Political Campaign Plan: How Do I Write a Winning Campaign Plan?
Developing a Political Campaign Plan Will Help You Stay Organized
Writing a political campaign plan is one of the first steps you should complete after deciding to run for office. In fact, some candidates might work with a team to write a plan before they decide to run for office.
Writing a campaign plan can be a daunting, but fun task. The development process should include several different steps and include people other than the candidate.
Before we get started on outlining all of the different steps to develop a campaign plan, you’ll want to include these elements in your political campaign plan: strategic summary, vote goal, targeting, field, budget and fundraising, message and research, earned and paid media, timeline, and campaign plan.
This should be a brief summary at the beginning of your campaign plan that helps summarize your campaign’s goals and describes the campaign’s strategy.
Your vote goal is simple – it’s the number of votes it will take you to win your campaign. Make sure you account for potential future challenges, whether it’s a small or large field. Also, account for opponents to drop out – it happens more than you think.
This part of your political campaign plan will outline who you need to target to win—which doors you need to knock, which voters you need to call, which voters become your persuasion targets, and which voters need an extra push on Election Day.
Your voter contact and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) strategy are critical to your campaign. This should outline how you will reach voters – canvassing, phones, direct mail, digital, etc.
Budget and Fundraising
Two of the most important components of your political campaign plan, budget and fundraising are a general plan for how much you believe your campaign will bring in, and how much you believe your campaign will raise – or your fundraising goals. Linked to your fundraising goals should be your campaign budget (I recommend several, that reflect different raise amounts), which is a month-by-month plan of what money you need to spend and on what. For some more information on fundraising, check out our blog posts: Fundraising: Do I Need Campaign Call Time?, What Does a Campaign Fundraiser Do?, and Improve Call Time with the RAT Method.
Your political campaign plan should include an overview of your campaign message, which is a general overview of why you are running and what you will do if elected.
Paid and Earned Media
As a political consultant, we love paid media, but is it right for you? In this part of your political campaign plan, you’ll want to outline how you will spend your money on paid media. Also, you’ll want to lay out how you will generate free, earned media and who will handle areas such as talking to reporters.
Your timeline is a critical piece of your political campaign plan: When will you announce, when will you send press releases, when is your call-time scheduled, when will you send fundraising or update emails, when will you start spending money on paid media? All of these questions will be answered in your timeline.
Your campaign team needs to work on this plan with you. Picking and having the right team from campaign planning to execution can make the win possible. For a more in-depth analysis of who should be on your team, check out our post on Campaign Staff Structure.
Building your political campaign plan will take some time, but it is worth it. Proactive politics is better than reactive. To find out more about writing your political campaign plan, check out our other post on 10 Questions Your Campaign Plan Should Address.