Recently a student at Queens University, Stephen Crotty, reached out to The Campaign Workshop with questions for his paper on political writing. Stephen’s questions were really thoughtful and forced me think critically about some of the things I do when communicating for politics. Stephen kindly agreed to let us repost his questions and my responses as a 7 questions post.
What are the most prevalent genres of writing that workers in political campaigns encounter?
A lot of groups and organizations come to us for advice on building an effective digital advocacy campaign on a limited budget. Our clients are tackling the issues that matter, from addressing our climate crisis to protecting women’s reproductive rights to advancing paid family leave polices. That said, dollars for digital advocacy don’t grow on trees. Our number one piece of advice for any organization that wants to make headway in engaging folks online is to prioritize your goals to set yourself up for success.
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.
With the first Democratic debate quickly approaching, let's discuss the importance of a strong campaign message. Presidential debates are a great way to learn what to do and what not to do. Staying on message is an art form, whether you are in politics, advocacy or in business. Below are a few best practices for staying on message.
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.
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.
Open up Your Campaign Toolbox, What Will You Find?
We understand what it’s like to operate a campaign on a tight budget, so we’ve found some free tools to include in your campaign toolbox to help you along the way. We hope you will find them useful as you launch your campaign or look for ways to better organize it. to ve clear no campaign tool will solve all of your campaigns problems. Whether fundraising for a nonprofit, managing an independent expenditure campaign, or seeking office, a few of these tools will surely help you along your way.
Online advocacy, digital advocacy whatever you call it we love it. These days, it seems like the options for any given online advocacy campaign are boundless. Do you cookie target? Geo-fence? Maybe hang out in the world of IP zone targeting? There’s always something new and different, and it can be overwhelming. One of the fairly simple choices you can make when you’re thinking about an online advocacy campaign is whether you want to buy through a specific publication, a network, or some combination of both.
While it’s true that the world of online advertising is fast-paced, and it certainly gives us information much more quickly than any other medium, banking on instantaneous traction is a good way to fall short of your goals. This is because online advertising is not a synonym for instant. Planning ahead will give you time to really define your goals and make sure your campaign has the right components and the right timeline to achieve them.
Where some sites, like Facebook, get ads up and running quickly with very little turnaround time, others, like Google, have an internal review process that can sometimes take a couple of business days. If you’re trying to run a online advertising campaign that lasts a week, and you’ve only given yourself 24 hours lead time, you will end up eating into some of that run time.
Over the last two Presidential election cycles, the Obama campaign has done some really innovative work online. There has been a lot of discussion in the progressive community about how other campaigns and organizations can take some of these tactics and apply them to their own causes. While it’s true that not all campaigns will have access to the same resources – budget, consultants, in-house staff – that the Obama campaign did, there are still some great lessons that can be applied to your campaign, regardless of size. One of the biggest takeaways from the campaign that can easily be applied to campaigns and organizations of all sizes is testing. The Obama campaign took testing to another level and tested everything from emails to online ads.
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.