a losing candidate to see what the experiences have been. Problem: Political Consultants Only care About Fundraising Political consultants have a reputation for pushing candidates to raise money. Fundraising and knocking on doors is one of the most important and time-consuming parts of a campaign. As a consultant, I am incredibly focused on how the campaign uses its resources, people, time, and money. So yes, I care about how the campaign uses their time, and I want to make sure they use resources as efficiently as possible.  Solution: Understand your consultant's approach and philosophy from the start. If you don't want to raise money or knock on doors, I can tell you that I won't be a good fit for you. Problem: Political Consultants Only Care About Making Money Many folks see consultants as having their hand out to get money from campaigns, but there are a lot of consultants to choose from and you can find ones with the approach that fits your campaign.  Solution: Hiring consultants costs money, but having a written contract to define the terms of the relationship and understanding how your political consultant makes money will give you a better understanding of the services you are paying for. I am always surprised and sometimes sad for campaigns and consultants who don't define their relationship.  Campaigns by nature are stressful, not knowing the terms of the campaign-consultant relationship can make it even more stressful. Problem: Political Consultants Cost Too Much Many campaigns are concerned about the cost of political consultants. If you could run a campaign without consultants, you would save a lot of money, but you also need the political experience consultants offer to navigate the hurdles of running for office.    Solution: have an RFP process where you pick a few consultants and ask them the same questions to compare their prices and services. Bottom Line: Like with any business there are good and bad political consultants. And like most things in life, it can be tricky to avoid problems, but here are a few rules to follow to avoid as many political problems with political consultants: Check references Have an RFP Compare prices Ask  questions Explore their approach Look at diversity Define roles Understand how your consultant makes money Have a written contract Set a process for communication Campaigns are tough to pull together, so making sure you pick the right team is really important. The best way to prevent political consulting problems is to work through the above steps and keep an open line of communication. Have questions about political consulting problems? Check out our e-books, or  Ask your questions here. Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:00:22 EDT
Volunteer Recruitment That Rocks| Grassroots Campaigns Joe Fuld Rock Solid Volunteer Recruitment Tactics to Grow your Grassroots Volunteer recruitment is never easy. It usually starts like this: The campaign is just getting going, although your community seems enthusiastic, you are just not getting the massive volunteer support you expected. You keep getting all these excuses from your field director and team. You are now starting to get a little discouraged. But you tell yourself that you are just getting started. That you can knock on doors alone., that it's too early to knock on doors, you'll wait till Labor Day to find volunteers, or wait until your new staffer starts. You name it I have heard every excuse, and yes there are days when you will need to knock on a door alone, but when done right volunteer recruitment can build on itself. It can create steady growth over time. When done badly, you can have a volunteer desert.  Here are 8 rock solid volunteer recruitment tips to get your grassroots campaign started: Create a volunteer pledge from friends family or past co-workers.  Ask your donors to volunteer. A lot of times someone writes a check and is not asked to do anything else besides writing more checks. This is a mistake some of my best donors have become volunteers ( the reverse is also true) keep asking till folks say no. Interns: interns come in all varieties from college kids to high school programs. Interns have been the best volunteers I have ever had, even paying a small stipend and food can help. Like minded groups agree with your issues and likely have some fired up folks. Make sure you cultivate groups from key organizers, donors, and staff. Give them special updates, make the group feel like they are apart of the team, and stop by member meetings find a group volunteer who can help keep the group up today. Ask for more help and keep your campaign at the top of their minds. Be the squeaky wheel, but be supportive and grateful as well. Ask folks who are supporters at the door to do more and volunteer. The big secret to organizing is not being afraid to ask. I have found some of my best campaign volunteers by asking people to knock on doors with me, and it worked extremely well. Find folks from the last good campaign in the area. When I was managing campaigns, I would find out who managed the last well run campaign in town. I would call the managers and field organizers and ask them who their best volunteers were then I would call them. Still can't get volunteers? Pay a stipend to get more time from good volunteers. But be careful, paid staff can be great, but you need to make sure you have the budget to pay them. Set real goals for canvassing and events. There is nothing like an ambitious goal and organizers competing to achieve it, to get campaigns moving. Besides these tips, make sure you are staying organized and being clear with your volunteers. If you are not organized, you might be able to get volunteers to start, but you won't likely get them back. Have questions about volunteer recruitment tactics?  Our Fall 2017 Advocacy Training is coming up! Join us October 24-25th in Austin, Texas, for a training that will give you all the tools you need to make a difference in your community Mon, 04 Sep 2017 08:00:21 EDT
Know Your Advocacy Metrics Joe Fuld Advocacy Metrics Matter  No matter how many advocacy campaigns you have done, people will always have a ton of questions about advocacy metrics to judge how successfully those campaigns were run, and if they were effective. They'll ask me questions like: How many petitions were signed?   How many patch-through calls were made? How many folks called their legislators? How many constituents visited their legislator?  How many supporters do we have in key legislative districts?  My answer to these questions rely on good campaign metrics. We all know that advocacy metrics matter, and it's a key component to a successful advocacy campaign.  From my point of view, practices such as recording advocacy metrics and analyzing the overall advocacy campaign have not been incorporated in campaigns as much as they should be. Setting goals and incorporating the measurement of key performance indicators (KPI) are needed in an advocacy campaign. That said, to know if you are making progress in your advocacy campaign, you need to understand the data you have, make sure it is accurate, and understand what steps need to be done next to achieve your campaign's goals.  Just like in political campaigns, perfect numbers don’t exist in the real world, and you're not going to find perfect numbers in your advocacy campaign. Understanding your advocacy metrics (and making sure they’re grounded in reality, even if it’s painful) will make the difference between winning and losing an advocacy campaign. Advocacy Metrics That Most Campaigns Track: So what advocacy metrics should you track during your advocacy campaign? Here are a few important ones: Time  How long do you have to implement your campaign? When is a vote happening on your issue? Committee vote? Floor vote? How much time do you really have?  Petition Sign Ups Having a program for petition sign ups can be great growth for your campaign and an excellent way to build on and off line action. How many petitions have been signed? Patch-Through Calls to Legislators Knowing what type of pressure law makers are feeling is a critical step. How many patch-through calls have been made? Member Calls to Legislators Beyond regular voters, keep a separate count of member action.  How many of your organization's members called their legislators?  Constituent and Member Visits Having a lobbyist visit a legislator is a good idea, but it is not as powerful as having their constituents or your organizations members who live in their district, come to their offices to lobby. Tracking how many constituents have visited their legislator is hard to track, but a fundamental metric to keep an estimate of.  Knowing what kind of engagement you have created among constituents and members can be crucial to your issue's legislative chances. It can also help you build real member power for your organization. Advocates by District How many supporters do you have in key legislative districts? What type of list building do you need in those districts?  Daily/Weekly Fundraising Every time I talk to my candidates I ask them this question: How much money did you raise today? Fundraising is not something you can put off until next week or next month. If you put in the call-time, it will pay off. But you have to chip away at it. Setting clear daily and monthly goals will help to keep you and your campaign on track. Number of Repeat Donors Beyond knowing how many donors an organization or advocacy campaign has, I like campaigns to be able to tell me how many donors have given more than once. Here is why: re-solicitation is the lifeblood of a campaign, and it can be telling about the advocacy campaign. If donors have given more than once, it is often a sign that a campaign has their shit together. If the number of donors is small and the repeat donors list is small, it’s likely that folks are not as committed. Advocacy Metrics That Most Folks Don't Track but Should: Advocacy Conversions Tracking conversions for fundraising is a growing norm for us, but it is critical for campaigns of all varieties. Active In-District Supporters Donors + volunteers + hard positive IDs + real action-takers (more than friending and following) = active supporters. How many of them do you have? Overrated Advocacy Metrics: List size Many nonprofits and advocacy groups think total list size is an important metric. It is not. If you have a list of 50,000 but less than half have opened an email in a year, you need to purge your list and focus on real engagement. An active, engaged list matters. Inactive names on a list can be a drain on your resources.  Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers Just like emails, social media followers are overrated metrics. Focus on your engaged list. Yes, having a large audience can help your organization, but only if they are engaged. Make sure you have an ongoing strategy to keep your list as engaged as possible.  To learn more about advocacy metrics and how to run a winning advocacy campaign, check out our latest ebook: The Complete Guide to Digital Advocacy in Trump's America      Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:00:11 EDT
Resist List: Join Us Join The Resist List: It has been a tough year since the election and although it often feels like the Trump administration attacks our values, and little by little erode our democratic institutions, there is hope. There are millions of Americans working around the clock to make sure that each day is better than the last. That the fundamental values of our nation are still there tomorrow and our nation's motto stands true: Out of Many, One. Here at The Campaign Workshop, we love and know advocacy. Throughout our years being a part of successful campaigns, small and big, we’ve gotten to know the work of some great organizations that do amazing work for their communities, states, and our country. That is where you come in. Let us know if you would like to be a part of our resist list, and let's inspire each other to make this nation more welcoming, better, and peaceful place.       Mon, 28 Aug 2017 08:00:03 EDT
Political Tactics to use on Your Campaign Website: The Campaign Workshop Top 5 Political Tactics to boost your political campaign website:  The political website: it’s a requirement for any candidate for office, but that doesn’t mean it should be just another item to check off your to-do list! Being intentional when setting up your website by keeping a few key political tactics in mind will ensure that you are providing voters with an enjoyable, engaging, cohesive experience.  A few political tactics to keep in mind when designing your political website: A Cohesive Look: Campaign websites should be a direct reflection of the candidate and the message. It should prominently feature your logo and photos that are stylistically similar to what you’re using in mail and digital ads. Think about font and color choices, too. Again, you’ll want this to meld well with the rest of your communication mediums and project a certain image of you as a candidate. You’re promoting a brand, and that brand is you!  Feature Your Social Media:  If you don’t have social media accounts for your campaign, you’re wrong. And if you don’t have social feeds or links to social built into your website, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to engage with voters. Featuring your social media accounts on your site will encourage voters to follow you on those accounts, creating a connection that will be more routine and natural.  Optimize for Mobile:  In this day and age, people use their phones in the same way they use their laptops. Meaning that if your website isn’t built to look good on a phone, you’re not going to be making the best impression with a fair share of voters. Make sure to talk with your website people about building a responsive design.  Call to Action Buttons:  Donate! Sign Up! You want to make it incredibly easy for people to become more involved in your campaign. Obtaining donations and voluntary information through call-to-action buttons is an effortless way to help build your list.  Edit, Edit, Edit:  It should sound like common sense, and it probably is, but nothing should go on your campaign website without being thoroughly proofread first! Typos and grammatical errors will not wow potential voters. Editing also provides one last opportunity to make sure that what your content is clear and consistent with the overall campaign message.  Have questions on political tactics? Comment below! Be sure to check out our advocacy training here! Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:15:28 EDT
Online Video Platform Spotlight: Wistia Vs. Youtube Andrea Mucino Online Video Platforms: Top 5 Reasons We Love Wistia instead of YOUTube At The Campaign Workshop, we always love hearing about and trying out new online video platform to help us and our clients. One online video platform we absolutely love and were able to learn more about is Wistia. As video becomes increasingly important in content marketing, Wisitia does what most video tools can't do- help you increase your site’s SEO through their platform. Check out the reasons why we love Wisitia below, and be sure to check out our videos on our website ( spoiler alert: they’re hosted by Wistia!) 1. The main difference between Youtube and Wistia Wistia has the ability to redirect viewers to your website. Youtube is structured so that your video will drive traffic to Youtube and viewers will stay on YouTube watching other videos rather than clicking through your site and taking in your other content. 2. Wistia gives you in depth video analytics There are engagement graphs to show how engaged your viewer is throughout the video, heat maps to see individual viewer insights, and summaries of visitors, play rates, hours watched and the number of plays. 3.Wistia and Calls to Action Wistia gives you the ability to include a clickable call to action any time throughout your video. As discussed in calls, inserting a call to action can help build lists, see if your content can engage members or volunteers, and drive more traffic to your website. 4.SEO & Wistia Wistia’s platform is built to increase SEO of your site via video. Metadata is quick and easy to add, making it easier for your videos to rank on google and other search engines. 5.Wisitia can embed in emails Videos can go directly into your emails with an automatically generated code. A great feature to use that will increase viewership of a video, as well as offer another outlet for people to be redirected to your website. More options:  Check out Vimeo Pro - it has similar functionality to Wistia but the big drawback is that it does not drive SEO to your site - bottom line we like Wistia the best but be on the look out for more reviews.  Have any questions about your digital tools and online video platform? Comment below! If you haven’t yet, check out our online Wistia page here.   Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:00:16 EDT
Paid Media vs Earned Media: How do they fit into a campaign budget? The Campaign Workshop Author: Kate Jahries  Campaign Budget: Media Basics To Consider When Building Your Budget You’ve decided to run for office - congratulations! You’re probably wondering how to get your message out to the community, and you might be a little overwhelmed by all your options. it's time for your campaign budget to come to to the rescue.  In today’s landscape, it’s not enough to place an ad in one location and assume that potential voters will see it. Using a strategic communications plan involving both paid and earned media will give your campaign the best chance to reach a wide audience, so it’s important to take that into account when building your campaign budget.      Here are a few tips about the differences between paid and earned media, and how you should be using them in your campaign:      Paid Media Paid media includes the more traditional forms of political advertising: Think digital, print, television, and radio ads. This category would also include direct mail. All of these options have their pros and cons, which you can read more about in this breakdown of political advertising mediums. As its name implies, paid media costs money. When planning your campaign budget, it’s important to consider paid media expenses. You should plan to use about 70% of your budget on political communications.  We recommend choosing one dominant paid communications medium, as well as a secondary paid medium. This way, your message is being reinforced across multiple platforms, but you’re also not stretching yourself too thin by attempting to do too much. The best campaigns know that a voter needs to see or hear their message several times (about 12) for it to really sink in, and purchasing enough ad space for that to happen can be expensive. Spending on more than two or three communications mediums likely won’t buy you enough repetition to effectively get your message across and would be a waste of your campaign budget. Keep in mind that paid media does not include any bumper stickers, yard signs, fundraising letters, billboards, or literature. If you plan on buying any of those items, they will need to be a separate component of your budget.  Earned Media Earned media is great because it’s free! When a newspaper writes about your campaign, or a reporter tweets about you, that’s earned media. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is the easier route. Generating earned media requires spending resources other than money: time and effort. You have to invest time into developing positive relationships with local reporters and effort into creating buzz.  Earned media can help your budget stretch a lot further, so it’s important for your campaign to implement a strategy for who is going to make it happen and how. There should be a person on your campaign staff whose role includes talking to reporters and issuing press releases. Other tools they should consider using include op-eds, letters to the editor, and social media. Social media, in particular, is an amazingly simple and popular way to communicate with the public, and you should have accounts on multiple platforms (whichever ones your community members are likely to be on). Just make sure these releases and posts are being written and timed thoughtfully, with specific outcomes in mind.  Remember: The only hard and fast rule is that around 70% of your campaign budget should be going towards paid media. The breakdown of which mediums and platforms you choose to focus on might be a little different than a campaign in another town or state. Find out what’s going to work for you, in your community.     Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:00:56 EDT
Nonpolitical Books for the End of Summer Joe Fuld Join the TCW Book Club! Check out these end of summer Nonpolitical Books:  When you get into politics, you can have tunnel vision.  Binge watching House of Cards and the West Wing is not going to help you run a better campaign or advocacy organization. The fact is, campaigns are like running a small business. Here is a list of business books that have inspired and would be good reads as you move into the end of the summer.  Delivering Happiness-  Tony Hsieh If you have spoken to me in the past 5 years you know I am obsessed with company culture. Whether you are running a nonprofit, advocacy or political campaign, how you treat your team matters. The folks at Zappos understand the ROI of a good company culture and can teach it better than anyone I have met.  The Art of the Start- Guy Kawasaki Want to build a campaign, a ballot measure, a movement? Go build, don't wait. This simple, clear book stresses doing as much as planning.  The Pumpkin Plan- Mike Michalowicz Get distracted by minor details?  Can't focus on the big picture? This book is for you. It talks about how to build a business or campaign by focusing on what really matters.  The Obstacle is the Way-  Ryan Holiday Turn your problems into solutions. Many times in campaigns and issues we come across perceived obstacles, but we can harness the power of those obstacles to propel us forward.  Setting the Table- Daniel Meyer  Like shake shack? Find out why they have a great team and a great approach. Good customer service is needed as much in a congressional office as it is in a restaurant.  The Dream Manager- Matthew Kelly Another obsession of mine is mentorship. This fictionalized account of a company that invests in the future of its employees translates well to politics, campaigns consulting and nonprofits. By working with your team achieve their goals, you can succeed at anything.  The Charisma Myth- Olivia Fox Cabane Charisma is a gift, but it is not just something that is innate. You can learn and hone the traits that we define as charisma. Check it out.  Trust Me I Am Lying- Ryan Holiday Not exactly a typical campaign book but a great take on the way the media landscape has changed and how reactive it is.  Confessions of an Advertising Man- David Ogilvy It is a great book some of it is very dated but still very relevant as far as how to approach creative and engage with clients.  Never Eat Alone- Keith Ferrazzi This is a great book on building a network and training how to engage with your network.  Standout- Dorie Clark A former Comms director Dorie Clark has done a great job of teaching folks how to build a personal brand. Check it out.  Ask More- Frank Sesno I love this book. Asking folks questions is something we all do in our lives and our work, but it is not something we think about. Frank Sesno guides us through the art of being intentional in the way we ask questions  Bonus book:  The Righteous Mind- Jonathan Haidt Want to know why your born again Christian aunt feels the way she does? This book does a great job of diving into a religious mindset.  I am sure I have missed some good ones. Tell me your favorites here: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:02 EDT

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