Data, Data, Data
Data is critical to any winning campaign. It is THE component, in fact.
So how should campaigns acquire and deal with the data question?
We're glad you asked because we are here to provide answers.
A lot of fledgling campaigns face mind lock when it comes to the question, "Where do we start?"
Start with your data. What office are you running for? City Council, school board or another local office? Go to your county or municipal election board and request a data set that fits your campaign.
What do we mean by that? When you contact the local/municipal/county election board, ask for all active voters who have voted in the last 4-6 local elections. By local elections we mean city council races, school board or ISD elections, bond elections-any time the polls have opened locally and a voter has voted in them, you want that voter's history!!
On top of that, add some state legislature and federal election history. While most local elections are non-partisan, generally everyone knows which side of the ideological aisle a candidate is coming from and you do as well. Ask for, at a minimum, the last two election cycles, both primary and general elections. This gives you another layer of voting history that is so critical to establishing the universe of voters you need to win.
And why is establishing your universe of voters at the very beginning of your campaign so important? It eliminates campaign waste. You will now exactly how many voters you need to persuade into your column.
You can then create a campaign budget. If the universe is small enough, you are likely going to spend money knocking on doors (maybe with even a few paid block walkers) and a few postcards. If it's bigger than a few thousand, your target universe will help you establish how many pieces of mail you need to send. And if you are using CampaignSidekick and know where the voters are that you need to win, you can then potentially look at a few radio ads with stations that cover that geography!
Data is important to campaigns. Establishing the RIGHT data and universes at the start of a campaign is the difference between winning and losing.