Building Your Campaign Pyramid, Part 2

Now that you have your campaign up and running inside CampaignSidekick, what are your next steps?

Let’s start with the three most valuable resources a campaign can have: Time, Money and Volunteers.

Maybe you can win with just one of those (Money), but if you want to guarantee electoral success, you will need all three. One of the more recent examples of a candidate trying to win with just money was David Dewhurst, then the Lt. Governor of Texas, in the 2012 United States Senate Campaign. Spending almost $25M of his own money, Dewhurst surrounded himself with various consultants who wanted to spend his money on TV, radio and mail. His opponent, now Senator Ted Cruz, built his campaign from the ground up with thousands of volunteers and a targeted grassroots plan. He also raised millions of dollars, but nowhere near the war chest that Dewhurst had. In a crowded primary, Cruz finished second to Dewhurst and forced a runoff and three months later, on the strength of his ground game, won going away.

Which brings us to Time. As we mentioned last week, a lot of candidates and campaigns think Get Out The Vote work is reserved for the last few weeks of a campaign. The ones that think that (see the above) are usually on the losing end of the election season.

You as a candidate will never have enough Time to fully ID and engage the voters in the race you are hoping to win, which means your voter ID program has to start on Day One of your campaign. No campaign will ever have the time to run the perfect voter ID program. But campaigns that commit to voter ID programs through CampaignSidekick will have the chance to run really good ones. And that is what you as a candidate need to commit to: running the best voter ID program you possibly can.

Once you have committed to doing that, break down the precincts you need to win. How many of them are there? How many votes do you need in each one? Do you have a visual reminder of this? If not, go grab a precinct map at your county election  board. Laminate it. Stick in on the wall of your campaign HQ and write your Vote Goal totals on each precinct you need to win.

You now need the volunteers to contact those voters. Who are your precinct captains? Who is running your volunteer outreach and management program (do not underestimate the need for this!)? You will need a precinct captain or two in every precinct you want to win. These are people committed to helping your campaign win and committed to executing the plan, i.e. voter ID. Working with them, your volunteer coordinator needs to help them recruit teams to hit X number of doors each week. Know that statistically, you will have a 30-35% rate of voters actually home who will have a conversation with a volunteer. A conversation with a voter often means survey answers collected. Do not allow your campaign to get away with just leaving literature and counting that as voter contact! It is not. Most of those lit pieces will end up in the trash with barely a glance.

The more survey answers collected, the more informed the campaign becomes, not just daily, but hourly, as voters call into tagged categories inside CampaignSidekick. Who are your undecided voters? Who are your decided voters? Are they already voting for you? If so, what are their top issues, the ones that motivate them?

The more data you collect, the more granular it becomes and the more effective and efficient your campaign is.