Tips for Effective Candidate Forums by latenightwaitress


									Tips for Effective
Candidate Forums

Jennifer Gale, River Heights Chamber of Commerce
Daron Van Heldon, Burnsville Chamber of Commerce
“Eternal Vigilance is the
Price of Liberty.”

Thomas Jefferson
Kinds of Forums

• Luncheon/Dinner
• Television show
• Print media forum (newsletter,
  web, direct mail)
• Meet and Greet
• Other?
 Set a Date

• In selecting a date, think about
  scheduling it near another
  community event that makes it
  more likely that the candidate will
  be in the home district/area. Day
  before or day after works best.
Inviting the Candidates

• Groups who want candidates for
  elected office to attend their local
  event often find it hard to get a
  commitment from the candidates.
• So…the more focus you put on
  getting people besides the
  candidates to attend, mainly voters
  and press, the more likely it is that
  the candidates will come.
Inviting Candidates
• Reference your crowd – emphasize your
  broad base of members.

• Let the candidate know about all the
  media outlets that are invited.

• Use the candidate’s opposition. Let them
  know the status of their opponents – they
  have been invited and when they are
  confirmed to attend.
Start Building a Crowd

• Set a turnout goal.
• Brainstorm a list of possible
  audiences. (members, other
  associations that support your
  issues or other Chambers)
• Coordinate marketing materials
  and press releases.
• RSVP’s a must!

• In order for your candidate forum
  to comply with the law, you must
  invite ALL the candidates from
  every major party for each race
  and pursue commitments from
  them with equal diligence.
Continue to Recruit
Ask members and area partners to:
1. Attend the forum themselves.
2. Bring two additional people with
3. Promote the forum in their
4. Send an e-mail alert to their
5. Thank them for their help!

• Send it out ahead of time.

• Publish the responses.

• Share it with other like organizations.

• It can be used to develop questions
  for the forum.
Send out a Notice
• Press Release

• Newsletter article

• Event Flyer

• Website Notice
Day of Event

•   Secure volunteers to help
•   Review format
•   Set up seating assignments
•   Test all AV Equipment
•   Have script ready
•   Welcome candidates
Publish Set of Rules

• Assigned seats?
• Allotted time for intro?
• Process for time keeper?
• How will the questions be asked
  and how much response time
  will be given?
• Will the questions rotate?
• Closing comment time?
Thank You

• Thank all candidates personally.

• Take a photo for your

• Send a thank you note to all
  sponsors, volunteers and

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