Tag Archives for smart campaigning

Field Staffers: The Best Way to Save Time in 2014

Imagine you are walking away from a door after an unusually productive conversation with a voter. You’re glad to finally get some door-to-door campaigning done after waiting for over a week to get these printed walk books returned to you. Now that you have them, you’re hitting the streets again.

But you glance down to fill in the bubble for the last house on your scan sheet, you suddenly realize the bubble is already marked and you have been entering the wrong data for the wrong houses for quite a while.

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Special Feature: Integrated Phone System

Voter Gravity is one of the first on the market to link canvassing and phone banking in real-time. With one more easy way to use the data at your disposal, it’s another step towards our goal to completely integrate message, manpower and money all in one platform. Our phone features include:

  • Built-in Phone System: Phone bank the way best for you — at home or at headquarters. Call lists via VoIP, mobile, or landlines.
  • Easy Data Access: Access pre-collected and databased voter contact information quickly;
  • Quick Creation: Create call lists in a matter of minutes;
  • Targeted Surveying: With the phone system tied into our surveys, you can add data real time as calls are being made;
  • Share with Volunteers: Grant access to unique call lists to specific volunteers;
  • Predictive Dialing: Set up predictive dialing through the system to complete more live calls.
Voter Gravity Phone System
Phone banking is another powerful tool to reach out and build a relationship with your voters. Watch this video in which I explain just how you can maximize your impact with Voter Gravity’s Phone System.


Catching Up on Campaign Tech

In the weeks following the 2012 elections, the post-mortems revealed how tech-savvy Obama’s re-election operation had been. The campaign built a revolutionary data-sharing platform and had more than 300 technologists and analysts on staff. In October of 2012, polls were showing a very close race, and the president’s approval rating hovered near 50 percent. So on election night, when battleground states began falling like dominoes into Obama’s column, and when Romney came up 126 electoral votes short, many people right of center were stunned.

Virginia’s gubernatorial elections just weeks ago offered the first test of whether the GOP had learned its lessons from 2012—and an honest assessment shows more work to be done. Democrat Terry McAuliffe scaled down Obama’s model, contracting with BlueLabs, an analytics and data company started by some of Obama for America’s senior analytics staff, and fundraising and get-out-the-vote firm NGP VAN to model and target Virginians. McAuliffe ultimately won by less than 2.5 percent.

Republicans need to do better.

Read the full article on Spectator.org.

5 Ways to Keep Your Campaign Volunteers Motivated

In my last post, I gave you 14 suggestions for where to find volunteers. The volunteer process, however, is not only about who you can get, but also how you can successfully engage, manage, and propel dozens of volunteers at a time. Once you accumulate a team of enthusiastic volunteers, here are a few pointers on how to keep them enthusiastic and committed:

1) Make your issues clear so that your volunteers know what they’re supporting and can accurately pass along your main ideas to others. Just because people have volunteered for your campaign does not necessarily mean that they know the ins and outs of why you’re running and what you stand for. They could be there for any number of reasons – anything from a recommendation by a friend, to simply a supporter of the party ticket you’re running on. It’s your job to make sure that your volunteers are informed and their questions answered. 

2) Be kind. Most of these people will be working for little to no pay. They are (often) excited to actively support something they believe in, and will be driven by that excitement. Don’t ruin this by being rude. A little gratitude, a little show of friendliness despite your busy agenda will go a long way with volunteers. 

Take time to learn their names and recognize the work they accomplish. Note: how you treat your volunteers will inevitably get out into the community. The way in which you establish relationships now will reflect how you will govern once in office.

3) Show leadership. When I say be kind I do not mean be a pushover. People are following you and looking to you for direction so make sure you give them something to look up to. Your strength, conviction and character will stand out to your volunteers.

4) Give the volunteers a safe, clean, calm environment in which to work. Chances are campaign volunteers will be fielding calls, going door-to-door, calling people who may or may not be welcoming. It is your job to provide a place where your volunteers can come for answers to give to others, touch base, and relax after a long day of campaigning on your behalf. It’s a small way of showing gratitude to those who are working so hard to make you successful in your campaign. 

5) Make it fun. Just because there’s a deadline and an end-goal does not mean that you’re volunteers should be treated as soldiers or as robots. Use gamification techniques: turn tasks into friendly competitions. It’s often not as much about what you do as it is about what you don’t do. If you’re not prepared, if the volunteers feel like their tasks are of no added value, if you waste your volunteers’ time, then you will guarantee that the experience will fall flat. And don’t forget the pizza parties to keep up moral! A well fed volunteer is a happy volunteer.

14 Ways to Find New Campaign Volunteers

Asking people to volunteer on your campaign can be as difficult as asking for money. Many people need an extra push in order to spend their extra time helping you. The key is to actively recruit volunteers from a variety of places in your community. Reach out and and let them know that their time is valued and needed. I’ve listed 14 places to start looking for campaign volunteers, ranging from the basic to the more creative. Good luck!

  1. Begin with family. Parents, spouses, and your kids can be excellent sources of encouragement and help. Don’t hesitate to look to them – not just for advice and encouragement, but also for time. 

2) Friends. Just like anything, it is best to start with what (or in this case who) you know. Chances are you already have their support and encouragement. Friends are often motivated to help campaign simply because they like you. They’ll volunteer time and energy to help you make your campaign dreams come true if they know that you’ll find value in their support.
  2. Previous Volunteers. As with friends and family, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many things fall through the cracks if you don’t keep track of everything and everyone. People who have helped either your or your political party before are great resources since they will already know what they’re doing.
  3. College Students are another great pool of prospects to pull from. This is your chance to offer college students a chance to improve their resume and be involved with your campaign in a capacity that fits their specific needs. Find the presidents of the college party chapters, speak at their meetings, give internship credit and offer lots of free pizza. Boom.
  4. Volunteer Networks are always an option. People who are familiar with volunteering and campaigns will know what they’re doing and will probably need less training.
  5. High School Students often need to fulfill a certain amount of community service hours for their school or college applications. Working on your campaign will give them the time or credit they need, and will add more energy to your campaign.
  6. Homeschooled Students may not have the community hour requirements but there’s a good chance they’ll have more time on their hands. Or, if they spend as much time in school as public and privately schooled students, homeschooled students will have much more flexible hours. And they may bring along a sibling or two. Announce your need through local homeschool leaders, newsletters, co-ops, events, etc.
  7. Senior Citizens. Like homeschoolers, senior citizens have a lot of time on their hands, and chances are they want to feel useful and help out. Putting up flyers in senior citizen centers and making personal visits to recruit volunteers might be well worth your time. Think creatively about the jobs that they can best help you with and let them know that their time is valued and needed.
  8. Churches may also be a good place to look for volunteers since they are hubs of socializing and community. Ask pastors, youth pastors, or small group leaders how you can best get in touch with their congregations.
  9. Campaign Events. People who come to these events are already supporters or want to find out more about your platform. This is a great opportunity to gain supporters and volunteers who will donate their time to helping you win.
  10. Your Donor Database. Depending on the size of your campaign, the size of this resource may vary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to them for time. If they’ve already agreed to donate money to your cause, they may just be willing to donate time as well.
  11. Facebook. Hopefully you’ve already set up a page and are using it to get your name out there and create conversation. There are ways to create open events on your page and discover new supporters. Post pictures of your current volunteers as they work on your campaign and include a link to a form for new campaign volunteers.
  12. Local Businesses. Local coffee shops and restaurants are great places to advertise, not just for your campaign but also for volunteers. By placing notices in often-frequented places, you up your chances of reaching out to more people.
  13. Classified Ads. This last one may seem like a no-brainer, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a simple way to get out the word and provide your information to people who may want to get involved.

Connecting More Powerfully with Your Digital Campaign

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve noticed our strong emphasis on the importance of being where your voters are – whether at their front door or on their favorite social networking sites. We think it’s important to combine a solid offline campaign with a complementary online, or digital, campaign. Here are our top three reasons why:

1) The numbers speak for themselves.

  • Total number of month active Facebook users: 1,110,000,000
  • Total number of mobile Facebook users: 680,000,000
  • Total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month: 700 billion
  • Average time spent on Facebook per visit: 20 minutes

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How to Build Your Own Survey

Customize with Voter Gravity’s Survey Builder

The survey is a critical tool for campaigns to use when going door-to-door or phone banking. Campaigns of all sizes benefit from determining – and recording – the issues with which their voters identify most strongly.

The ability for candidates to create their own customized surveys for their unique campaigns is something we’re very excited about. Campaign staff can easily build surveys through Voter Gravity, allowing you to connect with voters and gather the data that will best serve your campaign! Check out my “how to” video on the step by step process of building a survey. 

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7 Creative Ways to Target Voters

Through technology like Voter Gravity, you’re given a universe of data on your potential voters. Now what?

There’s the most obvious uses for voter data, including identifying voter history and targeting people most likely to vote for your candidate, the swing voters, and those who will vote for your opponent. You must always target voters with data in at least these two ways:

  1. Use voter history data to point volunteers to the highest turnout precincts in the final GOTV push.
  2. On election day, call and knock the precise audience most likely to help you win.

But, as we often say, good voter data contains more than just whether someone has voted before or what issues are important to them. It helps your political campaign make important decisions, from identifying donors to messaging to absentee voters.

We encourage you to get creative with the myriad of ways you can slice and dice the data in order to focus your efforts most effectively. We are fully convinced that every single modern campaign, regardless of size, must run on many forms of voter targeting.

Here are some of my favorite practical but creative ways to leverage the data that you have at your disposal as a state or local political campaign:

  1. Donors: Look at common attributes of your current donors and identify patterns that could help you identify likely future donors.
  2. Volunteers: Draw volunteers early on in the campaign from your targeted supporters. Don’t just contact them with requests to vote, but requests to volunteer and become your advocate.
  3. Absentee Voters: Identify past absentee voters and reach them early with specific messages. This allows you to give them helpful information like absentee voting deadlines, while also persuading them to vote for you.
  4. Ads: Know which voters pay attention to specific media. Combine that knowledge with other data, such as how they spend their free time or money, or the age of their children. Then, tailor any radio or TV ads to those specific voters. Or, bow out of advertising on a specific channel or station if your targeted voters aren’t a likely audience.
  5. Yard Signs: Place yard signs in areas throughout your district with high visibility to targeted voters. Also, tailor the messages on those signs to appeal to the surrounding neighborhoods.
  6. Voter Turnout: If running against an incumbent, determine the areas the incumbent faired poorly among voters.
  7. Mailings: Send (very) tailored mailings to different segments in your district. With Voter Gravity’s Esri Tapestry partnership, you can identify voters who have multiple points in common. For instance, send one mailing to the people who “own dogs, use full-service banks, go hunting, fishing, horseback riding, watch rodeos, tractor pulls on TV, and own an ATV/UTV” and another mailing to the people (in your same district) who have these points in common: “Paint and draw, have a second mortgage, listen to classical music on the radio, read baby magazines, and own motorcycles.”

An Inside Look: Voter Gravity in 4 Minutes

New: Log in to mobile app with your email address

For those of you already taking advantage of Voter Gravity, your email address is now your username across all Voter Gravity apps and services. We’ve updated the mobile login to use the same username as the portal, so the next time you log in to voter.mobi, please remember to use your email address instead of the old username. We hope this makes remembering your login info easy!

An inside look

This week, take a step inside Voter Gravity with me. In this short clip the team titled, Creating Walk Lists, but I like to call it An Inside Look at How to Make Your Campaign More Awesome, I introduce you to the Voter Gravity portal and explain how exactly you can easily create and route user-friendly, mapped-out, optimized walk lists in five minutes. Actually, make that four minutes:

What does the Voter Gravity app actually look like? How easy is it to use? If you have questions, we want to make what we can do for you as clear as possible. View this clip and then request a demo to give you an in-depth look at how we can help your campaign complete in minutes what used to take days.

3 Social Media Tips for the Political Candidate

By now, you’ve realized that if you don’t have an online presence your campaign is in serious trouble. This year, smartphone users have expanded to include 67% of the U.S. population. An incomprehensible amount of information is at the fingertips of the three out of four Americans who own a computer.

The stats say it all: the Internet has become the biggest forum for discussion available. With an online presence you could be a powerful part of that discussion. Without a strong presence you’re going to be left behind. Here are three social media tips that you, as a candidate, can apply to lay the foundation for a killer online digital campaign:

Publish often. And enjoy it. 

This can be the time to really enjoy getting involved in the discussion. Almost everyone with a strong opinion will want to express it. If you let your accounts lag behind, you’re sending out an image that you can’t keep up. If, however, you step up to the plate, you’ll prove that you can keep up with the trends while pushing your ideas forward. People will want to follow someone who can keep up. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Here’s the key: select at least one person to drive your social media campaign. The intern who publishes whatever you shoot to him or her isn’t going to cut it. While you should produce original content as much as you can, appoint a digital specialist early on in the campaign.

Post with purpose.

In order to become a powerful part of the conversation (and truly augment your offline campaign), make sure you’re touching on the issues people care about – and are already talking about – instead of a copy/paste from your to-do list. Yes, tweet links to press releases and endorsements, as well as updates on your campaign website and blogs, but don’t stop there. Comment on national and local news, and include pictures of your events, yourself, and your supporters. 

Get ideas from other candidates who are doing a good job online. On many popular accounts, you’ll see replies, retweets, mentions, hashtags, and shout-outs. Remember that being relevant always means involving your audience. On Twitter, follow other accounts. Don’t even be “that guy” who prides himself in Twitter account with 10,000 followers while he follows none. He’s missed the point of social media. Pursue engagement and invite feedback.

Check your work. 

There is no magic formula to a successful social media campaign. But there are formulas that you’ll discover work for you. Know your data and make sure that you’re doing the right work. For instance, posts tend to be shared and liked more on weekends than throughout the week. Blogs, on the other hand, often have the most viewers early in the morning. Always know what’s working and what’s not working. Use a program that tracks your reach (such as BufferApp.com or ManageFlitter.com).

Staying on top of analytics will help you know who’s following what, the posts that people are actually reading, pages that your audience clicks through on your site, keywords that they respond to, etc. With this information you will be able to tailor the words that you use and the information that you put out in order to reach as many people as possible, resulting in new supporters.