11 Best Campaign Ideas Not Used By Most Campaigns
|There are certain campaign tactics that are used in almost every campaign: Yard Signs, Bumper Stickers, a literature piece, broadcast advertising, etc. However, this article isn’t about those. Instead it’s about 11 of the best ideas I’ve run across over the years that don’t happen to get used in most campaigns.
These ideas are generally affordable and they’re effective at either getting a message out or helping to raise name identification. As you look for ways to help your campaign stand out, or run a more effective effort, consider integrating these tactics and strategies into your campaign plan.
1. Car Toppers
Car Toppers are similar to Yard Signs except they’re displayed on top of a car rather than in a yard. In most cases, the sign rests on a frame, and something soft is used to attach it to the roof or a luggage rack.
Their shape is usually triangular with the point facing the front so they ride aerodynamically. With this triangular shape, people behind the car and to the left and right have a full view of the sign.
Another style is the flat board sign. This has only two sides – instead of three – and rides with almost no wind resistance. While it can’t be seen from the direct front or rear, it can be seen well from the sides.
Car Toppers can be particularly effective when a candidate is knocking on doors in a neighborhood. Many legislative candidates are able to raise their profile in a neighborhood while they door knock by parking the car (and car Car Toppers) in a high- traffic entry point while they go door to door. The car sign sends an important message to neighbors that the candidate is 1) spending time in the area and 2) values the vote of the people who live there.
Car Toppers are usually less than $100 if you buy them pre-made and can also be made from scratch using a luggage rack, some screws, and 2’ x 4’ corrugated plastic signs.
2. Election Weekend Parade
On the weekend or day preceding the election, crews of volunteers meet and work their way through the neighborhoods with flyers for the voters, candy for the kids, and a speaker system announcing the campaign’s message.
3. Brochure Notepads
I understand that not everyone will get similarly fortunate placement with Cable television, but today there are better opportunities than those that existed for me. For one, cable news, especially CNN and Fox, are watched more than ever and have a substantial portion of the news viewership. It’s also safe to say that people who watch the news are also the people who vote. With a sustained advertising campaign on just two cable networks, the talk amongst donors and party leaders can be turned from skeptical to openness. At the same time, you’ll be reaching a lot of voters.
5. Burma Shave Signs
Donors can be identified by 1) researching campaign disclosure records at the FEC or through your local disclosure commission. Frequently, the newspaper will list donors to a political campaign as well. 2) Local elected officials and party leaders are able to help identify givers as well.
|The key to scheduling is persistence. It’s difficult to get in touch with donors and it’s even more difficult to get a meeting scheduled. Here are some tips to help you schedule:
Even though most candidates know they should campaign door-to-door, very few actually do it. Every excuse is levied to avoid knocking on doors, but none are worth your time.
Remember this about winning elections: the most effective campaigning you can engage in is a personal greeting with an invitation to answer any questions they might have. The opportunity for the voter to see your smile, shake your hand, and look into your eyes is the single most important moment in any campaign. You may not lock down their vote at that moment, but as they proceed through the decision-making process, that moment will weigh heavily in their mind. Think of it like the vault in Olympic gymnastics competition. When the athlete “sticks his or her landing,” it doesn’t seal the score, but it weighs heavily in the mind of the judges. Voters are the same way, which is why you need to “stick” that first meeting.
Every day when you go to bed during a campaign, you should ask yourself this question: how many voters did I personally touch today? By scheduling regular door knocking hours into your schedule, you will be able to know that you have personally reached voters each and every day.
It’s hard to find a campaign that can’t build this exercise into their strategy. I’ve even seen presidential candidates door knocking. The point is this: from city council to Congress, taking a campaign door-to-door is a great way to lock down votes.
Here are some tips when knocking on doors:
Most campaigns have supporters and volunteers who want to help. Near the end of the campaign there are many ways to help: yard signs, leaf-letting, making phone calls, etc. There are ways to help early in the campaign, and one of the best is what I call Rolodex letters.
The purposes of this activity are to raise money, gain supporters and find yard sign locations. The actual letter is signed by the person sending the letter and needs to educate the reader about the campaign. This includes giving 1) a couple good reasons to support the candidate, 2) an explanation of the campaign needs, 3) how much money is needed to pay for those things, and 4) a date when a reply is needed.
The concept is simple: every person that is willing to participate takes 50 envelopes and addresses them to their “personal friends” list (of course, they can take more than 50, but that’s a good goal to start with). This list may include name in their Rolodex, Christmas card list, neighbors, etc. In addition to the address, they need to put their personal address as the return address. Once they have addressed the 50 envelopes, they bring them back to the campaign and the volunteers take it from there.
The envelopes are then stuffed with a letter, a reply card, a reply envelope, and are stamped first class.
Here are some tips to keep in mind with this project:
On potluck night, people arrive and enjoy a good meal, some entertainment, remarks from the candidate, and then everyone is encouraged to help the candidate by filling out the card in the middle of the table and leaving it in the basket or jar provided. Your campaign chair (or whoever is doing the contribution request) should encourage them to either write a check, check the box to take a yard sign, or volunteer.
9. The Handwritten Letter
7.Responding immediately to negative attacks
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