How I Learned Grassroots Campaigns from the Master
Every Fourth of July, I think about my former boss, Congressman Jim Jontz. Jim taught me the importance of grassroots campaigns - real conversations, and knocking on doors. Jim was a congressman from Indiana’s 5th district and a progressive legend. In his first campaign, he won a state representative seat by 4 votes. He went on to win a state senate seat by less than 100 hundred votes and three congressional elections by less than four thousand votes total. He was my mentor and teacher in the world of grassroots campaigns.
I, along with many future campaign operatives, got my start in politics by doing field work for Jim Jontz in a rural Indiana district. There, I spent six months of my life organizing volunteers and knocking on doors and got a great apprenticeship in how to run grassroots campaigns.
Member public affairs strategies can be an amazing way to move your issue forward. Membership organizations should have a head start when it comes to public affairs strategies, but that head start is often complicated. Membership organizations tend to have bureaucratic structures that make it difficult to work nimbly, especially when it comes to public affairs. Because of this, some member organizations have avoided using member-based public affairs strategies and they are missing out.
Here are some ways to use your membership to enhance public affairs strategies by turning them into member public affairs strategies.
By the title, this could be the shortest post in the history of our blog. The typical answer to this question, and the way I teach candidates about political campaigns, is that a political candidate has two jobs: to raise money and meet voters. But these tasks are easier said than done.
A political candidate’s perspective is that message, fundraising, and strategy come from her or him, so not involving the political candidate in those decisions could be disastrous. Anyone who has been involved in a political campaign knows there are many levels of involvement. So let's dig into it. I’ll chat about the candidates role in each element of a campaign and some of the pressure points in between.
The Campaign E-Book Candidates Running for Office Needs To Read!
Running for office or working on a campaign? Six months ago, we released our fifth e-book “Ready, Set, Go! Jumpstart Your Political Campaign.” As candidates all across the country are beginning their campaigns, we wanted to reintroduce you to some of the e-book highlights.
Much has been said about political email, especially as it grows in popularity. Email is certainly not going anywhere and political email has proven to be an effective tool in both recruiting supporters and raising money for your campaign. It’s important to pay attention to all aspects of your email, but how much attention should be paid to the sender?
In my 20 years working in politics, I have seen a lot of things change. Technology in particular has done a lot to change the way that we communicate with voters. Yet somehow, we in politics have access to more information about our audience than ever before, but our audience engagement is at an all time low.
That’s because politics relies on the same tools we always have: TV, radio, door-to-door, mail and now digital ads. Campaigns are missing an important piece of the puzzle: content marketing.
Digital Political Advertising Plans Are a Must for 2016
As we move into the heart of the 2016 election cycle, more folks are spending time and resources on digital political advertising. We have been involved in digital political ads since 2003, and the focus on digital political advertising has been slow but growing.
Your nonprofit facebook ad will need an image to display on users newsfeeds or right-hand rails. In a platform like Facebook, where viewers are accustomed to scrolling continuously, you’re going to need an image that is arresting enough to stop the scroll. Make sure the photo or illustration you use has a clear focal point that is either intriguing or easily recognizable and relevant to a viewer’s interests. If you sell shoes, pick your snazziest pair, put them on a clean background that shows them off. If you’re running for office, you could use an image of a local landmark or a picture of a well-known person who is endorsing you. Whatever image you choose, make sure it is arresting, and communicates something important about you, your cause, or your business.
How Democrats Can Jumpstart Their Campaigns for the Future
Races are heating up, but there are a number of exciting opportunities for Democrats up and down the ticket. Here are some tips to jumpstart your Democratic campaign:
1. Do a thorough self-assessment. Are you ready to run? Does your family support you? Does your community support you? Have you done your politics? These are important questions to ask and know the answer to before you even file to run. If you can confidently answer, “yes” to these questions, you are ready to jumpstart your campaign.
2. Plan, plan, plan! The biggest mistake a candidate can make is failing to create a campaign plan. Your campaign plan should include a vote goal, budget, timeline, and message. Campaigns themselves are living, breathing animals once they heat up, but your campaign plan should pretty much stay the same.
3. Focus on the right stuff. It’s really easy to get caught up in the back and forth of a heated race and allow that to throw you off course. The best Democratic campaigns stay focused on directly communicating their message with targeted voters and turning them out. Period. Everything else is just noise.
4. Do the work. Running for office is hard. Doing what it takes to win is often even harder. Spending hours on the phone, asking for money every single day, is tough. Knocking on every targeted voters door is exhausting. But this is usually what it takes to win. The best way to jumpstart your campaign is to embrace the work and lean into it. You’re probably running because you want to represent your community—use this time to get to know them and ask them to join your campaign.
Some of the Most Innovative Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Your Creativity
Our third installment of our picks for innovative nonprofit marketing campaigns is here to inspire your creativity. This time, we have chosen four creative advertising campaigns that incorporate direct mail, video, and print advertising to convey important messages.
Our team is made up of amazing creative, organizational, and political consulting talent committed to achieving political and advocacy goals. We have worked for candidates and causes, big and small, all across the country.