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					  “Keep the Momentum:
 maintain your political club
        enthusiasm”
How to keep interest and membership
growing in a grass-roots political club

    By Mark Bauer   mbauer@coltsoft.com   version 20120602
   “Keep the Momentum Going”




Panel Members

Miki Hawkins – co-founder of the Mid-Cities Democrats

Cheryl Smith – Vice President, 360 Corridor Democrats (Tarrant County)

Dick Abrams – President, Southwest Tarrant County Democrats

Felipe Gutierrez – President, Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats

Mark Bauer – co-founder of the CGS Democrats
 “Keep the Momentum Going”



Socialize / Fellowship

• Make your meetings fun.

• Your target should be a 60 minute long meeting.
  Do not exceed 90 minutes unless President
  Obama himself shows up as guest speaker.

• Use a sign-in sheet. Get email addresses!
 “Keep the Momentum Going”



Socialize / Fellowship
• Make your club welcoming to people who are
  political neophytes. Don’t use intimidating
  language: refrain from using unexplained
  abbreviations. Assume that your guests do not
  know the background of various political issues.

Examples:
VAN = voter activation network
TDP = Texas Democratic Party
 “Keep the Momentum Going”



Socialize / Fellowship

• Recognize visitors – have a Membership
  Coordinator whose job it is to get their info and
  to introduce them to the group.

• Feed your membership by either meeting at a
  restaurant with a back room; or as a fund raiser,
  have someone bring brown bag meals and
  drinks
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Organization
• The club should have real officers (President, Vice,
  Secretary, others) that are elected annually. Decisions
  by the leaders must have the authority of being from
  elected officers.
• Rotate your officers – let new blood run the club.
• For most expenditures and decisions, the President
  should have buy-in from the other officers. Use email
  and phone calls.
• The club membership should vote for relatively large
  expenditures or significant decisions.
• Club officers can, of course, work for a specific
  candidate - but candidate promotion during meetings
  before the primary should be muted.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Speakers for the Club

We want to be the best informed citizens to select
  the best candidates and policies.
• Invite elected officials, candidates, city officials,
  government officials, etc... as guest speakers.
• Especially during post-election or off-election
  years, invite speakers for issues: environmental
  activists, progressive radio DJ’s, Sierra Club,
  Planned Parenthood, etc...
• However - not every meeting has to have a
  guest speaker.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Speakers for the Club

Allow your state and national campaign
  organizations to make a short report on their
  local activities.

 When there is a contested primary presidential
 or gubernatorial election, make an effort to invite
 a representative to speak from ALL of the
 campaigns – even when the other candidates
 aren’t that popular.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Invite Candidates to the Club Meetings

• Give candidates, especially first time
  candidates, an opportunity to introduce
  themselves, meet activists like yourselves, and
  to practice their campaign speeches.
• Check a candidate’s website and Google them
  before inviting them to speak at your club to
  familiarize yourself with them.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Invite Candidates to the Club Meetings

• Let them know how long they have for a speech
  – two minutes is a minimum but more than 10
  minutes can get long if you have several
  speakers.
• Give candidates constructive criticism in private.
• As the club leader, you are the moderator. Give
  them a one minute warning to wrap up their
  speech. If they go over their time limit, stand up
  and walk slowly towards them.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Club Endorsement of Candidates

• Discourage your club from endorsing
  candidates in contested primaries. It is divisive,
  creates unnecessary animosity and loses
  membership.
• Many clubs also have a policy of not endorsing
  candidates for municipal / school board races.
• However, you do want to give candidates in
  contested primaries a chance to address your
  club to help members determine the best
  candidate.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Elected Officials / Candidate Recognition

• During your meeting, make time to recognize
  and show your club’s appreciation to elected
  officials who are present.
• Similarly, during campaign seasons, make time
  to recognize candidates.
• Allow the candidates (including incumbents) to
  make a one or two minute elevator speech.
• Be strict about the time.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Volunteer for Candidates
• Have the club become a resource for
  candidates looking for volunteers to block walk,
  phone banks, gather petitions, etc...
• Encourage membership to volunteer for
  campaigns: local, state, and national
• Have club members collect contact info on
  activists from campaigns and other events (i.e.
  always volunteer to be in charge of the sign-in sheet.)
  You want to encourage new faces to join your club.
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Raise Money for Candidates
• Get the club registered as a GPAC so that your club can
  make contributions directly to candidate campaigns:
  - contributions from the club helps make new contacts
  and gets new and bigger named speakers

• Encourage individuals to contribute to candidates
  directly.
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Fundraising for the Club
• Annual or biannual events – fundraising dinner,
  reception, etc…
   – “North Texas Salute to Speaker of the House Jim Wright”.
   – “Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fling”

   •   Gay Bingo
   •   Debate Watch Parties
   •   Election Return Watch Party
   •   Inauguration Day Watch Party
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Fundraising for the Club
Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fling
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Fundraising for the Club
North Texas Salute to Speaker of the House Jim Wright
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Earned Media for the Club
North Texas Salute to Speaker of the House Jim Wright
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Fundraising for the Club
• Sell merchandise at club meetings, special events,
  County and State Conventions, etc… (See next slide.)

• Use American-made merchandise if possible.

• Use union-made merchandise if possible.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Fundraising for the Club - Merchandise
    “Keep the Momentum Going”


Promote the visibility of the Democrats Party

• Set up booths at festivals and events with associated
  merchandise sales
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Candidate Recruitment
• Look for and encourage progressive friends and
  neighbors and club members to serve. Start
  with non-partisan city and county committees
  and to consider non-partisan elected positions.
• Consider running for office yourself.
• We want to build a pool of future elected
  officials.
• Our goal should be to have a Democrat for
  every position on the ballot
    “Keep the Momentum Going”


Precinct Chairs
•   If you're in a precinct that has no chair - become the chair.

•   If you already have a Precinct Chair, contact them and offer to help

•   Become an expert on the VAN (“Voter Activation Network”) system
    - review your VAN data and become familiar with your demographics and
    voting record of your precinct.
    - try to increase your turnout and DPI at each election.

•    always call your Democratic voters before EVERY election.
    - Even the boring elections. You want Democrats to be habit voters.
    - If you have more than 100 identified Democratic voters in your precinct, get
    help to make the calls or give yourself more time to make the calls.

•   Call before early elections start so that you don't waste time calling
    people who have already voted.
    - Sort your call list by phone number so that you can cross-off duplicates
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Activist Training

• Learn the science, processes, and practices of
  successful election campaigns (books, experience,
  courses, history, etc...)

• Get VAN training, learn how to use VAN to pull various
  types of voters (triple-D’s, hard Democrats, undecideds,
  etc…)

• Work with a well-run campaign to learn new methods
  and good practices.
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Voter Registration

• Carry voter registration cards with you – hand them out
  at progressive events and opportunities. When you go
  out to eat, ask your waiter if they are registered.

• Work the crowds and spectators at special events that
  draw progressives/liberals or minority voters:
   –   Independence Day picnics/firework shows
   –   Martin Luther King, Jr Parades
   –   Michael Moore movies
   –   Cinco de Mayo Parades

• Don't hand out voter registration cards at tea party
  rallies (pick your events carefully)
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Work with the County Democratic Party
• Make your club a source for volunteer help for the county party
  office, especially during special events/elections

• Help the local county Democratic Party raise funds for
  operating expenses

• Become a sustaining member. Use your banking website to
  setup automatic, small monthly, recurring contributions to level out
  the cash flow for both you and the county party – and your club.

• Help recruit Precinct Chairs for inactive precincts.
  - Ask the county chair for the triple-D voter list for a nearby inactive
  precinct and review it for a familiar name.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”

Promote the visibility of the Democratic Party
• Send out news releases about upcoming meetings and
  other events at least two weeks before the event date.
  Contact television media for big name visitors.
   “Keep the Momentum Going”


Promote the visibility of the Democrats Party

Host a candidate forum
 - free media, the candidates appreciate it also
 - standard rules from League of Women Voters
Candidate Forums
* inexpensive, easy to implement
* media attention
* candidates & media are appreciative
* use League of Women Voters rules
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Promote the visibility of the Democrats Party

Signup with TxDOT for a highway cleanup site –
  helps the environment, the community, and the club gets an
  inexpensive sign along a highway that promotes the name of the club
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Club Membership
• Use ‘ConstantContact’ for a professional looking
  email / newsletter for a large distribution list.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”

Club Membership
• Personally contact past members who have dropped off
• Invite people who donate to progressive candidates and
  causes (public record: ‘www.OpenSecrets.org’, others)
  “Keep the Momentum Going”



Club Membership
• Create business cards with membership contact info,
  leave them on car doors with progressive bumper stickers
“Keep the Momentum Going”

National Campaigns - use it as a means of gathering
  contact info for progressive voters in your area.
“Keep the Momentum Going”

Picnics – “Meet Your Candidates” - great for local
  candidates looking for volunteer help and to practice
  their elevator speech
“Keep the Momentum Going”

Highway Cleanup Assignment - great publicity for little
  effort. Clean a one mile stretch of road (both sides)
  once every three months. Interesting things found also.
“Keep the Momentum Going”

Special Dinner to Honor Local Political Heroes - great publicity,
  great fundraiser, and you get to hear from seasoned politicos.
  (Shown is Jim Hightower and Speaker of the House, Jim Wright)
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Serve as Election Judge, Alternate Judge, and Clerk –
  meet your fellow Democrats as they vote. During
  Primaries, have handouts advertising your next meeting.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Utilize those businesses that are
 Democratic Party / Progressive friendly
 “Keep the Momentum Going”

Use backrooms in restaurants – for watch parties for debates, election
  returns, State of the Union Address, etc... Great fellowship and an
  easy fundraiser: charge for entry ($15) and the restaurant will charge
  about $8 per person for a buffet meal.
  “Keep the Momentum Going”


Liberal author David Sirota, columnist and author of “The
  Uprising” came to talk about his book. No cost to the club.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Participate in Martin Luther King marches and
  other parades
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Coordination with other Clubs and Organizations. County Chair
  Steve Maxwell of Tarrant County gathers the leaders from Tejano
  Dems, Stonewall Dems, MCD, CGS, Obama for America, Hillary
  Campaign, etc... for two minute reports.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”


Summer Swim Party – in lieu of meeting
 “Keep the Momentum Going”



Bumper Stickers – sell them as fundraisers at your
 club meetings.
  “Keep the Momentum Going”

Hold Candidate Events at a Local Wine Store – They tend
  to have progressive owners and they like to generate traffic
  into their stores.
 “Keep the Momentum Going”

Protest – Have a Sign-Making Party the day
  before - control the message, judge how many
  may participate
 “Keep the Momentum Going”

Protest – get there early, have a handout to media
  and passersby – gather contact info from
  sympathetic supporters
 “Keep the Momentum Going”



Summary:
• Grass-roots clubs can be fun while
  building a powerful ally with the County
  organization and for progressive
  candidates.
• Working together, we can bring in more
  Democratic Party voters.

				
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posted:10/15/2013
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