Grassroots Campaigns: a Political Memory

grassroots campaigns memories

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.

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Winning Advocacy Strategies for 2015 and Beyond

Advocacy Strategies for 2015 and beyond

The Evolution of Advocacy Strategies

Advocacy strategies have changed a lot over the last 20 years. When I was a chief of staff in the New York State Legislature, I don't remember there ever being a real advocacy campaign around public support of an issue that focused on legislators. The main way groups moved legislation was to hire a lobbyist and that was really it. There were occasional print ads and lobby days, but day-to-day mass contact from constituents that were driven by member groups were few and far between. Today, we spend a lot of time running advocacy campaigns on the state level.  Issue advocacy tactics that were once only used on large, federal issues are now seen on smaller federal issues as well as state and municipal issues.

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Engaging Your Campaign Supporter List

campaign supporter racoon

Building a Campaign Supporter List: Keep Your Campaign Supporters Engaged!

Your organization has developed a strong campaign supporter list. That’s great news! Now let’s make sure we keep your campaign supporters involved with your campaign or cause. Email is undoubtedly one effective method of communicating with your campaign supporters. There are, however, a variety of other ways to engage with your campaign supporter list as well. Here are a few suggestions:

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Volunteer Recruitment 101

Volunteer Recruitment 101 Image

Campaign Tips: Volunteer Recruitment 101

In a perfect world, a flood of volunteers would fight their way through the door the minute your grassroots campaign launched. In reality, however, volunteer recruitment is one of the most arduous challenges of a grassroots field campaign. And unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Recruitment takes hard work and needs to be tailor fit to the dynamics and the personality of each turf.  With those caveats in mind, below are a few general tips to start off the volunteer recruitment process.

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Tips to Mitigate Volunteer Flake Rate in Your Grassroots Campaign

5 Tips for Reducing Campaign Volunteer Flake Rate

Stop Grassroots Volunteers From Bailing

 Running a grassroots campaign is hard. There are always going to be grassroots volunteers who sign up for shifts and do not show up. That’s why when organizing an event, you can generally assume a 50% flake rate (percentage of grassroots volunteers who do not show up for their shift).  More often than not, however, with the right coaxing, you can get a volunteer, who would have otherwise failed, to turn out for their shift. Below are a few suggestions to help you to mitigate your flake rate.

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