MdP – STATE-OF-THE-ART POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING: 5 Things NOT to do

Political campaign management is a complicated thing. Your organization has a finite amount of cash, volunteers, and time that are hard to recover – polling day waits for no one and making mistakes can be costly.

To help you avoid some of the biggest and most wasteful pitfalls that far too many campaigns fall into, here are 5 things NOT to do when managing your campaign this cycle:

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Mistake 1:
Have a Casual Attitude Toward Fundraising

Your campaign can’t hire staff, place ads, send mail, or do much of anything for that matter without money – so take your fundraising seriously. Too often, campaigns start their fundraising too late or fail to commit the necessary resources to hit their fundraising goals.

Weak fundraising means your campaign won’t have the necessary funds to ramp up when the time comes. Your fundraising abilities aren’t a secret. Opponents and outside groups will see your financial reports, and weak fundraising can snowball into larger problems, while a strong showing sends an important signal.

Mistake 2:
Set Unrealistic Goals

Whether it is fundraising, volunteer recruitment, or voter turnout – goals are key. Failing to set clear, realistic goals is like driving for 9 hours without a clear destination in mind and expecting to get somewhere you want to be.

Just setting final campaign goals is not enough either. Be sure to set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals so that you know your trajectory, and can adjust long-term goals and strategy accordingly.

Lastly, make sure your goals take into account the resources you actually have. You can’t do ten mailings to everyone in your district if you don’t have the budget for it, and you can’t knock every door in the district if you only have the volunteer hours to knock a quarter of the doors. So be realistic and set your targets well. That way you’ll be working smarter, not harder.

Mistake 3:
Failing to Stick to Your Budget

I know, those beer cozies with your candidate’s name on them are pretty sweet, but is it in the budget? Every dollar spent on unnecessary expenditures is money that can’t be used to communicate with voters.

It’s critical that your campaign has a well thought out, realistic budget that can be adjusted based on the changing realities of your campaign. Create a budget early and stick to it, even if you need to make adjustments. The last thing you want is to find yourself having to cut your GOTV program because you wanted to have those sweet cozies.

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Mistake 4:
Ignoring GOTV

It’s the week before the election. You and your team have done tons of work to convince voters that your candidate is the best choice. Well, don’t just stand there, get them out to vote!

GOTV stands for Get Out The Vote, and it’s critical to winning any campaign – particularly if it’s a close race. Too often, campaigns will fail to plan a solid GOTV strategy. You need to make sure that you have plans in place to get out your base voters (the voters your campaign has identified as supporting your candidate, as well as voters who meet the criteria of being a supporter) with a series of direct voter contacts.

Remember, the more personal the contact the more of an impact it has on a voter’s likelihood of getting to a polling place, and casting a vote for your candidate.

It’s also important to note that GOTV isn’t just for election day anymore. Back in the day, GOTV was just for polling day itself, but now it can start 30 days out or more due to early voting, vote by mail, and election protection efforts.

It’s important to know the rules specific to your locality because they can work for you, or against you. A campaign manager may have worked campaigns in numerous states, but every state is different.

For example, you don’t want to plan a major voter registration drive and then realize it’s days after the deadline for registration has passed. On the other hand, knowing that your opponent didn’t get enough official signatures to be on the ballot could be quite helpful.

Mistake 5:
Failing to Say Thank You

The two most important words in your campaign are ‘thank you’. Campaigns ask a lot from a lot of different people, whether it’s money from donors, time from volunteers, or endorsements from elected officials and outside groups.

Failing to thank the people who support you is one of the best ways to make sure that support isn’t there next time you need it. Donors should get thank you cards, there should be special events and election night parties for the volunteers who gave you their precious time, and organizations and elected officials who supported you should be thanked publicly, whether you win or lose.


Your campaign will have a lot of tough decisions to make over the course of the election. There will be a lot on your plate. By avoiding some the pitfalls above you’ll have more of the time, money, and momentum that you’ll need to win.

by DREW BALL + JOHN MIYASATO

MdP – STATE-OF-THE-ART POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING: Terrible Campaign Advices for First-Time Candidates

Michael’s remark: The ways and means of political campaigns are changing dramatically. And the management of election campaigns is developing rapidly also. MdP will report state-of-the-art ideas and innovations to enable political professionals to be inspired and for the interested public to understand developments that might be surprising.

Even though this article was written in the US the statements are still true and valid for political campaigns in Germany and the European Union as well. 

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Being mislead as a first-time candidate

If you’re a first-time candidate, you’ll soon discover that a lot of people are going to give you their two cents about your campaign. The thing is, many of them have no idea what they’re talking about.

Here are five terrible pieces of advice that you are likely to hear, and the facts that you need to remember.

Terrible Advice 1:
Hire me as your campaign manager

It’s amazing how often this happens. The friend of a candidate thinks he/she has what it takes to be a manager, often based on what they’ve seen on TV. Unless that person is a seasoned political professional, don’t hire them — especially not for a high-level role. Put someone with experience in charge. They should make the hiring recommendations from there.

Terrible Advice 2:
Do the things that Obama/Bernie/Trump did

Presidential races are not like races for other offices. The news media are consumed by presidential campaigns, but rarely cover races for Congress or the state Legislature. Even the most competitive campaigns won’t allow you to change the broader narrative of our politics, unless you’re running for president. Use successful tactics from races for governor, Congress, or local office in your area instead.

Terrible Advice 3: 
Don’t worry about the campaign yet, you have plenty of time

A campaign is the worst thing to procrastinate on. It’s not college. There’s no extension past Election Day. Time is the only resource a campaign has that is finite and declining. Fundraising will take up most of your time when you run for office, so it’s best to do it now so later you can spend more time talking to voters.

Terrible Advice 4: 
Money isn’t going to win this election

While it’s true that the candidate who raises the most money doesn’t always win, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to raise money. Fundraising is going to be a serious part of your time during the campaign, unless you have the personal economic security to fund it all by yourself. Don’t let some adages about past candidates winning with less money drive you to be complacent. Take fundraising seriously.

Terrible Advice 5:
That doesn’t work here

This is a favorite of political professionals because we hear it from locals everywhere. The truth is that each state and district is unique and has a somewhat unique political culture that you have to respect. But when people try to dissuade you from using tried-and-true methods of getting votes, it’s more likely that the tactics are seen as ineffective to them personally, and not to the electorate at large.

published on: Campaignsandelections.com
written by: 
Dave Broker is the managing director of HSG Campaigns and is based in Sacramento, California.

MdP – STATE-OF-THE-ART POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING: Action Taken after Seeing a Political TV Ad

Michael’s remark: The ways and means of political campaigns are changing dramatically. And the management of election campaigns is developing rapidly also. MdP will report state-of-the-art ideas and innovations to enable political professionals to be inspired and for the interested public to understand developments that might be surprising.

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Source: GFK Voting Funnel Research
Infographic by: campaignsandelections.com

MdP – STATE-OF-THE-ART POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING: How many Screens Does it Take to Win an Election?

Michael’s remark: The ways and means of political campaigns are changing dramatically. And the management of election campaigns is developing rapidly also. MdP will report state-of-the-art ideas and innovations to enable political professionals to be inspired and for the interested public to understand developments that might be surprising. 

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click this link to get to poster version of the infographic

Google has been pulling some data on the elections from its massive search database. Their Google Politics & Elections page has been active throughout this campaign season.

There is some thought that trend data — followers, fans, search queries — will be able to predict the outcome of the elections. While this remains to be seen, Google has been able to measure interest in topics with a high degree of accuracy by tracking search terms related to each candidate.

Google closely examined campaign awareness when candidates used one screen (the television) versus four screens (television, mobile device, tablet and personal computer). They noted that voters responded well to content delivered to the device of their choice, and engagement increased 77 percent. Further research showed that “voters use an average of 14.7 sources of information to help make their candidate selection and are connected to multiple devices throughout the day.” This data contributed to the development of a tool Google refers to as “Four Screens of Victory.”

by: StateTech – by Jimmy Daly Twitter – Jimmy is a writer and editor who publishes a weekly newsletter. You can find him on Twitter.