Grassroots Grassroots Campaign Training Training Training grassroots clinics0 by benbenzhou

VIEWS: 52 PAGES: 138

More Info

Grassroots Campaign Training

                      Denver, Colorado
                     June 10-11, 2006

 Paid for by Democracy For America,, and not
                        authorized by any candidate.
                      Table of Contents
Table of contents                                         2
 About Democracy For America                               3
 About DFA Training Academy                                3
 Thank you                                                 4
Getting Started                                            5
   Sample Landscape Memo                                  11
   Sample Campaign Staff Roles and Structure              12
Communications: Developing Your Message                   14
   Message box                                            16
   27 – 9 – 3 exercises                                   19
Communications: Working with the Media                    21
 Sample Media Organizational Chart                        26
 Typical News Cycle                                       30
 Getting Your Letter to the Editor published              33
 Sample Press Advisory                                    38
 Sample Press Release                                     39
 Media Checklists                                         40
People: Building your Activist Base                       41
Money: Fundraising                                        51
 Sample Donor Call Sheet                                  62
 Sample Call Tracking Sheet                               63
 Sample Pledge Tracking Sheets                            64
 Sample Budget                                            65
Time: Planning And Goal-Setting                           66
Developing A Field Plan                                   71
   Vote Goal Worksheet                                    73
   Targeting Grid                                         76
   Voter Contact Tactics Chart                            78
   Sample Vote-by-Mail Schedule                           80
   Sample GOTV Schedule                                   82
   Sample Timeline (with voter contact benchmarks)        84
   Field Plan Worksheets and Exercises                    85
Neighbor to Neighbor Organizing                           91
Power Mapping                                            103
Coalitions                                               107
   DFA Case Study: Maryland Fair Share for Health Care   110
Citizen Lobbying                                         111
   Sample Agenda                                         115
Online Organizing                                        116
   DFA Case Study: Tom DeLay Email Campaign              126
House Parties                                            130
   Sample Agenda                                         133
Running Better Meetings                                  134
   Sample Agenda                                         136
Day One Homework Assignments                             138

Democracy for America (DFA) is a political action committee founded by Governor Howard
Dean in 2004. Inspired by the grassroots, DFA is changing America’s political process
from the ground up and giving people the power to reform their own political system.

Democracy for America is dedicated to increasing political participation by strengthening
the grassroots community and supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive
candidates for all levels of office – from school boards to the United States Senate.

Through the use of innovative grassroots tactics, coalition building strategies, activist
trainings and on-line support, DFA is returning this country to the people that make it great
– one precinct, one door, and one voter at a time.

The DFA Training Academy’s mission is to focus, network, and train grassroots activists
skills and strategies to take our country back. The DFA Training Academy builds on the
experience of local grassroots and national professional to offer activists a sustaining
training program. This isn’t just about the next election, or what we can do for our country
every two to four years. This is about building a movement to change America for the

Democracy for America’s motto has always been “You have the power.” The DFA Training
Academy grew out of the need to harness that grassroots power in an organized, skilled,
and sustained manner. With the help of the grassroots, we identify key skills and
strategies local activists can use to take back their city, their state, and their country.
Then, we find experts around the country and bring them for an intense weekend of
serious work and serious fun.

Democracy For America would like to thank the people who made this training, and the DFA Training
Program, possible.

Ralph Miller, Sandra Ramos, and Nathan Gonzalez from Latinos For America have been with us since the
beginning of the program. Their work in getting this program started has been invaluable.

Latinos for America is a 501(c)4 non-profit corporation
dedicated to engaging Hispanic Americans in the American
political process through education, training and media.

Through our political action committee, LFA-PAC, we are also
committed to improving the welfare of Hispanic Americans
through support for progressive candidates and initiatives at
the Federal level. We actively encourage formation of
independent local and state groups to carry this mission at the
grassroots level. Learn more about them at

Additionally, Amy Faulring from Greenpeace, Lew Granofsky from Fieldworks, Jennifer Coken from Coken
Consulting Co, Helen Strain with the Florida Federation of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Maya Enista with
Mobilizing America’s Youth, and Scott Goodstein with Catalyst Campaigns have been invaluable in building
and adding content to this manual.

The staff at DFA have volunteered time to write, edit, and proofread portions of this manual. Many of my
colleagues now join me on the road as trainers for the program, and I am grateful for their help. Former
interns Rachel Sadler, Matt Oliver, and Heidi Summerlin have handled serious responsibilities for the
program. My current intern, Joe Black, is filling their roles and has done an excellent job. They have kept
me sane, organized, and generally on time.

Rick Shepard and the activists at Democracy For Colorado deserve the largest share of our thanks for this
Training. Their team has organized the local aspect of this training, making this weekend possible. They
have been efficient, professional, and thorough in every respect.

This program has been set up to meet the needs of our grassroots. In order for us to continue this work,
please give us feedback and consider making a contribution. This program is for you, tell us how we can
make it better.

                                                                                      Arshad Hasan
                                                                               Training Coordinator

    Notice on the use, distribution, and reprinting of the material covered in this
                   manual and at DFA Training Academy events:
 The materials and instruction provided by the DFA Training Academy are for use by any DFA
 activist wanting to engage the political system. Activists are encouraged to use and reproduce
 this training. When using, distributing, or reproducing any part of this training, the DFA
 Training Academy must be credited.

Getting Started

              So, You Want to Get Something Done?
Approach #1: The patented “Cross Your Fingers and Hope” Method.
   •   How to get started: Sit, wait, and hope for the desired outcome. There are plenty of other people
       out there with experience at these kind of things. Shake your head until they get it right. If you’re
       especially active, you might holler and make some noise whenever it seems like it might be fun.
       The key tactic is to level plenty of criticism at national figures and make demands of them without
       doing anything locally.
   •   Likely result: You have no idea. But the other guys do. They will win. You will lose.

Approach #2: Get to work: research, plan, and organize.
   •   How to get started: Uncross your fingers. Do it now. Start planning. Now. Identify goals, develop a
       strategy, and engage in effective tactics to carry out your strategy. Victory is a specific goal and the
       plan to get there is quantified and written down. In elections, victory equals a specific number of
       votes – it has a number that is knowable months beforehand.
   •   Likely Result: Win or lose, you’ll have become the agent of change. You’ll have developed our
       organization, your candidate, and your district. You will show up; You will put up a fight.

                                         There is no magic.
                                           There is work.
                                                                                        If locals don’t do it.,
 "[T]he biggest lie told by people like me to people                                      it won’t get done.
 like you at election time is that, "If you vote for                              • Success CAN be imported,
 me, I'm going to solve all your problems." The                                     but it is very expensive, and
                                                                                    it will not last.
 truth is, the power to change this country is in                                 • When locals are committed,
 your hands, not mine."                                                             success can happen without
                                                     --Gov. Howard Dean           • Locals will always be more
                                                                                    invested than non-locals

                DFA Training Academy has one overarching theme:

        “WE are the ones we have been waiting for.”
                                                                               --From the Hopi poem, “The Great River,”
                                                            Also attributed to an organizer in Jim Wallis’ Politics of God

                      Stop Thinking You Are “Normal”
You’re not. You’re abnormal. You’re strange. You’re exceptional. Here’s why:

Remember: You are an exceptional person.                                            who
                                                                               Just who do you think you are?
   • You think about politics everyday.
   • You understand that politics effects your everyday life.                  58 % of Americans vote.
   • You see politics as a means to bring about positive change.
                                                                               42% of Americans vote for
   • You are partisan.                                                         offices other than President.
   • You are reading a political training manual right now.
                                                                               8% of Americans have
Remember: Most people are “normal.”                                            volunteered for campaigns.
   • They are skeptical of politics and politicians.
   • They care about things that effect their everyday lives.                  >1% of Americans donate to
   • They do not want to be told what to do or what is good for them.          electoral campaigns.

The very act of coming to the DFA Training Academy or reading this
manual, sets you apart from the vast majority of Americans. Most
Americans spend their time at work, with their family, running errands, and
so on. Few would add responsibilities that put them at odds with nearly half
of the rest of the country. Fewer still would do so if they knew they were
going to lose much of the time.

               When the “Exceptional” talk to the “Normal,” they must speak Normal.

                        Goals, Strategies, and Tactics
An understanding of the differences between your goal, your strategy,                    Example
and your tactics will help you think about organizing and campaigning
in a more effective manner.                                                Goal:
                                                                           Goal Persuade 1,214 undecided
                                                                           voters by end of month.
Goal – End result of your plan. The thing you need to accomplish. No       Strategy:
                                                                           Strategy Direct Voter Contact.
matter how broad or narrow the goal, it must be quantified, explicit,      Tactic:
                                                                           Tactic Run a canvass operation.
and specific. The goal of “Victory” actually might mean “Getting 21,415
votes for the candidate.”                                                           Common pitfalls
Strategy – The means you will use to accomplish your goal. You will                     action.
                                                                           All talk. No action Some groups
often be presented with many avenues you can use to reach your goal.       get stuck at the goal. They set
You will make a decision on which of these avenues to take. Often          lofty non-specific goals and can
multiple strategies can be used.                                           not come up with a plan to
                                                                           accomplish it.
Tactic – The hand-on actions you take to carry out the strategy. This is
what you would actually “Do.” Many tactics can be used to carry out a               Obsession.
                                                                           Tactic Obsession Some tactics
particular strategy.                                                       are fun and visible. But how do
                                                                           they fit into your strategy? What
The key distinction between a professional campaign and an amateur         do you get out of it? Some
  operation is their understanding of goals, strategies, and tactics.      campaigns use tactics that do not
                                                                           result in any campaign product.

                                 Campaign Resources
Campaigns always run in a condition of scarcity. You are constantly struggling to maximize the resources
you have. You have three kinds of resources:

                           People          ●       Money           ●       Time
People – These are your staff and volunteers. You recruit and train people capable of carrying out your
strategy and executing your tactics. This resource is maximized by recruitment and training.

Money – Everything costs money. In-kind donations are still donations, and as such, are limited. Everyone
must know how this resource works. This resource is maximized by fundraising and budgetary discipline.

Time – You have much to do, but there are only 24 hours in a day. Choose wisely because you can never
get that time back. You can never get more time. You can only maximize this resource by planning well.

                                         Resource Management:
                                          “Some” is not a number.
                                            “Soon” is not a time.
Approximations have no place in campaigns. The management of limited resources requires you to deal in
specifics. Round numbers are lazy lies – nothing ends in four zero’s in real life. If you can not count it, do
not do it. Never give or accept a task that is not quantified and time-limited.

              What Kind of Campaign Will You Wage?
A campaign is an organized, coordinated set of programs designed to deliver specific messages to targeted
groups and individuals with the goal of getting these groups or individuals to behave in a certain way.

Electoral campaigns – A conversation between the candidate and the voter that culminates in an effort
to turn out supporters at the polls. These are what most people think of when they hear the word
‘campaign.’ The target for this kind of campaign is the voting public.

Issue advocacy campaigns – Also known as legislative issue campaigns. These are efforts to convince
appropriate decision makers to support or oppose a piece of legislation or regulatory power. The target is
the decision maker (often an elected official). The decision-maker’s constituency is often also targeted as a
strategy to influence the decision-maker.

Initiative or Referendum campaigns - Mixes elements of the previous two campaigns. An issue is put on
the ballot as a bill and the voting public decides to accept or reject new legislation. Since the voting public
is the decision-maker, voters are the target.

Corporate Accountability campaigns - Encourages responsible behavior from a specific corporation.
This kind of campaign is not immediately familiar with most people unless it escalates into a boycott or
other high-visibility strategy. The target is almost always a corporate brand name; Consumers are often
also targeted as a strategy to influence the corporation (ie boycotts, etc).

                        The Political Landscape Memo
All well-organized campaigns begin with a political landscape memo. This memo outlines the race, the
candidates, the strategy, and the anticipated tactics your campaign will use to win. The document
describes the people, time, and money resources required for victory. This memo includes specific
information and detailed estimates on the district, the different candidates and their resources, and the
factors affecting the race. This memo is a strictly objective outline used as a starting point for your race.

This is your campaign’s first product. Having a good landscape memo shows others that the campaign is
serious about the election. Party organizations, early donors, and your first staff need to have a sense of
what they are about to get into. Most importantly, the memo allows you to predict and plan your campaign.

                                         Do your homework
                                         1)     The district;
                                         2)     The election;
                                         3)     The candidate;
                                         4)     The opposition.

The District. Your district’s vital statistics are critical for   planning your campaign. They will help you
determine your initial strategy, messaging, and targeting.        Serious candidates and staffers have these
numbers committed to memory. District info to know:
             • Physical boundaries                           •     Registration numbers: Dem, Rep,
             • Major population centers                            others, decline to state
             • Major media outlets covering the              •     Democratic turnout in past
                 district.                                         elections for the same seat.
             • Demographic information:                      •     Money raised and spent in the
                 populations, race, age, income,                   last similar election.

The Election. Every election is unique. Understand the larger political environment. Election info to know:
              •   Are you running as part of a slate?        •     Are there factors that differentiate
              •   How will organizing at the top of                this elections from others for the
                  the ticket affect your race?                     same seat? How does this effect
              •   Will other candidates be active in               your assumptions?
                  your district?                             •     Major local issues relevant to your
              •    Are there initiatives on the ballot?            desired office
              •   What resources can you expect              •     Major national issues on the
                  from your Party or Caucus?                       minds of voters

The Candidate and Likely Challengers. Start developing an early biography of your candidate. What
makes your candidate compelling, what’s the campaign story? The campaign needs to be ready to highlight
the candidate’s outstanding personal story, but also ready for less favorable information to come out. The
best defense for personally negative attacks is to know they’re coming. This information will also help your
campaign develop its base in its initial outreach efforts. Biographical info to know:
             • Employment                                    • Business interests
             • Religious affiliations                        • Past public offices/ voting record
             • Community involvement                         • Existing social networks
             • Memberships, associations and                 • The same information for close
                  Affiliations                                   family members.

                        Using Your Landscape Memo
Determining Your Vote Goal
To win most elections you need a majority of votes cast, or 50%+1. If you have the basic information for
your landscape, you should be able to figure out this number. Start with total number of registered voters
in the district, then multiply that by the percentage of voters likely to turn out for this election. Likely
turnout is calculated by looking at the last few similar elections for the same seat, excluding outliers
(Presidential election years are useless for midterm election estimates, for example), then divide by two
and add one:
    ((Total Registered Voters x Expected Voter Turnout) x 50%) + 1 = Minimum # votes needed to win.
To give us a margin of error, we often calculate 52%, instead of 50% +1.
When we discuss targeting strategy, we’ll use this number and work backwards, figuring out where these
votes will come from. Of course, it would be wonderful if everyone voted for our candidate, but in reality we
have limited resources and must focus these resources where they are most effective. Once we have our
vote goal, we can figure out how many of our base voters we need, how many swing voters we need, etc.

Developing Your Core
Your landscape memo will give you an idea of whom your early supporters might be. In addition to the
candidate’s close friends and family, your candidate may have close personal or professional ties with a
number of organizations and constituencies. These close connections must be leveraged early on to get
the campaign off the ground. Outsiders and potential donors keep a close eye on candidates to see if they
are serious about running. You must cultivate early allies and donors from these initial connections in order
to expand your network of supporters and sustain your campaign.

Early Targeting and Messaging
Your landscape memo will clue you into what your district needs to hear from a serious candidate. For
example, the single-family, homeowner demographic will require different outreach than transient, young,
apartment dwellers. Factors like age, race, and sex matter.

            Writing Your Landscape Memo: Research
The US Census website, has basic demographic information
such as age, race, sex, income, and housing. Their American Factfinder tool         Are you reinventing
can be found at              the wheel?
To search by city and county,          Most likely, it’s all
                                                                                    been done before.
District maps are available at,
                                                                                    Candidates who’ve
but once your campaign gets started you will want to use larger, more detailed
                                                                                    come before you,
maps where districts and precincts are sorted for you. These are available at
                                                                                    and/or your local
your county elections office.
                                                                                    Party     organization
A Voter roll is a public document which also be found at your country elections     may already have a
office or town clerk’s office. A Voter file maintained by campaigns and political   landscape      memo.
parties details the percentage of votes each candidate for each party received      Ask for it, and
by district and precinct. It is a campaign tool used to track registered voters’    update it. They might
contact info, voting history, and voter support information. You can obtain         also have a Voter
these from your local Party, previous campaigns, or from various vendors.           File for you.

                                 Sample Landscape Memo
                                 The State of Opportunity’s 21st Legislative District
The 21st  legislative district in the state of Opportunity is open in 2005. The 4-term Republican incumbent
has announced her intention of running for the state senate, leaving this district up-for-grabs in November.
While the district has been represented by a Republican for the last 8 years, the Democratic prospects are
good. The district is currently represented by a Democrat in the state senate (who is retiring this year – his
chief of staff is the likely Democratic nominee in the race to fill the seat). And in 2004 – when Opportunity
voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry by 54-46% -- the district vote was much closer: 50.4% for Bush
to 48.1% for Kerry. Democrats can win the 21st, but it will take an intense effort to pull it off.
The announcement that Rep. Shirley Roberts (R-Springfield) is running for state senate has set off a
scramble on the Republican side. The candidates include the director of the Springfield Chamber of
Commerce, a farmer from nearby Andersonville, a stay-at-home mom who chairs the local Right to Life
committee, and the former chair of the Chester Republican Party who served in the state house from
another part of the state for one term in the mid-1980s.
On the Democratic side, two candidates have filed their papers for the primary. Holly Rifkin is an ESL
teacher at Springfield High School and the president of the Springfield teachers union. She has lived and
taught in Springfield for 9 years. Chris Ivins has worked at and managed his family’s printing company in
Springfield for the last 30 years. The Ivins Press opened for business in 1958.
The 21st has 84,873 registered voters. Party registration is: 36% Republican, 33% Independent and 31%
Democratic. General election turnout in the 2003 state house race was 32,251 (38%). The Democratic
primary in 2003 had only 16% turnout (4209 ballots) among registered Democrats – though in that year
there was only one candidate in the Democratic primary. In Opportunity the Democratic primary is open
only to registered Democrats, no Independents or Republicans can vote. In the 2004 presidential election
50,075 (59%) of the registered voters in the 21st cast ballots.
Given the competitive nature of this year’s Democratic primary and the fact the seat is open for the first
time in 8 years, Democratic primary turnout may increase by a few percentage points. We estimate 5788
(22%) registered Democrats will vote in the Democratic primary on September 6. It will take 2895 votes to
win the Democratic primary.
If turnout in November is 5% higher in 2005 than 2003 (given the more competitive nature of the race),
then 36,495 voters can be expected to cast ballots. It will take 18,248 votes to win if turnout equals 43%.
In the general election the Democratic nominee will need to get out the base Democratic vote and pick up
at least 61% of the Independent vote.
In order to win the general election, the Democratic candidate must first win the primary. The Rifkin
strategy will be to contact and identify each of the 2003 Democratic primary voters, mobilize union
activists (particularly teachers), and move every identified supporter to the polls on Election Day. Her
strength is a core of volunteers and supporters passionate about change in the 21st. Her weakness is her
relative newness to the district and lack of name recognition.
The Ivins campaign is relying on its strong name recognition and large social network within the district
through the primary. Ivins is raising money for the general election but does not want to have to spend that
money defeating Rifkin in the primary. The Ivans campaign is going to paint itself as the campaign of
“inevitability” in the primary and Ivans as a small business owner with deep roots in the community in
November. Ivins plans to spend most of his money on radio and direct mail. His weakness is the absence
of volunteers on his campaign.
Based on other campaign costs in surrounding districts, it is estimated that the primary campaign will cost
$10,000 and the general election $60,000.

                Typical Electoral Campaign Structure
Individual campaigns vary as much in structure and organization as do candidates for office. In general,
most campaign structures look something like the diagram below. In some races you may have additional
staff and assignments, but in all races someone is responsible for managing the field, fundraising,
communications, and volunteer efforts.



       Communications           Field/Data        Finance            Volunteer          Compliance
          Director               Director         Director          Coordinator          Director

The Candidate
   •   Campaigns are usually a reflection of the candidate.
   •   Good candidates trust his or her campaign staff.
   •   Candidates should focus their time and energy on campaigning rather than management.

The Campaign Manager
   •   Campaign Managers work for the candidate, but a good campaign manager manages “up” as well
       as “down.” Get to know your candidate. Make sure he or she stays on task. Also make sure your
       candidate gets enough rest and exercise, make sure he or she eats well and has fun. Campaign
       work is grueling and most candidates are not used to it.
   •   There is only one captain of the ship. But to run a tight ship, you must treat your crew with courtesy
       and respect. Listen to your crew; they may have problems that you need to deal with right away.
       Campaigns collapse when the decision-maker refuses to make decisions, or makes decisions
       without considering all parts of the campaign.
   •   The campaign manager is responsible and accountable for everything: time, people, and money.
   •   The most important job of the campaign manager is making sure all the other directors and
       coordinators are doing their jobs.
   •   This is often the first person a candidate hires.

The Finance Director
   •   The Finance Director is responsible for fundraising to meet campaign targets and budget
       requirements set by the campaign manager. The Finance Director is responsible for meeting these
       targets in strict accordance with applicable regulations.
   •   Tactics include direct mail, online solicitation, PAC endorsements, candidate call time, and events.
   •   Your best assets are the candidate and a phone.
   •   Early donors are the key to running a sustaining, successful campaign. As a result, Finance
       Directors are usually the first or second person hired.

The Compliance Director
   •   Often the campaign’s treasurer.
   •   Files all the necessary paperwork for federal, state, and local regulatory agencies

The Communications Director
   •   The Communications Director keeps the campaign and the candidate “on-message.”
   •   Only the candidate, the campaign manager, and those designated by the Communications Director
       may speak for the campaign.
   •   The Communications Director reviews all campaign communications material – TV, radio, internet,
       brochures, mailers, direct mail, door lit, bumper stickers, rally and lawn signs – to make sure they
       adhere to a consistent campaign theme and message.
   •   In larger campaigns, the Communications Director will hire a Press Secretary to maximize earned
       media for the candidate.

The Field Director
   •   The Field Director designs the voter contact plan for base and persuasion voters.
   •   He or she manages most of the day-to-day tactical operations – phone banks, canvasses, house
       meetings, rallies, and visibility.
   •   The Field Director is responsible for obtaining and updating voter data for the campaign. In larger
       campaigns a Field Director will hire a Data Director.
   •   Field teams are usually most in need of volunteers. The Field Director must work closely with the
       volunteer coordinator.

The Volunteer Coordinator
   •   Volunteers are a force multiplier in your campaign. Recruiting, retaining, training, and allocating
       volunteers are the jobs of the volunteer coordinator.
   •   Volunteers can be used in any campaign department, so it is the volunteer coordinators job to stay
       on top of these needs and opportunities. Campaigns are full of volunteers, not staff.
   •   Local volunteers are better validators for your candidate than campaign than any campaign
       materials or even campaign staff.
   •   The best volunteer coordinators develop volunteers into leaders. These volunteers will eventually
       take on parts of the volunteer coordinator’s tasks. Ideally, the volunteer coordinator can step back
       and become a volunteer him/herself.

Other Important Players
The Consultants
   •   These are people hired to supplement work done by your staff, or substitute for staff and skills you
       might lack. Their expertise comes in every imaginable field, and they are usually very good at what
       they do.
   •   They are also extremely expensive, usually non-local, and entirely optional if you have your own
       trained staff and volunteers.

The Lawyers
   •   Familiarize yourself with the law. Campaigns of any significant size should have legal counsel. You
       don’t want to do anything illegal (you don’t – it’s not worth it), and having careful counsel will help
       you navigate the system and avoid improprieties you might not have even known about.
   •   This training does not give legal advice, and nothing we say should be taken as such. Get your own!

The Family and other Surrogates
   •   The candidate’s family must support the candidate’s run. When a candidate runs, the candidate’s
       whole family is running.
   •   Ideally, the family is available for the campaign. Family members are often the best surrogates for
       the candidate.
   •   If the family is part of the campaign, they must understand the campaign message and be able to
       stay on it. The campaign manager must be comfortable enough with the family (and vice versa).

Developing Your Message

                    If You Can Master Message, You Master Media –
                If You Can Master Media, You Can Win Your Campaign.

                               What is your campaign about?
The theme is the overarching rationale for the campaign. The answer to the question: “Why you? Why
Now?” Every message, regardless of the target goes back to the general theme of the campaign. Your
theme shouldn’t seem hollow; it should have meaning to the voter. Challenger and incumbents have
inherently different themes.

The challenger‘s theme argues for change.
   • Reagan, 1980: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
   • Every issue, every response in the Reagan campaign went back to this question. Whether it was a
       question on crime, jobs, or national security, the campaign’s message would implicitly or expecitly
       invoke this theme.
   • Howard Dean’s “Take our country back” implies the need for change in a way that resonated with
       those who felt the country was going in the wrong direction – a classic challenger position.

The incumbent theme argues for continuity.
   • Reagan, 1984: “It’s morning in America!”
   • Like any other incumbent, Reagan focused on the issues which Americans could be proud of. When
       focusing on the positive becomes difficult, a theme stressing continuity is just as important. From
       Abe Lincoln in 1864 declaring, “We must not change horses midstream…” to George W. Bush’s
       invocations of terror, the incumbent must present to the voter a rationale to stay the course.

Examples         Race                 Democratic Message
            •    Carter vs. Ford      ▪   Change
            •    Carter vs. Reagan    ▪   Continuity
            •    Mondale vs. Reagan   ▪   Change
            •    Dukakis vs. Bush     ▪   Change
            •    Clinton vs. Bush     ▪   Change
            •    Clinton vs. Dole     ▪   Continuity
            •    Gore vs. Bush        ▪   Continuity
            •    Kerry v. Bush        ▪   Change

A message is more specific, more detailed, and more focused than the campaign theme. It’s a basic idea
that you should be able to express in less than 30 words (27 to be more precise, and we’ll see that later).

Messages can be targeted to particular audiences, tailored for common responses, and changed up as the
campaign goes along. Messages are strongest when they go beyond the simple “I support X issue” and
start getting to the values the candidate shares with those whom s/he wants to represent. Regardless of
the specific message, all messages must consistently reinforce the theme of the campaign.

The Message Box
Our messages don’t exist in a vacuum. We wage campaigns because we are challenged or are challenging
an opposing idea or candidate. We need to be able to anticipate their messages and prepare ourselves to
respond and bring the conversation back to our own message.

 A tool we use to map this rhetorical landscape is the Message Box. The Message Box is a visual
representation of the potential messages from both parties in the campaign. It details what we say about
ourselves, what we say about our opponents, what our opponents say about themselves, and what they say
about us – covering the campaign from each possible angle. It looks like this:

               What we say about ourselves/             What they say about themselves/
                         our plan                                  their plan

                 What we say about them/                      What they say about us/
                        their plan                                   our plan

To help us refine our message, we plot the general messages in the appropriate boxes. To give an idea of
what this would look like, we’ll fill out an example using a major issue in the upcoming legislative session.

               “Every Vermonter deserves to                  “The free market allows
                      have a doctor”                      Vermonters to choose the best

             “The costs of the current system            “Socialized health care leads to
                is spiraling out of control”             more government bureaucracy”

How to Use the Message Box
Going through this exercise early on in the campaign will help you anticipate and think through your
strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities, and potential threats (SWOT – strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and threats). In addition to helping you refine your own message, the message box allows
you start plotting defense and planning attacks beforehand. You will have to respond to your opponent and
having a message box allows you to respond in a way that brings it back to your message.

Because you can anticipate what your opponent will say, you can pre-empt their message. If, for example,
you anticipate a campaign where your opponent will emphasize his own experience, you might talk about
the need for a fresh perspective and somehow attempt to paint your opponent’s time in office as a liability.
At all times, the message of your campaign should work to bring the dialogue back to your side of the
column – back to “what we say about….”

The message box keeps us grounded and prevents the campaign staffers from becoming an isolated echo
chamber of sorts. This exercise is useful to start off a campaign, but don’t just let it sit there. Update it
every week. If your campaign is switching to a different message or if your opponent is attacking you from a
different angle, you’ll be ready. A good message box will predict how the campaigns will be defined if you
control the message (first column), or how the campaigns will be defined if your opponent controls the
message (second column).

Exercise: Complete a message box
Try one out for yourself. Write out a message for an issue, campaign, or local Party

      What we say about:__________________              What they say about:_________________

      What we say about:__________________              What they say about:_________________

Message in the Field
A campaign will spend the majority of its resources getting the candidate’s message out to targeted voters.
Your message box gives you a general idea of what people are saying. Now we have to make sure the
message we’re using is getting through to our audience. Make sure the message you are developing sticks
to the following criteria.

Good messages are CONCISE.
     • Go directly to the point. Avoid complicated syllogisms. It’s a message, not a thesis.

Good messages are CLEAR
     • Use stark language. Leave no doubt about whose side you’re on. This is most effectively done
        when you base your message on values.

Good messages are CONSISTENT
     • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Voters are barraged with a steady stream of conflicting information every
        day. Having multiple messages dilutes your ability to reach the voter. Make sure your earned
        media reflect what is said in your paid media. Consistency and repetition reinforce the message.
        Consistency and repetition reinforce the message. Consistency and repetition reinforce the

Good messages are CONVINCING
     • Never, never, never lie. No short-term advantage gained through deception is worth the loss of
        credibility that occurs when caught in a lie. Being convincing is more than just telling the truth,
        however. You risk your credibility by talking about issues people simply do not care about. Is your
        message relevant to the people hearing it?

Good messages are CONTRASTIVE
     • Your job is to draw a distinction between you and the opposing candidate or issue position. Your
        job is to draw a favorable contrast. People can not decide if the alternatives are unclear or
        unimportant to them. Again, contrasting your values – why and how you came to support/
        oppose an issue – is more effective than your stance on a particular issue.

Another Note on Repetition… Another Note on Repetition
Staff, volunteers, activists, and other political junkies will notice a campaign    Does Repetition work?
constantly repeating a message. It can become so repetitious that people can       Complete these phrases:
recite it in their sleep. By the time the staff gets sick of a message, that
message is only just beginning to register in the minds of voters. The vast        “Milk, does a body ___. ”
majority of the population does not make following the nuances of a
campaign a priority in their life. They are inundated with messages. The only      “Beef, It’s what’s for ___.”
messages which get through are those which adhere to the above criteria and
which are constantly present in the voters’ lives. Voters will only occasionally   “Pork, the other ___ ___.”
notice a political message and you must make sure yours is the one they
notice.                                                                            Corporate advertising has
                                                                                   used the steady repetition
Corporate marketers use the ‘700 impressions’ rule. A consumer must see            of simple phrases to cut
the same thing 700 times before it alters their buying behavior. The most          through the clutter of
successful marketers are so omnipresent that our use of their brand is             everyday life. We know
unconsciously emblazoned in our thinking. How many times have you used             these old phrases today
the brand “Kleenex” when you meant the product “facial tissue?”                    because of repetition.
 Your campaign must deliver its message multiple times before the target voter has noticed it even once.

The Ideal Message Format : 27 – 9 – 3
Now that you have an idea on how to develop your message, how do you best convey this message to the
people? Remember that campaigns are a series of communications. You have to find a good way to start
that conversation, a way to catch people’s attention. Too often our messages get lost on people because
we assume that other people are lining up to hear what we say; we forget that we need to give them a good
reason to listen to us first. Instead, we bombard them with dry, long-winded imperatives.

Fitting our message into the 27 – 9 – 3 format allows us to get our foot in the door. What is 27 – 9 – 3?

                                     27 words ● 9 seconds ● 3 points

You have 27 words in 9 seconds using three quick points. The 27 – 9 – 3 method forces you to use clear,
concise language. It allows for easy repetition.

Newspaper stories will often include a direct quote in the first two or three paragraphs of any political story.
Television and radio have an even stricter limitation: time. The real limitation of finite column inches and
finite air time forces the reporter to look for a concise quote which encapsulates the subjects position. If
the speaker wants to control what is written and attributed to him/her, the speaker must acknowledge this
reality. Successful speakers use the 27 – 9 – 3 to get their ‘foot in the door’ and hook listeners and will
continue to use the 27 – 9 – 3 for any point that the speaker wants quoted or remembered.

Examples:                                          Exercises: Try these out.
Neighbor-to-neighbor/ casual conversation:         Why do you deserve a raise?
“So, Jane, you keep supporting these
Democrats. Why? Why should I vote for a
“Right and wrong, Joe. It’s wrong to deprive
kids of healthcare, fight this misguided war,
put government in my personal business.
Isn’t it time for what’s right?                    What is the Democratic Agenda?
Justifying an established position:
Global Warming is a threat to all Americans. It
will affect our family farms, raise our property
insurance rates, and alter animal habitats.
We’re seeing it now.
                                                   What is so great about Social Security?
Promoting your platform:
“I think it’s time to shake things up: Time to
support our schools, time to clean out City
Hall, and time to bring jobs back to Anytown.”

Staying On Message
Why stay on message?
Maintaining good message discipline requires three things: Repeat the             “Ugh! This guy just keeps
message, repeat the message, and stay on message. Constantly repeating            saying the same thing over
your message is easy enough, but staying on message is a learned skill.           and over. People are going to
Keeping your campaign on message is the best way to reach your audience                        this.”
                                                                                  get tired of this
in a manner over which you have control. The worst communications gaffes
nearly always result from an undisciplined speaker. No matter how                 Nope, not really. Most people
wonderful the candidate or issue, straying from your message will open the        aren’t tired of it yet because,
door to distortion or worse, lack of coverage.                                    unlike you, most people
                                                                                  haven’t even heard it.
Those who stay on message, control the message. The media can only
report what it sees and hears. If you provide nothing but your message, it will
repeat only your message. Message discipline has a vastly greater effect on
what we see and hear in the media than any partisan or corporate bias.

Answering vs. Responding                                                          “Ugh!
                                                                                   Ugh!    He’s      not    even
The most likely – and most dangerous – place where we stray from our              answering      the    question.
message is when someone is deliberately pushing us away from it. Assertive        People are going to see right
reporters may come in with their own angle or their own agenda. But no                    this.”
                                                                                  through this
matter what the reporters’ angle, they can only quote what you say.               What’s to see through?
                                                                                  People are going to see and
The common pitfall for an undisciplined campaign or candidate is to answer        hear only the message of the
whatever question is asked of them. This puts control of your message in          campaign. It’s not evasion, it’s
the hands of someone who does not have your election as their goal. All of        focus.
your answers to any question should tie back into the current message of
the campaign. If the question is completely off-base, that’s fine, you’re just    “Well it looks like evasion and
going to talk about your message. It’s fine to say “I can’t comment on that       it doesn’t look good.”
right now.” Even confessing that you simply don’t know the answer is better
than making a statement with an unprepared answer. Often the reporter will        It doesn’t look like anything.
ask a loaded question, one that assumes an untrue or unconfirmed                  Few people watch the press
premise. The best response is to return to your message                           conferences. Most people see
                                                                                  the snippets which result
Remember, it’s your campaign. You are campaigning for a reason and the            when people actually say
people deserve to hear what that reason is.                                       something. We can control
                                                                                  these moments.

            Stay On Message Exercise:                                        Sample Dialogue
              “My dog has three legs.”                   R: “Why are we here today?”
                                                         S: “We’re here because my dog has three legs
 This exercise is simple. One person, the                R: “Mm hm. Don’t you think there more important
 spokesperson, is charged with a simple message.         issues to discuss?”
 Others in the activity are charged with getting the     S: “The most important thing for this community right
 spokesperson off message, to fluster and                                               legs.”
                                                         now is that my dog has three legs.
 distract. The message is “My dog has three legs.”       R: “Given what we know about pre-war Iraq
                                                         intelligence, where do you stand on the war?”
 If time allows, take turns and switch out the           S: “Well, in my neighbor hood, people are concerned
 spokes-person until each person in the group has                   three-       dog.”
                                                         about my three-legged dog
 had a turn fielding questions.                          R: “But the American people want to know why we
                                                         went to war on faulty intelligence.”
                                                         S: “I don’t know much about that, but , my neighbors
                                                         are asking why my dog has three legs

Working With The Media

                What is “the media”? And why do we need it?
For our purposes, the media is an amplifier.                      The Dictionary Definition:
A campaign is a form of communication, a conversation with        n. pl. me di a (-d-) or me diums - A means
the voter. Campaigns use many methods of reaching the             of mass communication, such as
voter – canvassing, phone calls, and direct mail, for example.    newpapers, magazines, radio, or
The media is an existing communications infrastructure            television. media (used with a sing. or pl.
which already reaches nearly all our targeted voters. So we       verb) The group of journalists and others
use the media as a means for getting out our message to           who constitute the communications
large numbers of voters.                                          industry and profession.
Media as the ‘Middle Box’ – The media as mediator
                                               Campaign Message

                              Campaign              Media              Voters

                                               Feedback /Reaction
The media is the campaign’s bridge to the voter. Since TV, radio, print, and online media are already
consumed by the voter, our task is to use these existing bridges to deliver our message to the voter. You
can craft a compelling message, but it means nothing if it fails to reach the voter. It’s not always easy.
Sometimes voters just aren’t paying attention. Sometimes the media itself, the ‘middle box,’ is difficult to
master. Campaigns divide media exposure into categories, paid media and earned media.

Paid Media
The ads you see –TV, radio, print, and online – are all paid media. This space costs money – usually quite a
lot, but it’s your message exactly the way you want it. The expense depends on the specific medium and
varies by target demographic, media market, or circulation. A large campaign can spend as much as 80%
of its budget on media buys.

Most campaigns, especially local and down-ballot campaigns, do not spend a great deal on paid broadcast
or print media. In smaller districts, it might not make sense to pay for broadcast media that covers an area
much larger than the district itself. For campaigns that do not have a large budget for paid media, it is
better to concentrate on one medium at a time until each medium is saturated sufficiently. For example, a
campaign might invest in radio to the point where it is ubiquitous over the radio waves before buying any
television time. This keeps you from diluting your exposure and getting buried in all the other noise.

Earned Media
A good campaign gets excellent media exposure at very little cost. Earned media is less predictable, more
labor intensive, and takes time. The advantage of earned media is 3rd party validation – something you
cannot buy.

           Just don’t call it “free media.” We call it earned media because you have to work for it!
Getting press earns you credibility among every group of people important to a campaign. Most donors
need to hear about your campaign and know their investment is viable before giving. Fundraisers should
have press clips ready to present to donors. Endorsers feel similarly about lending their name to an
unknown candidate. Having earned media is an important barometer even for other journalists – everyone
wants to cover the hot story. Finally and most importantly, the voters’ most memorable exposure to your
campaign comes from the news stories they see and hear. This manual section focuses on earning media
coverage for your campaign.

           What’s Out There – Different Kinds of Earned Media
Print Media
Print media is still the most important source of political news for people who care about politics. It covers
political news more comprehensively than any other medium. Most importantly, stories originating from the
paper are picked up by other news media, but rarely do other news media break a story that print later
picks up. The print media sets the tone for how your campaign will be covered and communications
staffers should therefore pitch to newspapers first.

While other media outlets’ reporters may cover a broad range of topics, a newspaper’s reporters cover
‘beats,’ or areas of specialization. A campaign pitches a story to a reporter and if s/he likes it, the reporter
will pitch it to the editor who will approve or disapprove.

Whereas television and radio media are limited by time constraints, print media is limited by space
constraints. Editors decide how much space each story gets and usually do so by morning. Editors and
reporters meet mid-morning to divvy out assignments.

Print media comes in different forms. The major daily papers are the                                   press!
                                                                                Don’t forget specialty press
largest, most influential forms of print media. In a large urban area the
daily (or dailies) have large readership and often multiple political beat    Papers covering a specific
reporters. Small town papers have limited resources, but are likely to        constituency                have
be more influential to the residents of that town than any other outlet.      tremendous influence over
                                                                              smaller, targeted segments of
Most rural areas have a weekly paper instead of a daily. These papers
                               paper,                                         the population. Some papers
are widely read by the communities they serve. They are also                  cover specific professional
understaffed and eager to take press releases and statements from             interests, others cover ethnic
newsmakers, and often run entire portions of your release as the story.       and racial populations, many
                                                                              are written in different
A different kind of weekly is the urban, alternative weekly paper – City      languages. These papers –
Paper, City Pages, Metro, etc. These papers view themselves differently       especially       the      labor,
than ‘establishment’ papers and are (usually) very politically charged,       racial/ethnic,     and     LGBT
admittedly biased, and progressive. The political stories can actually be     targeted papers – serve as
longer in these papers and the reporters frequently look for a fresh and      vital connections to each
unique angle not covered by the major daily.                                  community. Outreach to these
                                                                              papers is appreciated by the
You can use Neighborhood or Suburban weeklies to target local                 groups, and often expected.
communities for very little cost. These papers take their role very           This can be a key component
seriously and will be eager to take on a political story. Many are run out    in your targeting strategy.
of the same office and owned by the same person/ company.

Radio Media
Radio stations break down into three categories: News, entertainment, and talk radio. Many stations are
combinations of the three. They can all be important in your media strategy. And they all need one thing:
sound. This may seem obvious, but do not underestimate this need – the more quotes and commentary
your campaign can provide, the better off you will be. You can fill this need by providing radio feeds,
actualities, and live or live-to-tape interviews (explained later). Radio producers would like nothing more
than a library of sound bites of your candidate. The more they have; the more they will play.

Unlike newspapers, radio news decisions are generally made by one person in charge of the news division -
the news director. Have your candidate make a scheduled drop-by to meet the news director. This can also
be a good opportunity to tape an interview or make a few statements for broadcast. Unlike print media,
radio interviewers typically dislike seeing the interviewee read from a statement in the studio (you can also
call in for a taped or live interview, but make it sound natural). The news director’s job starts very early in
the morning (5 – 6am) – earlier than print media. Have the candidate wake up early to call in for interviews

and sound clips, and you may find the candidate on the air throughout the day. Some larger news stations
have reporters they will send out to cover major local events, but your best contact will remain the news

Entertainment radio stations will often have a news director as well. This person usually compiles stories
from the wire and plays what few radio feeds are available. If the station is open to reporting political news
(some are not, and need to be persuaded), they will be happy to have material of their own to air.

Talk radio stations need guests in studio and newsmakers calling in. Often,        “Hello caller, that’s a
talk radio stations will have a full-time scheduler/producer for this purpose.     good question…”
This is the person you need to pitch and get to know. Much like the urban          It’s always a good idea to
alternative weeklies, talk radio usually has a political slant and is not afraid   have a few friendly
to advertise its own bias. Unlike the urban alternative weeklies, radio talk       voices ready to call in.
show biases are frequently conservative. The most aggressively conservative        Radio talk shows often
shows should be avoided – they are more experienced at making people               have their own axe to
look like fools than the candidate is at not looking like a fool. Your candidate   grind, but will often go
has better ways to spend his/her time. Do not leave out talk radio entirely,       with a question from a
however. Many persuadable voters listen to talk radio. Do your research and        caller. It’s a good way to
don’t shy away from the more civil talk radio outlets.                             stay on message. Just
                                                                                   remember, calls are ID’d
Have your supporters monitor the talk shows and provide them with talking          and       questions   are
points on message with your campaign. If your candidate’s name or issues           screened, so be smart
are mentioned, your supporters will be ready. Better yet, the radio show will      about having supporters
almost always allow a candidate to call in and respond.                            call in.

Television Media                                                                     Television is visual.
Local campaigns must face two realities when it comes to television media.         When the environmental
First, television news coverage is undeniably important. The single greatest       movement       found     it
source from which Americans get their news is their own local evening news         difficult to get news
broadcasts. Second, television news, even more than other major media, is          coverage of Bush’s so-
acutely driven by ratings and what the news director believes people want to       called “Healthy Forests”
see. The news director usually believes that most people do not pay                initiative,   they    got
attention to politics until right before the election, but that most people will   creative. Groups held
always pay attention to crime, car chases, and scandals. Ideally, your             “21 chain-saw” salutes
campaign is involved in none of these.                                             all over the country.
                                                                                   News coverage and
Since early coverage can boost a campaign’s profile, the campaign’s
                                                                                   general             public
communications director will need to be persuasive and creative with the
                                                                                   awareness       increased
television news directors and their staff. Your main contact at most news
station will be the assignment editor – the person who decides who covers
what. The assignment editor meets with the managing news editor (who has
                                                                                   Some of the most
the ultimate say), in the morning. Unless a major news event suddenly needs
                                                                                   powerful visuals are
coverage, the day’s television news coverage is decided largely in the
                                                                                   simple statements. A
                                                                                   group opposing coal
Television is the most visual of all media. Just as radio media needs sound,       power pollution staged a
television needs compelling visuals. Car chases and crime scenes appear on         press conference at a
television news so often because it is news you can see. Local news doesn’t        public park with young
cover legislative sessions as much partly because the visual is long, boring,      people       in      the
and fails to tell a quick story. If a candidate wants to break into this medium,   foreground, and a large,
the campaign must always consider what the story looks like. The visuals           billowing    smokestack
should fit the message. Social Security press events can be held at senior         clearly visible in the
centers, education events held at schools, etc.                                    background.

Online Media
Defying skeptics and turning conventional wisdom on its head, Governor Howard Dean showed the political
establishment that the internet can be a major political tool. As we’ll learn in the Online Organizing section
of this manual, the internet is not a standalone strategy, but a component of a larger plan. The same is
true of using the internet in earned media. Because of the rapidly growing influence of online media, such
as blogs, this manual has a separate section on online organizing elsewhere.

In short, you should look at using the internet as another way of getting your story out to the public. A key
distinction between online media and offline is that with offline media, viewer and listeners tune in and
listen. Online media must actively be sought and so the exposure is far more limited.

Your campaign can maintain its own blog to develop a community of online activists. Once this community
is active, and you are reasonably sure people get the campaign’s message, steer the press toward the site
as a way of getting some ‘unvarnished’ campaign perspective. If the press feel like the blog is organic and
a good way to add perspective to a breaking or developing story, they may go there for background info.

Remember that your campaign blog is coming from your campaign’s perspective. Let that perspective
shine through. There’s no use pretending that it is objective reporting. Your blog should be exciting and
have personality and candor (on-message candor). One of the best ways to keep people coming back is by
updating and posting many times a day. Link liberally to other blogs and websites your supporters (and
potential supporters) might like. This might drive up traffic to your site, but be careful not to link to anyone
with whom you would not want to be associated with.

You can also get your story out on major national blogs like DailyKos and MyDD. In addition to actually
buying ad space, you can write up online diaries or post to the main blog. If the story is compelling, it will
stick and people will talk/blog about it. Taking off on the national blogs might build you some buzz, but is
unlikely to make a major splash in a local race, so consider this when investing effort in national blogs.

Traditional media outlets often have online versions of their stories with expanded coverage. Typically, the
online version is entirely dependant on newsgathering from the traditional media outlet, so you should still
pitch to the beat reporter or news director instead of the webmaster.

Newswires do not reach the public directly, but they are an extremely important media target. Newswires
compile news articles, press releases, and media event schedules for other news organizations to use.
Their role is to provide media outlets with whole articles, background for stories, and an idea of what’s
coming next. Most wire services are divided into state and local bureaus and, like a newspaper, most have
their own reporters. Because they provide an invaluable service to media outlets, they should become a
priority for you. Once a story gets picked up on the wire, it’s there for any newspaper to run with.

Probably the most valuable service the wire services provide is the ‘daybook.’ This is a daily listing of any
and all the possible news events in the media market. Newspapers, radio stations, and local television
news organizations check this daybook at the beginning of each day and incorporate the listings into their
outlets’ schedule. Getting your event in the daybook can get you media at your event.

Major newswires like the Associated Press (AP) are present in almost every media market. Others such as
Reuters and UPI are found in larger cities. Don’t forget to look for local and regional newswires in your area.
Some statewide newspapers provide their own wire service for smaller papers across the state, making it
far more important to get your article in that paper.


   TELEVISION                                         Owner


                         News Director                                Community Affairs

    Assignment                                   Producers
    Desk Editor

                     Anchors           Reporters

      PRINT                                   Publisher
                                        Managing Editor

Editorial      Columnists
               Columnists          Editorial         City Desk          International         National
Page                               Board             Editor             Desk Editor           Desk Editor
Editor                             Members

                                                                       Beat Reporters

 Media outlets are run by networks of people doing different tasks. You should be familiar with the different
 roles individuals play in the media so that you can target the correct person with your story or message.
 The roles of the various editors of newspapers are available usually on the editorial page. If you need to
 know which reporter covers which beat, just call the outlet and ask.

                 Building Your Media List – Do Your Research
The first step to reaching out to the media and getting covered is to know whom to contact and what to
expect. Campaigns and organizations typically keep up-to-date media contact lists, sometimes called
‘press lists’ or ‘press books.’ Your media contact list is more than just a series of names and phone
numbers; it is your first resource for media outreach. Your media list should give you all the information you
need to start up or continue a relationship with a targeted employee of any media outlet. This includes:

       Information on each outlet:
               - Type of outlet (print, radio, etc.)
               - Name of outlet
               - Circulation/listening audience,/viewership/site traffic for the outlet (in the district)
               - Special constituencies (Latinos, GLBTs, Labor, small town, etc.)
               - Submission preferences (do they accept radio feeds, do they prefer emailed releases, etc)
               - Deadlines/flow of the day
               - Owner and other outlets are owned and/or managed by this person.
               - Newsroom/Assignment desk contact info (for generic earned media questions/requests)
               - Advertising and sales desk contact info (for generic paid media questions/requests)
               - Physical Address
       Information about each reporter or editor:
               - Beat(s)
               - Name
               - Phones (direct work, cell, etc.)
               - Fax (direct to news room)
               - Email
               - Deadlines
               - Supervising editor/manager
               - Past articles (or editorials) written about relevant topics
               - Record of recent contact with the campaign.
               - Other useful notes (“loves Yankees games,” “drinks decaf,” “new to the beat”)

You can figure out most of this information before your first contact. Much of this information is available
online and nearly all of it is attainable by calling the front desk. Some items will understandably take time
to figure out. Regardless, researching your district’s media early on will make life easier throughout the
campaign. Treat this early information gathering as a serious list-building task for the communications
team, and add this information to a dedicated database and binder.

Rapid response hinges on your ability to use this information quickly and       Reporters change their
efficiently, so make sure you have as much information as possible. Keep        beats, move to different
this data neatly organized and update frequently.                               outlets, or leave their job
                                                                                entirely on a fairly rapid
As with most campaign list-building, check with those who came before           basis. Update often.
you. Your local Party or previous campaigns have presumably done this
before. If neither the Party nor past campaigns are a reliable resource,        Just because you obtained
check with progressive organizations. Any group doing serious work with         access to an organization’s
the media will have a press list.                                               press     list  does     not
                                                                                necessarily mean you’ll
Using past experiences of others as a resource will save you time, but it is    need the same contacts.
not a shortcut. Go over each of the given outlets and reporters and verify      An enviro group may have
these contacts. Most likely, many will have changed or are not applicable       different contacts than an
to you. More importantly, just because you have the contact info, does not      anti-war group, or an
mean you have the relationship. This takes time and energy to build.            electoral campaign, etc.

         Building Your Media List – Developing Good Relations
Building credibility takes time - so start early. The best way to get consistent, good coverage from the
media is by building good relationships with members of the media from the very beginning.

Introduce your candidate or organization.
Schedule a quick meet-and-greet with the district’s news outlets or individual reporters. This can be in their
newsroom or over, lunch, coffee, etc. The purpose of this meet and greet is for the reporter to personally
get a feel of the candidate, and get some background info. Have a media packet ready to give to each
contact. The packet should contain a photo, a brief bio of the candidate, and background on the issues and
positions important to the campaign/organization. This will be a resource to the reporter as the campaign
goes on. Continue this kind of contact when possible throughout the campaign.

The four R’s of media relations: Respect, Respect, Respect… and Respect.
Good relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect. No public figure who openly disdained the
media ever got a break from them (think Richard Nixon or Jesse Ventura). Throughout your time on the
campaign, there are four key principles in working with the media:
   • Respect the reporter’s time – Get to know their deadlines. Reporters work on story ideas, interviews,
     and travel throughout the morning and early afternoon. They will likely work on their story (under
     deadline) in the afternoon, and work with their editors in the evening. The best time to contact any
     media outlet for a story is in the morning. Again, ask the individual reporter about their deadlines.
     Return calls and emails as soon as you can (they can air or print a story with or without you).
   • Respect the truth – Never, never, never lie. No lie will gain you a greater advantage than the risk of
     getting caught for it. The ‘cover-up’ will be a much bigger story than whatever the truth had been
     (think Bill Clinton). If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you don’t want a reporter to talk about
     something, don’t talk about it. And if you know your opponent has something damaging about you,
     reveal it first – preemptive truth-telling! It steals all the thunder.
   • Respect the relationship – Reporters are looking for good stories, not friends. Their loyalty is to
     their job, not to their subjects. You should be friendly, but even in the most casual of settings, they’re
     still a reporter and you’re still a potential news story.
   • Respect the record – Anything you say can be used for print or broadcast. The “off-the-record” line
     makes for good television drama (think West Wing), but it doesn’t work quite so conveniently in
     practice. Assume you and everyone else are always on the record.

     Reality Check: What is “Newsworthy” supposed to mean, anyway?
The answer: whatever the reporters/editors deem to be “news.” Their job isn’t to report whatever the
campaign asks of them. It is your job to get covered. Not everything the campaign does is newsworthy.
Those items and events which are newsworthy need to be explicitly framed as such. The traits of
   1) New and hot – Your story should be timely and fresh. If it’s adding to a current hot-topic, what’s
      the new angle, what are you offering that hasn’t been reported yet?
   2) Local and relevant – Think about how this story directly affects your neighbor. Every media
      outlet likes to see itself as the local voice. Your story matters to the locals.
   3) Visual and quotable – Your outreach should always have something for every medium and
      every sense. Radio listeners can picture the story and newspaper readers can hear the sounds.
   4) Human interest – Put a name to the story. If you’re talking about healthcare, don’t just cite
      statistics, tell the story of someone with whom people can relate.
   5) Conflict or controversy – Controversy gets coverage, but be careful. Your candidate should be
      solving problems, not creating them. If your candidate has solutions; s/he is on the right side of the

                                        Pitching Your Story
Reporters don’t just go out there and find the news, the news finds them. That’s where the campaign’s
communication team comes in. The news media will not cover your campaign unless you give them
newsworthy campaigns stories to cover. This can be as simple as making some quick phone calls.

Whom to pitch: Find the reporter whose beat your story falls under, usually the political reporter. Consult
your media list (see above). If you’re not making progress on one angle, get creative. A story about the
rising costs of healthcare on local employers can be a campaign issue story (political beat), an employment
story (business beat), or a local story (city beat).
What to pitch: Too often, campaigns will pitch non-stories and believe that the reporter should put it in
the news. Just because your candidate has announced a policy position does not mean that the
announcement is newsworthy. Try to keep it interesting and new: have the announcement come with an
endorsement, have stakeholders speaking at an event, announce at a location where the announcement
will have a tangible impact, and ALWAYS work in a visual.
When to pitch: Every type of news media has a different flow to their day (see            When pitching to
below). Whatever the outlet, it is always best to pitch a story in the morning. Only      print media, you are
pitch a story to the media in the afternoon if it’s a breaking news development that      not only pitching to
can not wait. Most editors and news directors decide what is covered at mid-              the reporter, but
morning meetings. For events you want covered, give the reporters as much notice          also the reporter’s
as possible and be sure to include it in the newswires’ daybooks. As always, be           editor. Often a
aware of the reporters’ deadlines for their stories. Usually, a communications            reporter will need
director or press secretary will place a pitch call after sending out a ‘news advisory’   to pitch a number
(see below).                                                                              of stories to an
How to pitch: People develop their own style when they pitch call a reporter. The         editor and       the
general guidelines are to keep it quick and interesting. If you have not worked with      editor will decide
the reporter in the past, briefly introduce yourself and your campaign/organization.      which     ones    to
After you’ve become more familiar with the reporter, briefly connect with the             pursue. When you
reporter (Comment on a recent article or an event). Reporters are busy, however,          pitch you want not
so they don’t have time to chat, so don’t wait too long to get in the substance. Be       only to convince the
ready with reasons why the reporter should change their schedule around for you.          reporter, but make
Your pitch includes the basic info on the event/announcement/etc (which will also         him or her an
be on the news advisory) and the context of why this story is important. Remember         advocate for your
to pitch in terms that lead the reporter to believe your story is newsworthy.             story.

                                            Sample pitch call:
Communications Director (CD): Hey, Joe! This is Noreen from DFA-AnyCity. You got a minute.
Reporter (R): Hi Noreen. I have one minute, shoot.
CD Great. I just shot you over a News Advisory and wanted to make sure it got through your fax. Did you
    get it?
Reporter Hold on a sec…. Yeah, it’s right here. Looks like another speaking event.
CD I thought I should tell you about it. I noticed your article on the rising costs of healthcare last week,
    obviously the hot issue for everyone right now. Well, my candidate is going to the town Chamber of
    Commerce on Tuesday and taking a stance on the issues you wrote about. She’s going to talk about
    how the situation in the state is hurting business. We’ve got local business leaders there as well. With
    local businesses speaking out for universal access now, this is going to change the debate.
Reporter I’ll see what I can do.
CD Great. My candidate read your article last week and really liked it, She’d love to talk to you at the event.
    Should I let her know you’ll be there?
Reporter I need to check my schedule.
CD Sure thing. I’ll check back closer to the event.

                                     The Typical News Cycle
There is a rhythm to the news. Understanding this rhythm means knowing when to hold or release the
news, to pitch a story, and to hold events such that your media outreach has the maximum effect.
   2:00 am         Blogosphere breaks leading stories.
   4:30 am         Wire Services (AP, Reuters, etc) rewrite and condense stories from the morning
                   newspapers – called “Rip and read” for use by early morning radio and TV.
   4:30 am –       Radio and TV news directors assemble morning newscasts. Both TV and radio will use
   5:00 am         packages produced for the previous evening’s news in these early broadcasts. Some
                   radio stations will take audio feeds at this time. Some radio and TV will conduct live,
                   in-studio interviews.
   6:00 am –       Blogosphere reacts with commentary to leading stories.
   9:00 am         Morning TV news recycles last night’s news, teasers for evening newscasts.
                   Drive time, peak radio listening.
   10:00 am        Front page deadlines for afternoon dailies (hit stands at 1-2pm).
                   Good time to pitch stories to TV assignment desks.
                   Good time to hold news conferences, media events.
   11:00 am –      Most television packages shoot to allow for writing and editing before airing. Good
   1:30 pm         time to hold news conferences and media events to get in today’s news.
                   Good time to pitch print reporters for upcoming events, stories, and other items.
   1:30 pm –       Reporters on deadline working on stories. Expect media inquiries: be ready to answer
   5:00 pm         questions and return calls.
   5:00 pm         Deadlines for back news sections of morning papers, including local and regional
                   news not already slated to be front page news.
                   Not a good time to pitch stories. Not a good time to hold news conferences/media
                   events but only to get into the next day’s news.
   5:00 pm –       “Drive time” – peak radio listening.
   6:30 pm
   5:00 pm –       Print reporters working with editors on front page stories. Expect media inquiries: be
   8:00 pm         ready to answer questions and return calls.
                   Evening TV news broadcasts.
                   Not a good time to pitch stories. Not a good time to hold news conferences/ media
                   events for major or breaking stories or for tomorrow’s news.
   8:00 pm –       Front page deadlines, depending on size of paper. Blogosphere spins the
   9:00 pm         commentary; if there is sufficient favorable chatter on your event/topic/news or
                   announcement, keep up the buzz with online statements, a follow-up release, or
                   Some local TV stations nighttime news broadcast.
                   Guests due in studio for TV interviews on 10pm newscasts.
   10:00 pm –      Local TV stations nighttime news broadcast.
   11:30 pm
   Sun.            Good day for stories to appear in all media (most listeners/readers/viewers), poor day
                   to pitch to print media. Sunday papers typically run longer feature stories worked on
                   for the entire week. Pitching on Sat. may not get you in the Sun. paper.
   Mon.            Good day for stories to appear, good to pitch stories.
   Tue – Thurs.    Best days to pitch stories, best for stories to appear and best for media events.
   Fri.            Poor day for stories to appear, worst day to pitch a story to any media.
   Sat.            Worst day for a story to appear (fewest listeners/readers/viewers).
** Of course, if you need to release bad news, you would use this cycle differently, most likely releasing on Friday
after 5pm, preferably before a holiday.
Earned Media Tools for the Campaign
The News Advisory
A news advisory (also called a ‘press advisory’) serves as a notice or invitation to the media for an event.
This is a brief, simple document stating the facts. It has the information necessary for the reporter to get to
the event and a brief blurb to hook the reporter. It lists what, when, where, and who. The advisory will note
any photo and interview opportunities for the media. The organization, send date, contact info, and “NEWS
ADVISORY” are clearly marked at the top. Advisories are sent out a few days to a week before the event
and the morning of the event.

Always follow up News Advisories with pitch calls. During the call, ask if the reporter has received it (be
assertive, ask them to check and see if it went through. That way, they’re likely holding it in their hand as
you pitch to them). Advisories can also serve as a notice for a candidate’s public schedule.

A sample is included at the end of this section.

The News Release
News releases (also called ‘press releases’) are news stories put out by the campaign or organization. They
are from the perspective of the campaign itself –the story the way you want to see it published. Campaigns
put these out to assist the reporter writing the story by providing material and point of reference. News
releases are also a good way to release a statement. Ideally, the outlet will take the release and paste
portions directly into the story (more likely for smaller, understaffed papers). Carefully writing and
formatting the release makes it easier for the outlet to do this.

For media events, a campaign should only distribute a news release during or after the event. This is an
important distinction between the advisory and the release; the advisory draws them to the event and the
release is what they get for coming. The release is written in past tense. This helps the reporter remember
your version of the event. Afterward, the news release is distributed to all the outlets which did not appear.
Most of your media hits will be from outlets who did not show up to the event, but with whom you did a
thorough follow-up. The news release allows reporters to cover the story even if they could not show up.

Check for spelling, typos, punctuation, and so on. This sounds simple, but in the heat of a campaign it can
be overlooked. Establish a system to have another person edit your press releases. An outlet will judge the
professionalism of your campaign based on your news release.

News releases are simple, short, and consistent. You will almost never need to exceed two pages (though
you might include secondary information such as research in a press packet). As with all communications,
your news release will include your message.

A news release should be clearly and explicitly designated as such. The words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”
should be in the upper left hand corner and your contact info (name, phone numbers, Email) in the upper
right hand corner. The release is written like a story and starts with a headline (and optional subhead). The
lead paragraph should include a ‘hook’ (something catchy or interesting) in the first line and should include
all the basic facts – who, what, when, where, why. The next couple of paragraphs will have a quote and
further explanation, followed by supporting material, and possibly other quotes. The news release ends
with a centered series of pound signs, “###” to indicate the end. If your release must exceed two pages,
each page ends with a centered “-more-” or “- 1 of 2 –“ until the final page. Factual references should be
cited, or better, included in the media packet.

A sample news release is included at the end of this section.

Radio Feeds and Actualities
Radio feeds are the audio version of the news release, condensed into a 30 second spot. Radio feeds start
with a staffer introducing the speaker with a five second lead-in; for example, “Candidate X released a
statement in reaction to the governor’s proposed cut in social services today.” The lead-in is followed by
the candidate reading his/her quote (remember the 27-9-3). The feed closes with the staffer’s concluding
line and how to contact the campaign. Only the candidate’s quote will be played by the radio outlet; the
intro and closing are for the benefit of the outlet. Not all outlets accept radio feeds from the campaign.

Actualities differ from radio feeds in that they are live recordings of a candidate or speaker at an actual
event. The sound bite is captured live at the event – not pre-recorded. The lead-in and closing can still be
attached. News radio outlets typically prefer actualities over feeds, but do not confuse the two or try to
pitch a radio feed as an actuality – radio news directors know better.

                             Earned Media on the Editorial Page
Getting your candidate’s name and positions in the editorial section of a newspaper is a major victory for
the campaign. The editorial section of the paper is the second most frequently read section of the paper. It
confers credibility and sets the tone for the discussion of issues. This is also the section of the paper over
which you and your supporters have the most control.

Editorial Board Meetings
A newspaper only makes an endorsement of a candidate or position after deliberation of the entire
editorial board staff. These endorsements can be enormously important for your campaign. An
endorsement carries the weight and credibility of the paper and provides excellent earned media for use in
everything from mailings, fundraising, and field communications. You should make yourself a part of this
process by being available to the editorial staff of the paper and setting up a meeting with them for the
purpose of discussing an endorsement.
Prior research and the ability to deliver your message consistently are the key skills to a good meeting. The
campaign staff should spend time researching prior positions the editorial board has taken, especially if
any of these positions match or contradict the position of your candidate or organization. Be sure to
research past candidate endorsements as well. You will be expected to have a deep understanding of the
issues important to the circulation area of that paper. After researching the editorial board itself, the
campaign or organization should run through a role-play at least once so the candidate or speaker is
prepared going into the meeting.
You should come fully prepared to have a lengthy discussion on any of these issues, knowing you will be on
the record the entire time. The key is to stay on message, even as you discuss issues in depth. The editorial
board is getting a feel for your candidate and will not restrict itself to searching for sound bites, so it is easy
to veer off message or become too casual.

Op-Eds are guest commentaries, typically appearing opposite editorials in the editorial section of a
newspaper at a length typically ranging from 500-700 words. Op-Eds allow the campaign or organization to
thoroughly inform the reading audience of an issue and take a firm stance on it without the typical filtering
and reduction of the newspaper’s editorial process.

The largest factors in getting your Op-Ed published are timeliness and authority/credibility. Your Op-Ed, as
with all earned media, should be timely – a commentary on a current hot topic or event. An auto plant
closure might provide an opportunity for “a frank discussion on this county’s job growth strategy,” for
example. The other major factor is the authority of the contributor to comment on the subject. Op-Eds are
typically authored by experts or office-holders. Establishing the credibility of the author (or, if necessary,
finding a surrogate with credibility) will get you published by the paper and noticed by the reader.

Letters to the Editor
Getting letters to the editor (LTEs) published is an effective tactic for media coverage for a grassroots
campaign. The LTE section of the paper is widely read and reacted to and relatively easy to break into.
Anyone can write in to the paper and, given a good letter, anyone can get published. LTE tactics can be tied
into the larger communications strategy easily and effectively.
The first principle of getting LTEs published on a regular basis is to know your paper. Each paper has its
own set of rules regarding submission, length, timeliness, and exclusivity. Find out what they are. Next, cast
a wide net and include all the papers in your area, including those that are small or have a focused
constituency. Finally, remember both quantity AND quality count. An issue becomes hot if many people
suddenly write into the paper about it, but your paper isn’t going to publish poorly written material.

                             Qualities that get your letter published
      Reactionary – Newspapers like to print LTEs which react to or reference stories they recently
      ran. An explicit reference to a previous story is often posted at the beginning of the letter. If
      you get creative; you can make just about any article in the paper related to your issue.
      Timely – LTEs referencing a story are best submitted within three days of that story’s printing.
      Concise – This is an important trait of a good letter. Papers can only print only so many letters
      and prefer to print those which fit nicely into their limited space. Get to know the paper’s word
      count (usually 250 – 300 words) and undershoot it by 50 or more every time. Focus on one
      issue. Brevity trumps eloquence for LTEs.
      Localized and Personalized – LTEs are the most personal and local part of the paper. Even
      national issues should have a local angle. Use personal pronouns and local place names. On
      the LTE section, a personal story trumps a list of facts. Statements like “2/3s of the state’s
      waterways” are less powerful than “the creek in my back yard.”
      Grammar and Tone – Proof even the shortest LTEs. Avoid invectives.
      Smart and Witty – Citing a fact or two does add credibility. Stating that fact in a clever way is
      an even bigger bonus.
      Contact Info – Most papers require verification of the letter’s author before printing.
      Follow Up – Another way to impact your chances of getting published is to follow up after
      submitting your LTE. Ask if they received it and if they will publish it.
LTE Rapid Response Teams. Whenever the campaign or organization needs third-party response in
support or opposition to articles in the paper or actions taken by either campaign, this team should be
ready. A model LTE Rapid Response Team will have two main components:
    • The people who write the LTEs.
    • And the people who submit the LTEs.
The first team, the writers, is adept at concise clever writing on short notice. They can and should submit
their own LTEs, but the newspaper will not publish the same LTE author over and over again. This is why
you have the second group. These people are on call to receive, modify/personalize, and submit LTEs
drafted by the first group. This second group must personalize their letter – the paper will not publish
obvious form letters. The second group is much larger and can encompass your entire volunteer base.
Three people can flood a paper by spending a few minutes drafting LTEs and finding 12 – 15 submitters.

Pro-Active LTE seeding. Why wait to respond when you can start setting the tone on the editorial page?
Have your LTE team ready to seed the editorial page with letters friendly to the candidates current (or
upcoming) message. If the candidate is set to discuss local unemployment numbers, have a few LTEs
printed asking for the candidates to stand up and take a (friendly) stance on unemployment.

                News Conferences and Media Events
News conferences and other planned media events are a great way to attract attention to the campaign
and build recognition for the candidate or issue. They also consume a great deal of time. In planning your
media event, make sure your ‘news’ is truly ‘newsworthy.’ News conferences in particular should be
reserved for ‘big news.’ Some media outlets may not come to events unless explicitly labeled a ‘news
conference.’ You can be creative about what that means (for example, the press conference could include
a tour of the local clinic as the visual), but be sensitive to what motivates outlets to come to your events.
Disappointing a reporter makes it less likely for that reporter to spend time covering future events.

Before The Event
Plan, Plan, Plan. For major news events or anytime you expect your candidate to get media coverage, plan
every possible detail. Someone should confirm venue and other logistical details. One person works with
the speakers to stay on message. Another reaches out to the media, invites them to the event, and follows
up with them afterward. In smaller campaigns, one person may find themselves doing it all.
Your team will need to pick an appropriate time and place for the event. The timing should work with the
candidate/speaker’s schedule and also fit with the flow of the news cycle (see above). The place for the
event should fit with the message of the announcement. If the conference is about your healthcare plan,
hold the event outside a clinic. If pollution is the issue, get a billowing smokestack in the background.
Choose a place that is easily accessible to the media. You will have a difficult time convincing a reporter to
leave their work for extended periods of time just to get to one media event.
Visuals are important for TV and print media. Be explicit about your inclusion of photo opportunities at the
event. Research your location. Your site might have a compelling story and could act as a creative hook for
the story. Note the availability of electrical outlets if indoors and check the acoustics to figure out if your
speaker(s) will need a microphone.
Prep your materials. Include your news release, accompanying information, contact info, and other relevant
materials in a media packet for all outlets that send reporters. A sample press kit is included at the end of
this section. Any visuals you created yourself should be prepared well before the event.
Media outreach. As soon as a time, place, and message are set, the press secretary needs to reach out to
the media. Identify which outlets you need to cover the event (usually all outlets which cover news in a
given area), send out the media advisory, and follow up with a pitch call. This outreach should take place a
week to three days before the event. Major events may have more notice, but reporters typically do not
plan their media events that far ahead.

Sample Timeline
                     Schedule date and secure a location. Make sure to thoroughly scout the location.
1 – 2 weeks
                     Develop message.
                     Find and confirm speakers.
                     Draft, edit, and send media advisory (fax and email). Begin pitch calls.
2 – 3 days           Write news release, radio feed, and speakers’ statements.
beforehand           Compile press packets.
                     Recruit necessary volunteers, assign roles. Crowd-build, if necessary.
1 – 2 days           Establish speaker order. Reconfirm speakers, review statements and message.
beforehand           Confirm logistics, confirm volunteers.
                     Confirm and re-pitch to media.
Day Of               Event set-up and early arrival.
                     Begin media follow-up immediately after the event.
                     Continue media follow-up.
Day after
                     Send thank you notes when applicable.

The Message Calendar
Campaign communications is sometimes reactive and opportunistic. An event happens or a news item
breaks and your campaign must respond. Because of the chaos of a campaign, especially as the election
date draws nearer, people forget that much more of campaign communications is planned. The campaign
makes an event happen. The campaign is the news item. A good way to maintain control over political
media coverage is to use a message calendar, also called a media calendar.

The message calendar is a planning guide used to keep people focused and pro-active about news
coverage. Posting your calendar allows everyone to see the day’s or week’s message. Earned media and
paid media adhere to the message on the calendar. All public events and statements include the message.
Ads which are to appear reflect what the candidate has been saying about the message.

             Sample Calendar: Universal Access to Primary and Preventative Healthcare
Campaign          Monday           Tuesday           Wednesday       Thursday        Friday           Sat and Sun
Healthcare        1                2                 3               4               5                6–7
Access:           Paid TV and      Tour     local    [Paid TV and    [Paid TV and    Talk     Radio   Volunteers
“Every            radio ads up.    clinic serving    radio]          radio]          appearance       canvass in 29
Vermonter                          the                                               on WXYZ –        targeted
deserves a        Democratic       uninsured.                                        drive time.      districts.
doctor.”          radio feeds,
                  release on HC    [Paid     radio
                  reform.          and TV]
Quality           8                9                 10              11              12               13 – 14
Healthcare:       Democratic       Visit                             Radio Call-in                    Volunteers
“Prevention is    release, radio   children’s                        show       at                    canvass in 29
the best cure –   feeds on HC      hospital.                         WABC        –                    targeted
early and basic   reform.                                            evening                          districts.
access keeps                                                         broadcast.
Healthcare Cost   15               16                17              18              19               20 – 21
Containment:      Democratic       Luncheon,                         Opposition                       Volunteers
“Vermonters       release, radio   speech      at                    speaking                         canvass in 29
and their         feeds on HC      Rotary Club                       event.                           targeted
employers need    reform.                                            Announce                         districts.
an integrated                                                        response.

Healthcare        22               23                24              25              26               27 – 28
Access:           Democratic       Surrogates        Announce                        Business         Volunteers
“Every            release, radio   launch attack     planned                         roundtable       canvass in 29
Vermonter         feeds on HC      ads.              endorsements                    public           targeted
deserves a        reform.                                                            discussion on    districts.
doctor.”                           Meeting with                                      public tv.
                                   Chamber of
Quality           29               30                31
Healthcare:       Democratic                         Full     News
“Prevention is    release, radio                     Conference at
the best cure –   feeds on HC                        capitol.
early and basic   reform.
access to keep

Crisis Management
In the course of any competitive campaign, you may have to deal with negative attacks or damaging
information uncovered by an opponent or the media. Whatever the nature of the crisis, three things must
guide your response:

Don’t panic. Don’t lie. There is no drama.
A well prepared campaign will expect attacks. You have a landscape memo, you have a message box, and
you have had frank discussions with the candidate in the very beginning. Anything potentially damaging
about the candidate should have been researched by your campaign first with responses locked away for
use in case of an emergency. Because you’ve seen this coming, your response is thoughtful and prepared.
In the case that your campaign is surprised by the allegation, your response is thoughtful and prepared.
Either way: Don’t panic. Don’t lie. There is no drama.

To respond or not.
In most cases you must respond to the charge. Letting a charge hang in the air only allows your opposition
to hammer on it, and reporters to speculate. One circumstance in which you might not respond is if the
charge comes from a little-known opponent desperate to get media attention. The media usually sees
through this, but might fixate on it if they see you making a big deal out of it. Regardless of the response,
your tone and demeanor throughout the response says as much as any words you utter. Don’t panic. Don’t
lie. There is no drama.

How to respond.
First, get all the facts. Do not engage a reporter at the outset, or become defensive or conciliatory. Get the
details. If there is documentation, ask for a copy to be faxed to you. Tell the reporter that you’ll look into it
and get back to them. Do research into the problem and, if possible, have documentation available for the
reporter. If you are prompt with the reporter, they will appreciate it. More importantly, they will be less likely
to make a big deal out of it. Your response should be in the same news cycle as the. This way your
response runs alongside the allegation instead of leaving the charge unanswered. But if you cannot give
them something substantive, keep gathering the facts you need. “No comment” might sound bad, but it’s
much better than an ill-prepared or easily refutable response.

The easiest way to take down a negative claim from an opponent is to refute any factual basis. If you can
disprove part of the claim, it will cast doubt on the entire allegation. Be careful that this refutation isn’t nit-
picky. This only gives the story more play. More than just disproving the claim, you must return with a
strong message, preferably one that gets the dialogue back on track, “People are tired of all these negative
attacks. It’s time to talk about the real issues. People want to know what’s happening to our healthcare

Yeah, so?
The best way to downplay a crisis is to take the controversy
                                                                    - The obviously evasive, “I didn’t inhale,”
out of it. As soon as you know there is some truth to an
                                                                    quote became a campaign issue in
allegation, admit it. Your best bet is to admit it before
                                                                    Clinton’s run. But when Gore ran in 2000,
anyone else can bring it up. If you quibble over minor facts,
                                                                    he confessed to smoking marijuana
attempt to parse the truth, or stonewall the media, you’ll
                                                                    upfront and almost no one cared.
make a minor situation into a scandal. The quicker you
admit, apologize, and move on, the less of a story it               - Michael Dukakis’ wife publicly
becomes, “Yeah, it looks like I did add it wrong. Well, I’m         confessed a 30-year diet pill addiction
sending a check off to the IRS today, so that should be             and was praised by the press for her
taken care of. Maybe I should fire my accountant and hire           forthrightness. Gov. Dukakis ran for
my opponent’s!”                                                     President without mention of the story.

Reporter Makes A Factual Error
Typically these are minor errors – misspellings, time and place errors, etc. The reporter may have heard it
incorrectly, written it incorrectly, or had it edited incorrectly. It might not have been the reporter’s fault. You
should call reporters and let them know about the error so they don’t repeat it (and so they know you’re
paying attention). Minor errors do not need a correction, but rather acknowledgement. Be friendly –
chances are the reporter will appreciate it. Minor errors do not affect a campaign.

Larger errors may have an impact on your campaign and will require a correction. If the reporter misstates
the campaign’s stance on an issue, ask for a correction. Again, the reporter will probably acknowledge and
apologize, but making sure that the paper prints the correction is important so that the misstatement can
not be used against you. Online databases and search engines will keep that error alive forever if not
corrected. Larger errors can be used against you by an opponent and have the credibility of earned media.

To ask for a correction, first go to the reporter who made the mistake. If you approach the editor before the
reporter, the reporter will resent it. Generally, you only need to contact the reporter. Before making the
request, verify that the error is factual and verifiable. Documentation available will help make your case.
Editors and reporters might hesitate about corrections because it takes up valuable space, or they might
have pride issues, but be persistent. Ideally, the media print/broadcasts the correction. A reporter might
ask you to write a letter to the editor (LTE) to serve as a correction. You should demand a formal correction
over sending a letter and ask to speak to the editor at that point. If necessary, submit an LTE.

Poor Coverage
Campaigns, especially down-ballot campaigns, often complain about poor coverage. The media hardly ever
pays attention to down-ballot races to begin with, however. Campaigns must work hard to get their
campaign covered. It’s not the media’s job to cover your events. It’s their job to report the news. So ask
yourself if you’ve done a sufficient job of creating the news. Analyze your pitch calls, news advisories, and
releases. Analyze the time and locations of your events and how much notice you gave the reporters.
Figure out what stories have been your competition. Reporters often do not cover down-ballot campaigns
more than three weeks until an election.

Not Taking the Campaign Seriously
If a reporter is skeptical of your campaign, s/he is probably not the only one. A candidate cannot simply
assert their credibility; instead the candidate must work to build credibility. You can do this by releasing
positive poll numbers, positive finance reports, announcing endorsements, or even alluding to coverage
you’ve received elsewhere. Obviously, you need to have these things to begin with. If you don’t, then that is
the reason for the reporter’s reluctance.

Gaffes, Stumbles, and Other Missteps
Your candidate has just shot her/himself in the foot, on the record. Now what? This kind of damage control
is similar to the principles outlined in the ‘Crisis Management’ section above. The gaffe isn’t dramatic if you
do not allow it to be. If the comment is not serious and no one is picking it up, don’t dwell. Often the case is
that someone does pick it up and this is how it came to your attention in the first place. If so, take care of
the misstatement quickly– in the same news cycle, if possible. If your candidate has made a factual error,
clarify the comment and put it into a larger value-specific context, “Oh, that’s right, I did mean 40,000, not
400,000. Regardless, even one child without access to a doctor is one too many. Vermonters deserve
better.” If the candidate has misspoken on a sensitive issue, apologize quickly and get back to the
substantive issues. You can prevent this kind of mistake altogether by prepping the candidate before every
public appearance, making sure s/he gets enough rest, and scheduling wisely.

                        Sample News Advisory                                          Components of
                                                                                        Your News

                                                                                     <--- Letterhead

Immediate Release:                            Contact: Noreen Nielsen,                   Release
                                                                                     <---Release Type,
November 4, 2005                              802-651-3200 x.148,                    Date, and Contact

       Democracy for America Chair Jim Dean to Rally with Ohio
               Supporters and DFA-List Candidates
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, will be in               <--- Brief, factual
Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, November 6 at 10:00 AM to attend a Get-Out-The-Vote
rally with Paul Hackett and Columbus City Council candidates Kevin Boyce, Mary
Ellen O’Shaughnessy and Mary Jo Hudson. The rally is being coordinated by
Democracy for America – Central Ohio, a grassroots organization dedicated to
political activism.

Boyce, O’Shaughnessy, and Hudson are on the "DFA-List," fiscally responsible,
socially progressive candidates endorsed by Democracy for America.

Who:           Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America,                               --Who
               Paul Hackett, former US House Candidate
               Columbus City Council Candidates Kevin Boyce, Mary Ellen
               O’Shaughnessy and Mary Jo Hudson

What:          Get Out the Vote Rally                                                  --What

When:          Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 10:00 AM                                    --When

Where:         I.B.E.W. Hall                                                           --Where
               23 W. Second Avenue
               Columbus, OH

Democracy for America is a political action committee founded by Governor             ---Org
                                                                                     <---Org info
Howard Dean. DFA is dedicated to building a grassroots network that supports
fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates for all levels of office.

                                        ###                                           ---End
                                                                                     <---End Marker

                       Sample PRESS RELEASE                                             Components of
                                                                                      Your Press Release

                                                                                      <--- Letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  Contact: Joe Smith, 802-555-1234                   Release
                                                                                      <---Release Type,
Friday, April 1, 2005                                      Date, and Contact

Democracy for Vermont Fights to Protect Social Security                                ---Head
 Local Group Urges Congressman Sanders to Reject the President’s Plan                 <---Subhead

BURLINGTON, VT – Today, members of Democracy for Vermont (DFV) delivered              <--- Dateline, Lead,
individual testimonials of the impact Social Security has had on the lives of local   and Body
citizens to Representative Bernie Sanders - urging him to reject the President’s
plan to privatize the system.

“America’s Social Security plan has been one of the most successful Democratic         ---Quote
programs in our country’s history,” said Joe Smith, head of Democracy for
America’s local Burlington group. “As these testimonials portray, Social Security
has been a safety net for millions of Americans, and we think that Congressman
Sanders should be aware of the views of his constituents.”

In an effort to protect this critical institution from destruction and guarantee a
dignified retirement for all, Democracy for America (DFA), TrueMajority ACTION
and local DFA groups across the country have started a campaign to gather
stories from local citizens highlighting the impact that Social Security has had on
their lives. Throughout the month of April, members from these groups will be
meeting with their representatives to voice their opposition to the President’s
privatization plan.

For more information, please contact: Joe Smith at (802) 555-1234 or                   ---Contact

                                      ###                                              ---End
                                                                                      <---End Marker

                                          Media Kit Checklist
Media kits are given to reporters who show up at media events. The media kits are a set of documents to
be used as a resource for reporters. They include:
       News release
       Bios and contact info for speakers
       Information about the org/campaign (usually a brochure)
       Cited sources and Additional research on topics discussed
       Good articles that have been written in the past (should come from an accredited and relevant

                                    News Conference Checklist
          Location scouted – look for proximity to news media, parking, acoustics, outlets, accessibility, size,
          distractions. Remember to visit site at the same time of day you plan to hold the event.
          Location fits message
          Permit requirements, security requirements, who needs to approve all aspects of being there
          Potential for visuals – either for those on site (i.e. a smokestack) or yours that you bring (i.e. a
          Check for necessary equipment (podium, mic, amp, etc)
          Beverages, snacks? Coffee for morning news conferences is a nice gesture.

          When in the news cycle does this event fall? When will your story hit?
          With what other stories will you compete (hint: inquire about the newswires’ daybooks)?

      How does this tie into your message for that day/week/month?
      What will be the quotable lines (underline or bold them in speeches)?
      Who are the speakers? What is the speaking order? How long are they speaking (<3 – 5 min)?
      Have you written or at least reviewed and approved all the statements?
      Practice likely questions during Q&A, Prep for post event interviews

Media Outreach
       Advance notice to priority reporters – just a hint (when applicable)
       News Advisories out to all targeted media two or three days prior (when possible).
       Pitch calls following advisories
       Second round News advisories and pitch calls morning of the event
       Media packets prepared

Follow up Plan
        Know the outlets likely to show, and not show.
        Is your media contact list up-to-date? Be prepared to call, fax, email, or even visit outlets who did
        not show.
        Follow up with reporters who were at the event to answer questions.

Building an Activist Base

                    People: The Grassroots’ Greatest Strength
People are as much of a resource as money and time. We already know that you can get people to donate
their money; they can also give you their time. On a grassroots campaign or for any grassroots organization,
people are the key to building capacity. Activists will do work that the organization would otherwise need to
pay a vendor for.

The problem faced by many campaigns and organizations is a lack of understanding as to how to best
utilize this resource. Activists are not a resource to be underestimated or taken for granted. Building a base
of activists is similar to building a fundraising base. Each activity pursues donors. Some donors give their
money, some give their time. Each group are donors nonetheless, and should be treated with the same

The first step in utilizing people as a resource - just as in fundraising - is to understand the donor’s
motivations, and the organization’s needs.

Why Do People Volunteer?
    •   Passionate about an Issue(s)
    •   Recognition/ Feel Useful
    •   Loyalty/Aversion to Party or Candidate
    •   Opportunity for Advancement, Networking
    •   Social
No reason is better or worse than another. The important thing is to figure out what motivates that person
to donate their time. Remember they’re getting something out of volunteering for you. Once you’ve figured
it out, you can get the most out of your volunteer.

Getting the most of your volunteer is a campaign skill. The first time the volunteer comes through the door,
it is generally because of the candidate. The second time, and every time thereafter, it is because of YOU.

                           “You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For.”
You’re too busy to do everything that needs to get done, but somewhere there is someone willing and
eager to do it for you. You just need to ask. Cast a wide net; ask everyone. Ask big, ask for anything, ask
for everything.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – Make A Needs Assessment
Never be in a position where you have volunteers with nothing to do. This will suck the momentum right out
of your campaign.

Volunteers can be used anywhere and are especially helpful in the Field department. Always make a needs
assessment of where you need volunteers, how many you need, and when you need them. This needs
assessment should be broken down by department and date or time. You might need help with data entry
on Wednesday, on a mailing on Thursday, and on a canvass on Saturday. Check around to see when
people need volunteers.

It’s often helpful to have a list of odd jobs and constant tasks posted up on the wall somewhere volunteers
can see. If you have a surplus of volunteer time, or an unexpected eager volunteer, this list is available for
anyone to plug into.

                                 Recruitment and Retention
Where do I start?                                                                Here are some ideas:
Not surprisingly, the principles for recruiting activists are similar to those    -       Former volunteers
for raising money:                                                                -       Friends and Family
                                                                                  -       Voter lists
1) Start close to home. Whom do you know?                                         -       Sign-in lists from events
2) Then, cast a wide net.                                                         -       Donors
3) Recruitment builds the campaign; always be recruiting.                         -       Church, Synagogue,
                                                                                            Mosque, etc
4) The best recruiters are existing volunteers.
                                                                                  -       Work colleagues
                                                                                  -       Women’s groups
What do I do?                                                                     -       Minority groups, ethnic
                     Common Recruitment Tactics                                             associations
    - Volunteers referring other volunteers                                       -       Youth groups, clubs
    - Outreach to other organizations                                             -       Environmental groups
    - Phonebanks                                                                  -       Service Organizations
    - Canvassing                                                                  -       Dem Youth groups
    - Email announcements                                                         -       Dem Party Activists
    - Flyering, Tabling, and Posters                                              -       Labor Unions
                                                                                  -       Peace and Justice groups
Some tactics are more efficient than others. The more personal the                -       Senior organizations
outreach, the more successful the recruitment tactic. Personal outreach           -       Fraternal Organizations
                                                                                  -       Alumni groups
often takes more time, however, and the trick is to find the right balance.
                                                                                  -       Sports organizations
Volunteers referring volunteers is by far the best tactic because the             -       Tenant Organizations
                                                                                  -       Student groups
campaign spends no additional resources (aside from managing the
original volunteer well). Outreach to other organizations has a similar          *Remember, busy people are
benefit. Phonebanking is the best “bang for the buck” in terms of time           more likely to say yes.
and costs. Adding a volunteer recruitment component to canvassing is a                (Why do you think they’re so busy?)
must for ID canvasses.
            Whether at a neighborhood BBQ or waiting in line somewhere, ALWAYS be recruiting.

You are a leader. Your job is to get your staff and volunteers to follow you. You set the tone. An energetic
and enthusiastic leader will beget a focused and motivated volunteer base. People are attracted to
excitement and positive energy. The more you exude this, the more your existing volunteers will actually
feel it. You will attract more people, and you’ll be able to keep them. Do everything with enthusiasm. Your
attitude is reflected in your volunteer recruitment. Remember, you set the tone.

No Script? No Problem. Here are the five basic principles of any ask, “The Five C’s”

1. Connect – establish a quick personal rapport. This is as simple as looking them in the eye, noticing a
new haircut or cool button, or referencing a previous conversation.
2. Context – Let them in on a piece of the strategy and how valuable a role they play in the strategy. This is
an important and an effective use of their time.
3. Commitment – Get a solid commitment. Use a solid ask. If you’re ask is a roundabout question, you get
a noncommittal answer. “Probably,” “maybe,” and “I’ll try” are not “Yes.”
4. Catapult – Throw them into the commitment. Be excited about their answer and let your enthusiasm
gush. Ask them who else they’re bringing with them.
5. Confirm – Give them a reminder beforehand of their commitment. Don’t count of them until after a
successful confirmation.

                   Building Your Activist List – Data Collection
As with any resource, an organization must track how activists and potential activists are being utilized. In
order to do this, the volunteer operation in a campaign must be meticulous in collecting relevant data. An
organization needs to know who is signing up, who is showing up, what they did, and how to contact them
again. Tracking this data not only helps you get people back in the door, but can also indicate areas of
improvement in the recruitment and management of your activists.
If the volunteer has signed up online or via email, the absolute minimum information the organization must
collect is email and zip code. For in-person sign-ups, the minimum information to collect is name, phone
number, email, and zip code. In addition, collect alternate phone numbers, address, event volunteered,
date of last contact, and how the volunteer came to know about the volunteer opportunity.

Regardless of the primary purpose of any event (earned media, engage donors, etc), a great byproduct of
any event is a fresh list of potential volunteers. People who might not otherwise volunteer might go to an
event, become motivated, and sign up for more. Make sure you have a well-organized data collection plan
for each and every event where you expect the public to attend, no matter how obscure.
Of course, they’ll only sign up if you ask them. Or make them.

Social events – BBQs, Meet-and-Greets, etc – are great for recruitment.
 “Hey, how are you? Remember to sign-in. Here. Just so we remember to tell you         Data Collection TIP:
   when something is happening in your neighborhood. Drinks are over here.”            People might not want
                                                                                       to give a stranger their
Volunteer events – Bring-a-friend components to your existing volunteer activities     contact info, but seem
will boost your volunteer recruitment by encouraging volunteers to engage their        to love to “sign up to
networks. Incentives and friendly competitions work well.                              learn more.” It’s a less
                                                                                       intimidating way of
“Always happy to have some Little Rock for Dean volunteers at our event. I heard       saying “expect my call.”
the Little Rock for Clark people are also coming. I think they said they’d bring 20
                       people. How many can you all bring?”                            Volunteer Event TIP:
                                                                                       Ideally, these social
Recruitment Events – Kick-off meetings, ‘emergency’ meetings, etc – are                events will soon mesh
explicitly all about recruitment. People attend because they know something is up      with volunteer events:
and they want to see what’s next.                                                      “Come on over, we’re
  “Our EMERGENCY meeting is TOMORROW. The election is days away and the                having an envelope
  opposing candidate is outrageous. Your neighborhood is important and I need                    party.
                                                                                       stuffing party Susie’s
                     your help. Oh my goodness, can you come?”                         bringing cookies.”
            “Busy? How about Thursday? Yes, that’s also an emergency.”
Once they’re in the door
When a volunteer does show up, you’re still collecting data. Just as in any event, volunteers sign-in. Your
list is more than a list of people who might show up; it’s a list of people who can do the work of the
campaign. On top of the contact info you already had, you need:
      • Who actually shows up
      • When they show up
      • What they did, what they like to do
      • Best way to get in touch with them again (confirm contact info)
Before they leave
It’s important to debrief a volunteer after they’re done for the day. Do not underestimate the importance of
asking a person how the activity went. In addition to making the person feel valuable, it allows you to
anticipate problems and opportunities. It is also a great way to confirm your data and obtain another
commitment. Every debrief ends with another pitch for the next volunteer opportunity (so be ready), or
better yet, a pitch for establishing a regular volunteer commitment.

                                        Recruitment Math
    Rule Halves:
The Rule of Halves an Ironclad Law in Organizing
It’s simple:
        1) Divide your confirmed “Yes’s” by two.
        2) Multiply your “Maybe’s” by zero.

Need 10 volunteers for a day of canvassing? Get at least 20 commitments. If more show up, that’s great.
That happens. Be prepared. But always remember: The rule of halves owns you. Respect it. Use it.

Make the math work for you Confirm, Confirm, Confirm.
          o Just because a volunteer said “yes” a week ago doesn’t mean s/he’s coming. Give him/her
             a call and confirm the day before and the day of.
          o Emails are not confirmations. Phone messages are not confirmations. Hearing with your
             ears the word “yes” is a confirmation.
          o Don’t consider anything a “yes” until you’ve confirmed it once.
          o Then cut that number in half.

KNOW YOUR RATES – To make quick educated estimates, campaigns will want to figure out a quick set of
assumptions for the number of tasks a volunteer can complete an hour.

For example, we already know that of the people who agree, only half will show, but…
Of the people you ask, how many are likely to say “yes”?
Of the people you call, how many people will pick up the phone?

As you get to know your list of potential volunteers, you can begin to use
                                                                              Good Rates to figure out:
more precise numbers for “yes” rates and contact rates. If, for example,
your yes rate and your contact rate were both 50%, you’d need to call at      - Voters per Household
least 80 people to get 10 people to show up at all.                           - Doors knocked/ hour
          10 volunteers = 20 commitments = 40 asks = 80 calls                 - Doors contacted/ hour
                                                                              - Phone calls/hour
If your ‘yes’ rate is 25% and your contact rate is 33%:                       - Contacts/ hour
          10 volunteers = 20 commitments = 80 asks = 240 calls                - Volunteers yes’s/ hour
                                                                              - Voter data entered/ hour
As you activate your volunteer base, you’ll develop a better grasp on these   - Travel time to parts of the
rates and how they change over the course of the campaign.                    district

                               RECRUITMENT MATH LESSONS:
                  1) Understand and learn to use rates and calculations
                  2) Build a large recruitment pool

                                    Retention and Attrition
No Fun Working on a campaign is different than any volunteer’s day job. It’s interesting and should stay
that way. Have busy, colorful walls and music in the volunteer spaces. Frequent after-work or after-event
socials are easy ways to keep things lively.

No Love: No matter the motivation of the individual volunteer, everyone wants to be recognized for hard
work. Thank them. Recognition is free, give it away. You haven’t thanked your volunteers enough unless it
feels like a little too much.

No Growth: The volunteer should be growing in his/her roles, given more responsibilities, or at least new
roles. Stagnation is boring. Boredom leads to attrition. The campaign should also be growing, gaining
momentum. Even the most common tasks and responsibilities take on a greater significance to the
volunteer when that volunteer is given a title.

Burn out: Volunteers may be given too much responsibility too early. This kind of attrition can be predicted.
Volunteers don’t drop off the face of the Earth. If you spend time and listen to your volunteers, you’ll know
who among them feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask for more out of your volunteers, but be mindful
of their needs.

Elitism: Campaigns can turn into an “us vs. them” situation in the office: staff vs. volunteer, primary
election vols vs. ‘bandwagon’ vols, veterans vs. newbies. Close ties should be encouraged, but cliques are
destructive. Encourage staff to socialize with volunteers. Veterans like to feel like insiders, so have them
take newbies under their wings, show them the ropes, etc.

Having A Life: As volunteers become more involved in the campaign, they lose time with family and
friends. If your activists feel like they need to have a life, that’s great. Encourage activists to bring their
friends and family to campaign activities.

Internal Conflict: No one likes office politics. Whatever internal struggles are waged behind closed doors
should stay there. Volunteers should be shielded from any internal drama or disagreement. They will either
leave because of tension, or worse, they’ll have an opinion on the whole matter.

Forgone conclusions: Sometimes you just know that you’re going to win or lose. But there’s still work to
be done. Let them know how important their work is. Use examples of upsets and underdogs, fatal
bloopers and sudden surges.

                                         Volunteers Are Not
 Volunteers                labor.
*Volunteers are not “free” labor They take time, energy, and food. It costs the campaign resources to
recruit, train, and manage your volunteers. Volunteers know when they’re merely warm bodies.

 *Volunteers are not staff Staff can be held accountable relatively easily. Staff will not randomly leave
the job or decide to stop showing as volunteers frequently do. You can also expect staff to do professional
job. Volunteers do what they can, otherwise you would have hired staff. Volunteers will take more time and
make more mistakes than if you hired staff or a campaign services firm. Going with volunteers is a choice
with an opportunity cost.

                                  Training Your Volunteers
  To make the best and most dependable use of volunteers, the campaign must train them. Frequently.
The best way to train adults is to actively involve them in the training; have them learn the task under your
supervision in a way that gives them hands-on experience.

A typical training agenda is simple:
1. Contextualizing. Give the volunteers the big picture, and how their task fits into it.
2. Telling. Spend a small amount of time telling them how to do it.
3. Showing. Spend a little more time doing it once in front of them.
4. Doing. Spend the most time doing a role-play with you in their role (or have them do it in front of you).
5. Expecting. If you think they can do a better job do it with them for a bit, showing how you like it done.

                             Spend most of your training time on role-plays!

                                           A Good Training:
o Invests the volunteer in the success of the campaign by putting the activity in the context of the
    - “We NEED to respond to our opponents attacks. These mailings will raise enough money to do that,
      but only if we send them out quickly and send them out right.”
o Serves as quality control for the campaign
    - Activists represent the campaign in the eyes of the public. Activists should not start working for the
      campaign until the campaign is confident with the volunteers’ skills.

Train, train, and retrain.
No matter how trained a volunteer, it will always be a good idea to continue training them. Campaign
volunteers should begin to expect brief trainings at the beginning of each volunteer activity. Rather than
becoming bored of the training, they will appreciate it. Volunteers will understand the importance of the
task itself and the time spent doing it. This will also give them the confidence to move to other projects,
knowing that the campaign puts a priority in preparing volunteers for tasks.

Involve your experienced volunteers in the training itself. For a volunteers who’ve become used to the mini-
training session before each activity, have them run the training itself. This gives them ownership over their
piece of the campaign, and another opportunity to hand out a meaningful campaign title, “phonebank shift
trainer,” for example.

                                 Leadership Development
A grassroots campaign is never run on staff alone, nor can any campaign be run entirely by an irregular
volunteer force. Campaigns and grassroots organizations depend on leaders. These leaders are more than
occasional helpers; they hold positions of responsibility.

Leaders Are Never Born. They Are Developed.
Although it’s possible some previously unknown                  Leadership Development:
superstar activist might walk onto a campaign, it’s            Help Your Activists “Step Up”
unlikely. An organization should develop leaders among
existing volunteers. Spending the time to develop                                          “Phone outreach
leaders is an investment. Having a capable volunteer in                                        Coordinator”
charge of phonebank shifts frees up field staff to                                    “Phonebank
complete other tasks. The time spent developing these                                  Shift Captain”
volunteers in the beginning pays off when the campaign                        “Phonebanking
has less and less time.                                                          Trainer”
                                                                  “Phonebank asst.
Leadership development is not spontaneous. Leaders                      trainer”
are those who are given real responsibilities, thrive on    “Phonecalls”
feedback, and keep coming back for more. For this to
happen, the organization must give the activist                                                          5thTime
responsibilities,  feedback,     and      opportunities.
Leadership development is in the hands of the                                                 4th Time
organization. The organization chooses to develop
leaders or chooses not to have any leaders.
                                                                                   3rd Time
If You Want Something Done Right…
You Have To Stop Trying To Do Everything!                               2nd Time
Many groups have a ‘do-everything’ kind of leader.
These groups disintegrate when that leader burns out,        1st Time
leaves, or is no longer able to lead the organization.
These leaders allow their own efficiency sabotage the
                                                            Each time an activist comes in to volunteer, the
growth of their organization. Giving activists more
                                                            organization has the potential to develop a
responsibility develops them as leaders and will benefit
                                                            leader. Your best volunteers should be given a
the campaign or organization in the long term. The
                                                            new title and increasing levels of responsibility
diagram on the right shows how an organization can
                                                            each time you ask something more of them.
develop leaders by giving activists increasing levels of
                                                            Your best volunteers will ‘step up’ and manage
responsibility. Activists will choose a level comfortable
                                                            more of your campaign, freeing you to do other
for them, but existing leaders must give activists the
opportunity to take ownership over a piece of the           work.

Work With The Best.
Because resourced are limited, leadership development requires prioritizing. Which activists have the most
potential to become leaders? An hour spent training a stellar volunteer produces more than an hour spent
on a mediocre volunteer. Everyone should be trained and given your attention, but some activists are
simply more effective than others. These activists should be given a role suited to their strengths.

    Expectations                  Accountable.
Set Expectations And Hold Leaders Accountable.
Activist leaders thrive on high expectations. When invested in a goal, a leader will come through for a
campaign or organization. Too often, people fear burnout so much that the opposite occurs and potential
leaders are lost.

                                  Volunteer Management
                              Working With Volunteers: Key Principles
Give specific tasks and set clear goals.
   o   A specific, quantified goal gives volunteers a sense of purpose and direction beyond simply “we
       gotta win the election.” How does this activity win the election?
   o   Goals should be product driven, not time driven. The campaign needs 1000 envelopes stuffed, not
       four hours of envelope stuffing. Product-driven goals focus volunteers on the task, not the clock.
   o   Achieving a challenging goal gives volunteers a sense of accomplishment.

Lead by example.
   o   Volunteers are more efficient when you are nearby, working or supervising.
   o   The second most inspiring sight for volunteers is to see staff roll up their sleeves and do the dirty
       work alongside volunteers.
   o   The most inspiring sight for volunteers is seeing the candidate join in.

Volunteers are valuable – let them know.
   o   Every volunteer should be greeted upon entering the office, and debriefed on the way out.
   o   Never leave a volunteer standing or sitting doing nothing. This is true even if the office is especially
       busy. A busy office with a bored volunteer indicates a failed volunteer program.
   o   Thank volunteers profusely.
   o   ALWAYS provide context for the tasks at hand.
   o   Feed volunteers. Have food constantly available. If you feed volunteers only candy, they will crash
       or become irritable if they are there for more than a couple hours. This is especially important on E-
       day. On E-day, deliver the food yourself.
   o   Pass out perks (free swag, picture with the candidate, etc) to your best volunteers.
   o   Be creative with recognition. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Taking pictures of your regular
       volunteers and putting them up on the wall is a classic, and effective, form of recognition.

Before they leave…
   o   Schedule a time for volunteers to come back again.
   o   Better yet, work out a schedule for the month.
   o   Make sure you do a quick debrief to see how everything went and to give them forward momentum
       for when they come back. Ask big, ask for a lot. Plug them into leadership positions quickly. They
       can handle it.

Campaign Communication
The two smartest statements to be made in a campaign:
     1. “I don’t know”.
     2. “I have a problem”.
From Volunteers to Campaign Managers, everyone should learn to love these phrases. The bottom
line is that you’re working on the campaign because you want to win, and if something is unclear
it’s in everyone’s interest to have it cleared up. A good manager or organizer is constantly listening
to those under, above, and around them to prevent the growth of any problems.

                               Plugging In Your Volunteers:
                       Making a List and Crunching the Numbers
A campaign, like any major undertaking, can be broken down into a series of tasks. Successfully managing
and coordinating your volunteers requires a thorough understanding of these tasks. Even something
simple such as holding a quick visibility rally should be broken down into a set of tasks so that you can
assign volunteers where you need them. A few simple steps can help you allocate your volunteer resources
                             THE BASICS OF VOLUNTEER ALLOCATION
   1)   Create a list of tasks needed to complete an objective.
   2)   Calculate the time it takes for each task to be finished.
   3)   Determine how many volunteers it will take to finish the required tasks in the time you have.
   4)   Assign Volunteers.

Example: Voter contact.
   How many volunteers do we need to canvass 2500 voters in Sedgwick County in one weekend?
   1) Figure out how many houses there are in the county. Often, multiple registered voters live in the
      same household. The number is usually substantial enough that it factors significantly in
      calculating how many voters per ‘door knock.’ This information is available directly from an
      enhanced voter file, or just by looking at your lists and doing some quick math. 60% is a good
      default estimate if you don’t know your number.
         Number of Target Voters                      x 60% =                   Number of Target Houses
                (2500)                                                                 (1500)
   2) Identify how many houses a volunteer can reach an hour. This number will vary depending on
      population density, residential zoning, houses vs. apartments, etc. The best way to get an idea of
      this rate beforehand is to scout the turf with staff or volunteers. Let’s assume we’re in an
      older single-family housing area of town. Nine door contacts/ hour is a good estimate.
              Target Houses                 Contact Rate (HH’s/hour)               Volunteer Hrs Needed
                 (1500)                              /9=                                  (167)
   3) Calculate # of reasonable hours exist to complete the task. Good canvassing hours may vary
      slightly from neighborhood to neighborhood, but generally:
               Saturday = 10am – 4pm = 6 hours
               Sunday = 12pm – 6pm = 6 hours
      Generally, you can schedule a canvass shift to last three hours (not including set up or training).
      Your total for the weekend is 12 hours or 4 shifts, two each day.

   4) Calculate how many volunteers you need to fill each shift.
         Vol. hrs. needed             / # of shifts                / 3 hours               = Vols per shift
               (167)                      (4)                         (3)                       = 14

   5) Conclusion: To reach 2500 targeted voters in one weekend through canvassing, we need to have 14
   volunteers for four shifts, a total of 56 volunteers. The rule of halves dictates that we would, in fact,
   need 112 volunteers to commit to the weekend canvass.

Campaigns do the math. The above is an example of a small objective with only one major task.
More complex objectives require more planning (see the planning section of this training). If you
do the math, you’ll be able to predict and troubleshoot any potential problems or shortfalls.

Finance and Fundraising

Finance Overview
Every political campaign and/or organization must spend money to maintain                            TIP: The finance plan is so
serious levels of activity. Increasingly, campaigns must raise significant                           important that the Finance
amounts of money to become and remain competitive. Although we can protest                           Director is often the second
the growing costs of campaigning, the reality for any campaign is that without                       or even first person hired
these funds, there can be no staff, no office, no phones, no computers, no                           by the campaign. Without
signs, no media coverage – no campaign. How much money the campaign will                             the finance plan, no other
need to succeed depends on a number of factors. One of the first tasks of any                        staff can be hired and no
campaign is to develop its finance plan.                                                             office can be set up.

                                         Got a problem asking for money? Get over it.
              Fundraising is not simply about asking people for money; it is about
                         offering people an opportunity to participate.
           It’s not your place to tell people if and how they can participate. Let the donor decide, but give them the
                                                  opportunity to make that decision.

                     Three Basic Components of Your Finance Plan
1. Goals, Timelines, and Benchmarks
We’ve established that campaigns cost money, but how much a particular campaign will cost depends on
the district, office, opponent(s), the candidate, and a number of other factors. Your initial research into your
candidate, district, and past campaigns should give you a good idea of how much money you need to raise
to stay competitive. From the beginning, a finance director should figure out multiple budget scenarios –
ones for lean, modest, and robust fundraising scenarios. This allows you flexibility if your spending priorities
need to adjust to changing or unanticipated cash flow issues.
Break down your final fundraising goal along a timeline corresponding to the campaign timeline, keeping
campaign finance filing deadlines in mind. For much of the campaign, the campaign’s money will be spent
raising the candidate’s profile and on raising more money. As the campaign continues, finances will be
increasingly directed toward voter contact activities. Establish a timeline and plot fundraising benchmarks
to meet these needs. Meeting or exceeding these benchmarks means your finance plan is on track. Failing
to meet these benchmarks means your finance plan, and your campaign, are failing.

2. Strategy and Targeting
Once you’ve figured out how much money you need, you must figure out where you will get this money.
Different people will have different reasons to give to a campaign or organization. Understanding these
motivations is the key to fundraising. Think of it less like “giving” a donor a reason to contribute, and more
like discovering that reason. The donor has had a motivation for engaging the system before you got there,
and you’re giving them a means to participate. The donor’s motivation will drive your message, your
messenger, and the tactics you use to successfully reach out to them.
Whenever a campaign or organization asks something of someone, listening is a key component of asking.
You can discover a person’s motivation just by listening to the potential donor. Nonetheless, you should
also have a good idea of the donor’s motivations before even starting your pitch. Donor motivations
generally fall under four general categories: relational, ideological, aversion, and access.
This categorization sorts donors by proximity, size, and effort necessary. Generally, fundraising is easier the
closer a potential donor is to the candidate. As the donor category grows more distant, more time and
effort is required to successfully solicit a contribution. The easiest way to look at these donor categories is
by drawing a chart composed of a series of concentric circles.

                                        Targeting Your Donors
The candidate is at the center of
the circle. Each ring in the circle      Relational
represents a different group of
stakeholders in the candidate’s
campaign.                                Ideological

The closer the donor group is to           Aversion
the candidate, the more likely the
donor will contribute and the less          Access
time that donor will require. The
innermost circles will donate
earlier in the campaign. Farther
out, donors are more interested in
the candidate’s viability. For most
donors in the outer circles, the
ability to fundraise is the major
indicator of viability. The key is to
raise significant funds early from
the inner circles.

The chart diagrams who and how                          As you raise money from your innermost circle of donors,
                                                        your viability will increase and donors farther out will
stakeholders will benefit from                          increasingly see your campaign as a viable recipient of
your candidacy. This helps to                           their money. If you cannot raise money from your closest
develop your message and set                            contacts, other donors will look skeptically on your
priorities. Potential donors may                        campaign.
belong to multiple circles.
                                            Stakeholder groups
 0. The Candidate –Candidates shell out a lot of their own money to finance their campaign, especially at
    the start. Candidates continue spending personal funds until they move on to other stakeholder circles.
 1. Relational – Your first circle of donors are those with whom you have a personal relationship - family,
    friends, trusted colleagues, etc. They give primarily because of their relationship to you. This connection
    often overrides the donor’s political views or their perception your candidacy’s viability. This first group
    of people are, in many ways, the most important. This circle funds your startup costs, allows you to
    keep fundraising, hiring staff, and most importantly demonstrates your viability to subsequent circles.
    This circle can also include communities and constituencies (neighbors, religious, ethnic communities,
    etc.) with whom the candidate has a strong affiliation. They can also be considered in the next circle.
 2. Ideological – Passionate people will give to passionate candidates and organizations. The candidate
    has a strong stance the donor wants to see represented in government. Ideological considerations
    trump viability for this group. Activists will understand a campaign struggling for viability.
 3. Aversion – Aversion to candidates is a powerful motivating force. The opponent’s victory could
    adversely affect the donor’s interests. These donors want to get rid of the other candidate and need to
    be convinced that you are the person to do it. Early support is still possible depending on the level of
    aversion the donor feels and if there are no other appealing candidates.
 4. Access – Many donors participate in the political process to advance institutional or economic
    interests. This can include businesses, trade and professional associations, labor groups, and special
    interest groups. Challengers are unlikely to receive support from this circle. Major issue-based interest
    groups fall in this category. These donors give later in the cycle to demonstrate support and will want to
    start a relationship to the eventual officeholder. Access donors frequently donate to both sides of a

                             Fundraising Activity: Start Building Your List
Where do you start compiling your fundraising list? It’s easier than you think. The key is to start close to
home. As you read this page, you have a list with you right now.
                                           What’s in your wallet?
                                                Your purse?
                                              Your cell phone?

Your first circle of donors, the people with whom you have a relationship, are likely sitting with you now.
Find the names of people on business cards, scribbled on notes, on your speed dial or phone memory, your
emergency numbers, etc. Who are your first dozen names?
_____________________                   _____________________                    ___________________
_____________________                   _____________________                    ___________________
_____________________                   _____________________                    ___________________
_____________________                   _____________________                    ___________________

                                Speaking to Your Donor’s Motivations
It makes no sense for the candidate to talk to their best friends as if they were Access Donors or vice versa.
Many people are ready to become donors, but only if the campaign can prove to the potential donor that
the candidate understands what motivates the donor to participate. Each strategic donor circle has
different motivations. Your message must reflect this.
Relational donors give because they care about the person asking them. They expect to see the
unvarnished relative, friend, colleague, or community member they already know. They expect to hear
familiar language. Relational donors give because they feel the asker needs them to do so.
            “This is an important step in my life. I need to do this, and I need your help.”
Ideological donors care about a cause or issue. They give to that cause. If the candidate shares the donor’s
passion, then the donor might see that shared commitment as a way to further the cause. Ideological
donors are looking for a shared passion and a track record of commitment to the cause.
  “I knew that if were willing to sell out the rights of a whole group of human beings because it
 might be politically inconvenient for a future office I might run for, then I had wasted my time in
                        public service." –Howard Dean on Civil Unions, 2003
Aversion donors are mainly interested in making the other candidate lose. The opponent’s victory is likely
to affect this donor in an adverse manner, or it has already hurt the potential donor. Aversion donors need
to hear fear, hope, and urgency. The donor wants to know that the candidate understands the risks of
losing (fear), that the candidate provides a viable alternative (hope), and that they can do something now
to make a difference (urgency).
 “George Bush has had four years to come down here, sit down with the mayors, work with these
issues. He just ignores them, gives tax cuts to the wealthiest people, and people are hurting more
               and more” –John Kerry on the local effects of federal tax cuts, 2004
Access donors care less about the candidate and more about the office. Access donors want to see an ally
in the office – someone to represent their interests (usually economic) for that office. The primary concern
for access donors is viability – are they backing the winning candidate. Access donors give because they
hope to hold that office holder accountable by providing financial support during the office holder’s
candidacy. Once viability is established, the access donor needs to know that the candidate supports the
donors’ issues.
 “And when I'm in that Oval Office, you will have a president that cares every day on every issue
          hard-                                                                    hard
about the hard-working people of this country, who are in labor unions, who work hard every day.”
                           –Dick Gephardt at AFSCME debate, 2003

                   Pyramid of Donors: How to Find the Money


                                                Medium Donors

                                                 Small Donors

Rules of the Game:
   1. Your top donors will be only 20% of your total donors, but should equal at least 50% of your total
       donations. These are the big money people. This money is harder to get but is time spent wisely.
    2. Your medium donors will be, on average, 30% of all donors and donations.
    3. Your small donors will be, on average, 20% of all donations but 50% of your total donors.
The Pareto Principle is a good rule of thumb for this pyramid. The Pareto Principle is a consistent
mathematical relationship that indicates that 80 percent of output comes from 20 percent of inputs, not
only in the business world, but also in virtually every aspect of life. In this example it is safe to say that
80% of the candidate’s time is spent on the top 20% of the donors (providing 50% of all donations), and
80% of the volunteers time is spent on the smallest donors (50% of all donors) providing 20% of all
    4. Determine your small, medium and large donations based on what the market can bear. You can
       start with the highest donation being the largest amount allowed under campaign finance law, for
       example. If the highest donation allowed is $4,000, the question is, do you have a list of potential
       donors who can give $4,000?
    5. You will need 5X the number of donations needed. On average you will talk to 40% of the people
       you call and about 50% of those people you speak with will give you a contribution. For example, if
       you start out with a list of 100 people, you will talk to 40, and 20 will actually donate. Therefore you
       must multiply the number of donors needed by 5 to give the size of the list you need to make calls.

                  Strain for President Campaign – Goal $100,000

       Largest donation = $2,500 Large donor goal = $50,000 (50%). Total number of donations
       needed: 20 Total number of donors needed to ask for $2,500 = 100 (20 x 5). Question is, do you
       have a list of 100 people that can give $2,500? If not, then you need to lower your large donation
       level, or expand your list so until you do have 100 people to go to.

       Medium donation = $100. Medium donor goal = $30,000 (30%). Total number of donations
       needed: 300. Total number of donors needed to ask for $100 = 1,500 (300 x 5). Do you have a
       list of 1,500 people to ask $100? If not, you’ll need to reduce the medium donation or expand
       your list!

       Small donation = $25. Medium donor goal = $20,000 (20%). Total number of donations needed:
       800. Total number of donors needed to ask for $25.00 = 4,000 (800 x 5). Do you have a list of
       1,500 people to ask $100? If not, you’ll need to reduce the medium donation or expand your list!

You can break up each level and raise funds, for example, through house parties, young professionals
events, etc. At the small donor level, you want the opportunity for anyone to give a contribution. You could
host a garage sale to raise money at this level, or sell baked goods, or do some good old fashioned
Karaoke! Ask people to give $25.00 at the door, then pay $5.00 to sing and $5.00 to stop singing. Ask
some of the local elected officials to come sing for their supper.

3. Tactics and Tools
The campaign has a number of tactics it can use to reach potential donors. These tools vary in efficacy and
efficiency. High dollar donors may respond well with face-to-face solicitation, but this tactic may be
inefficient for low-dollar donors, for example.

On a tactical level, donors should be divided by likely giving level. Be careful   According to Giving USA, 70-
not to pigeonhole donors into too low a giving level. In the end, the donors       80%        of     Americans
decide how much they can give, not the solicitor. It will always be easier to      contribute    annually    to
ask high and work down than the other way around. The best indicator of            causes they believe in.
giving potential is past performance. If you do not have information on past
giving, aim high and adjust as necessary. For each tactic, divide potential        Regardless of the swings in
donors by general giving capacity: low, medium, high. The precise dollar           the economic cycle, political
amount will vary from campaign to campaign, but a general system to                giving from individuals has
divide donors into tiers will help you prioritize your fundraising activity.       risen every year.

There are generally eight fundraising tactics available to campaigns. The act of fundraising consumes
resources (time, money, people). The campaign must choose appropriate tactics which maximize income
and reduce costs. Each should be evaluated:
    • Response rate: How many people respond to the tactic
    • Cost Efficiency: How much money the tactic costs as a proportion of gross raised
    • How quickly the tactic creates an actual cash flow
    • How time consuming the tactic is and whose time it consumes
    • Best messenger for the tactic
    • Best target for the tactic
                                       Expectations By Tactic
   Tactic        Response             Cost         Cash Flow          Time         Messenger         Target
Face-to-face       50-70%             1-5%          1-7 days        Very High      Candidate,      High donors
Call time          30-50%              1%           1-7 days           High        Candidate,      Med – High
                                                                                   Surrogates        donors
Events               15%            10-25%           4 weeks        Staff–high     Surrogates,      Low, Med,
                                     see notes                    Candidate–med       Staff        High donors
Prospect              1%             100%            6 weeks       Staff – med        Staff        Low donors
Resolicit           5-10%           10-15%           6 weeks       Staff – med         Staff        Low, Med,
Mail                                                                                               High donors
Prospect            4-20%            100%          1-4 weeks       Staff – med      Consultant     Low donors
Resolicit          30-50%             35%          1-4 weeks       Staff – med      Consultant     Low donors
Email              0 - 10%        <1%; very low     1-3 days        Staff – low       Staff,       Low donors

The activity your candidate should spend most of his/her time on is Call Time. Face-to-face solicitation is
important but extremely time consuming. Call time achieves a high response rate and reaches many more
people per day. Successful campaigns have their candidates spend five or more hours a day, just on call
time. Fundraising staff prioritize their time with mailings and, if necessary, with Phonebanking. An
explanation of various tactics follows:

                             Candidate Fundraising Tactics
Face to face solicitation – The candidate’s most persuasive technique. Spending some time on this tactic
is a good idea for maximizing the contributions of your most generous supporters. One of the reasons the
response rate of this tactic is so high is because the donor has already taken a first step by meeting with
the candidate. The candidate must use this opportunity to commit the donor to the highest possible levels.
Often these meetings can be used to recruit the donor’s network of contacts, or recruit the donor to
become a fundraiser within the donor’s own network.
Previous to these meetings finance staffers should prep the candidate on pertinent issues and appropriate
messaging. The candidate should role-play face to face solicitations with staff. These meetings can be a
daunting task, practicing beforehand allows novices and experts alike to make the most of this tactic.

Candidate Call Time – The candidate’s time is the campaign’s most valuable asset. The high response
rate, the low cost ratio, and the number of donors reached over a given period of time combine to make
this a candidate’s most effective fundraising tactic. The more time and effort put into call time, the greater
the financial return. The candidate should spend at least half his/her time calling donors every day. A few
important steps should be taken to make the most of your call time:
    • Prepare the list carefully. Identify your potential donors to see if it will be worth giving them a
        personal call, or if they should be reached at another time or by another tactic. Think about which
        strategic circle your candidate is calling and prep the candidate with the appropriate talking points
        and preferably a script. In each of these donor groups, choose the high and medium level donors to
        add to the list. Each potential donor will have their own call sheet with pertinent information
        available to the candidate. These sheets are databased as soon as they are used and made ready
        for the next call time, if needed.
    • Staff the candidate. Always make sure the candidate is calling in the presence of a trained staffer,
        ready to record info, brief on the call, monitor progress, keep additional notes, and motivate the
        candidate. The staffer will make sure the candidate follows through on any commitments. The
        staffer is charged with ensuring that all campaign interruptions and distractions are kept at bay.
        Experienced staffers might also start calling numbers to double the call rate – this allows the
        candidate to talk to a constant stream of donors instead of dead dialing time.
    • Roleplays. Never let the candidate start dialing cold. A couple quick warm-ups with a staffer will
        help the candidate get into the rhythm of the calls.
    • Quick debriefs help the candidate figure out how to follow through with the person called. This also
        serves to motivate the candidate and improve his/her skills.
    • Monitor time spent on each call. Certainly the donor deserves some time with the candidate, but so
        does every potential donor. Try to have ten conversations per hour. This mean no call should last
        more than five minutes (allowing time for dead dialing).
    • Set goals and benchmarks. Take a look at the finance plan and break down the goals and
        benchmarks for Call Time on a daily basis. The candidate must raise a certain amount by the end
        of the day or spend more time calling to make up for it. Hold the candidate accountable to these
        goals. Having a visual such as a calendar or a daily thermometer will serve as a constant motivator.
    • Switch up calling times from one day to another. This will allow you to reach more donors, build
        some flexibility into the campaign schedule, and add variety to the candidate’s work.

                                  Staff Fundraising Tactics
Events – Be careful with events. Events have a tendency to suck money from the campaign. The larger the
event the more potential it has to cost more than it’s worth. Since events consume both time and money, a
campaign should go into event planning with its eyes wide open. The expense rate listed above (10-25%)
applies when local groups/activists/fundraisers have bought into organizing the event (a host committee),
many expenses are contributed in-kind, and the campaign has a plan to follow up with each attendee. The
follow-up is where much of the income from an event is generated. Events almost never pay for themselves
without a follow-up plan.
Events can target any donor level. Low level donors require inexpensive events. House parties work well to
reach many low-level donors while still keeping costs low (House Parties will be covered in another section).
Events targeting medium level donors can be fairly large. Medium level donors expect some exposure to
the candidate or important surrogates. High level donors prefer smaller, more intimate events where they
can express their concerns directly to the candidate.

Direct Mail – soliciting contributions through the mail is a common tactic for organizations and
campaigns. For many campaigns and organizations direct mail is the primary source of income.

Prospect mailings are those which are sent to a list of potential donors in hopes that a portion of these
recipients respond and become donors. Prospect mailing rarely nets a profit, but is important for building a
donor base to revisit and resolicit. Prospect mailings can seem like a gamble – the campaign pays a large
amount upfront in return for uncertain prospects. Without new names, however, a campaign limits its
income. Figuring out the campaign’s list of prospects is important to the success of the mailing. The
campaign might choose to go through a professional direct mail vendor or do mailings in-house. Down-
ballot campaigns are usually better off handling the mailing in-house unless the campaign can find an
affordable vendor. Prospect mailings typically target low and medium donors. The campaign typically
acquires the names for these lists through previous campaigns, Democratic Party organizations, or other
issue advocacy organizations.

Resolicit mailings are where prospect mailings pay off. People who have donated once before will donate
again once asked. The low cost of this tactic combined with its wide reach (100s or 1000s of previous
donors), makes this tactic a cornerstone to financing your campaign. For electoral campaigns, a
resolicitation email should be sent to your donors every four to six weeks throughout the campaign. For
non-electoral campaigns, the organization should not send out as often, but will still find that resolicitation
mailings raise more money than other tactics.

Solicitation Phonebanks – Generally smaller, down-ballot campaigns do not have the resources to hire a
professional phone solicitation firm, and staff can spend time in better ways than cold-calling a list that the
candidate or surrogates should be calling instead.

Phonebanking can be useful in fundraising when recruiting or confirming attendees for finance events or
for following up on pledges made through other tactics. Phone follow-up can be quite useful in conjuction
with mailings to boost response rates. In all cases, a script with commonly asked questions and
event/mailing details should be available to callers.

Internet and Email Fundraising – Only a small amount of a campaign’s income comes from online
solicitation. Some large campaigns, such as Howard Dean’s nomination campaign, spent significant
resources building a large, national list and reaped unprecedented returns. Your website should certainly
have an easy to access form where a donor can give a contribution. But a down-ballot campaign does not
have the resources to build such an online presence. A good email sent to a fresh, updated list, where
everyone has joined specifically for the purpose of participating in the campaign may yield as much as 10%
response, but is more likely to yield 1-2%. For tips on how to write a good email, see this manual’s online
organizing section.

                                                The Ask
The heart of fundraising is asking. Practically no one gives money to a campaign unbidden. Every dollar
spent on the campaign – from materials to salaries to mail – was a dollar someone had to ask for. The
principles of the ask apply to every kind of donor. These principles are used most directly in personal
solicitation, event organizing, phonebanking, and even direct mail.
                               The Five C’s: A Step by Step of the Ask
                                           1. Connect
                                           2. Context
                                           3. Commit
                                           4. Catapult
                                           5. Confirm

1. Connect
The first step sets the tone for the interaction. The donor is not an ATM, but a person with motivations and
hopes. These hopes and motivations translate into actual campaign work via the donors contribution.
Before each interaction do some research on the donor. Basic info such as how to pronounce the name,
the relationship to the candidate or campaign, how you got the name, the donor’s occupation and interests
can be helpful in the interaction. Listening is a key part of fundraising, and the fundraiser’s best
opportunity to listen is during this section.

When asked open ended questions on the donor’s beliefs, the donor will elaborate. Establish or reestablish
the donor’s motivations. This step shows the donor that the interaction is not only about the candidate or
organization, but also more about the donor’s needs and beliefs.

    “I’m glad we’ve had the opportunity to meet. How are you doing? Dina mentioned you taught at a
   University, so does my father. Where do you teach?....I’m glad to hear that you’ve been following my
                  candidate. Where did you first hear about her? What drew you to her?”

2. Context
The context portion of the interaction addresses the donor’s motivation. The fundraiser makes a pitch
which includes the 1) problem, 2) urgency, and 3) the solution.

This sets the fundraiser up for making a specific ask for money. Your goal for this part of the ask is connect
the donor’s needs to the success of the campaign. The donor’s goal and the campaign’s goal is the same,
so by supporting the campaign, the donor achieves a shared goal. Remember to consider the donor
category of your target. How important are the issues? How important is the candidate’s viability?

“You’ve hit on a very important point. We need a change. Our opponent voted to raise his own salary three
 times, but has voted to cut educational funding every year for the last six years. You’ve seen this. There’s
   nothing left to cut. We aren’t going to get another chance - higher ed funding bill will be voted on in the
 next session. We need an ally in this district, and my candidate has been running a strong pro-education
           campaign. We can win by getting our message out there. And we have a plan to do it. ”

3. Commitment
This is the actual “pin-down” ask. A solid ask will yield a solid commitment. The ask should have a specific
dollar amount. Non-specificity demonstrates a lack of professionalism and might erode the donor’s faith in
the viability of the campaign. Ask high. There is less risk in asking high and having to go down, than asking
low and trying to go higher.

This is another opportunity to listen. The donor will not always agree immediately. Most of the time, the
donor will need a chance to think about it. To the extent possible, get the donor to agree to an amount
during the interaction. Work with the donor until you come to a level comfortable with the donor.
Remember, if you get a lot of people to agree on an amount right away, you are not asking enough people
or not asking for enough money. A successful fundraiser is rejected much of the time. A poor fundraiser
seldom hears the word “no.”

 “I need your help to take back this seat. We’re going to talk to every voter, we’re going to force the issue,
 and we’re going to bring back educational funding to this state’s university system. The best way you can
                        make a difference in this race is with a $2500 contribution.”

4. Catapult
Once you’ve asked for a specific dollar amount and the donor has agreed, you are not yet done. What you
do after a commitment is as important as everything you’ve done beforehand. The fundraiser should
‘catapult’ the donor into his/her commitment. First, thank the donor. Thank them when they commit, thank
them again when they contribute, thank them again after that. Let the donor know once again what a
difference the money will make in the campaign and how that will serve the donor’s needs. If the donation
does not come immediately during the interaction, make arrangements to follow up.

“Thank you so much for your contribution. $1000 goes a long way in getting our message out to the voter.
You’ll see the campaign getting out and knocking on doors, you’ll see us in the paper. If you get the check
   in the mail tonight, I’ll see it by Thursday. I’ll give you a call Thursday afternoon to make sure it gets
                through okay. I’m so glad you’re getting involved in such an important race.”

5. Confirm
Follow up. Most fundraising is done in the follow up stages of the ask. People make commitments to
donate, and most come through when the fundraisers follow up. If they’ve made a commitment to give you
a check, they expect you to call them if they’ve forgotten and call to them once you’ve received it. This is
your chance to keep them involved in the campaign. Donors and fundraiser cultivate relationships long
past the first donation.

  “I’m glad I got a hold of you. I did receive your check for $1000 in the mail. You’ll see it deposited this
 afternoon. Thanks to you, we’re meeting our goals for the quarter and on track for victory in November. I
           thought you might be interested in a speaking event with the candidate next week…”

Asking Again
Donors who donate once often will donate again if a good relationship has been built since the first ask.
Fundraising is relationship building. Developing this relationship involves the donor and continues to serve
the donors needs. Good fundraisers will replicate themselves by creating surrogates. Donors often have
friends who will also donate. Take advantage of this growing network, it will provide you a sustainable
source of income if maintained well. Keep your lists meticulously updated. You will want to upgrade your
donors soon!

                            CALL SHEET                                         TARGET:________

Name:______________________________________ Work Phone:________________________________
Spouse:____________________________________            Home Phone:________________________________
Address:____________________________________ _____ Phone:________________________________
___________________________________________            Email:______________________________________
___________________________________________            Occupation:_________________________________
___________________________________________            Employer:___________________________________
County:_____________________________                   FAX:_____________________________________

Past Contributions:                                       Contributions to Other Candidates:

Date:________ Completed Call:__________ L/M:_____________ Call Back:________ Other:_________
Date:________ Completed Call:__________ L/M:_____________ Call Back:________ Other:_________
Date:________ Completed Call:__________ L/M:_____________ Call Back:________ Other:_________
Date:________ Completed Call:__________ L/M:_____________ Call Back:________ Other:_________
Date:________ Completed Call:__________ L/M:_____________ Call Back:________ Other:_________
Ltr / Fax/Email:____________ Ltr / Fax/Email:____________ Ltr / Fax/Email:____________
Ltr / Fax/Email:____________ Ltr / Fax/Email:____________ Ltr / Fax/Email:____________

Received/Date:______________        Received/Date:______________       Received/Date:_____________
Received/Date:______________        Received/Date:______________       Received/Date:_____________
                                                                                Eley Fundraising, Inc.

                                   Sample Call Tracking Sheet
            Hours Called   Hours       Calls       Messages Left   Hard Yes   No   Total Amount
                           Scheduled   Completed                                   Raised



                              Sample Pledge Follow up tracking sheet
Last         First      Date        Amount      Follow up     Follow Up    Date         Amount       Date Thank
Name         Name       Pledged     Pledged     Letter Sent   Call Made    Received     Received     You Sent
Hasan        Arshad      5/4/2006       $500      5/5/2006                  5/9/2006          $250   5/10/2006
Hughes       Tom         5/4/2006       $400      5/5/2006
Dean         Jim         5/4/2006       $500      5/5/2006
Strain       Helen       5/4/2006       $250      5/5/2006    5/15/2006
Coken        Jennifer    5/4/2006       $250      5/5/2006    5/15/2006
Hodge        Talesha     5/4/2006     $1,000      5/5/2006                 5/12/2006         $500    5/13/2006
Honeycutt    BJ          5/4/2006     $1,000      5/5/2006                 5/10/2006        $1,000   5/11/2006
Mossman      Mike        5/4/2006       $250      5/5/2006
Bradley      Chuck       5/6/2006     $1,000      5/7/2006
Crott        Annette     5/6/2006       $100      5/7/2006                                    $100
Watson       Simon       5/6/2006     $1,000      5/7/2006    5/17/2006    5/20/2006          $500   5/21/2006
Cohen        Mitch       5/6/2006       $200      5/7/2006
Strapper     Jack        5/6/2006       $200      5/7/2006
Lindolen     Linda       5/6/2006       $600      5/7/2006
Derden       Courtney   5/11/2006     $2,500     5/12/2006                 5/14/2006        $2,500   5/15/2006
Eisensteil   Carla      5/11/2006       $250     5/12/2006
Sorty        Desmond    5/11/2006       $500     5/12/2006
Hillen       Amanda     5/11/2006     $2,500     5/12/2006
Abraham      Robin      5/11/2006     $1,000     5/12/2006
Mittrand     Alice      5/11/2006       $500     5/12/2006

TOTALS                              $14,500                                                 $4,850

  Sample Target Amount Tracking Sheet
Last Name        First Name    Target Amount     Pledge Amount   Actual Amount     % Pledged       % Received
Hasan            Arshad                 $500              $500            $250             100%              50%
Hughes           Tom                   $1,000             $400               $0              40%              0%
Dean             Jim                   $5,000             $500               $0              10%              0%
Strain           Helen                  $500              $250               $0              50%              0%
Coken            Jennifer               $500              $250               $0              50%              0%
Hodge            Talesha               $5,000           $1,000            $500               20%             10%
Honeycutt        BJ                    $2,500           $1,000           $1,000              40%             40%
Mossman          Mike                   $500              $250               $0              50%              0%
Bradley          Chuck                 $2,500           $1,000               $0              40%              0%
Crott            Annette                $500              $100            $100               20%             20%
Watson           Simon                 $2,500           $1,000            $500               40%             20%
Cohen            Mitch                  $500              $200               $0              40%              0%
Strapper         Jack                   $500              $200               $0              40%              0%
Lindolen         Linda                 $1,000             $600               $0              60%              0%
Derden           Courtney              $5,000           $2,500           $2,500              50%             50%
Eisensteil       Carla                  $500              $250               $0              50%              0%
Sorty            Desmond               $1,000             $500               $0              50%              0%
Hillen           Amanda                $5,000           $2,500               $0              50%              0%
Abraham          Robin                 $2,500           $1,000               $0              40%              0%
Mittrand         Alice                  $500              $500               $0            100%               0%

TOTALS                               $37,500           $14,500            $4,850            39%             13%

Sample Campaign Budget
Budget                   April
                         April   May     June    July    August   September October   November Totals
Target to raise          25000   25000   25000   25000   50000    100000    100000    25000
    Non Voter
Campaign Manager         375     375     375     750     1500     1500      1500      375       7500
Finance Director         313     313     625     625     1250     1250      1250      313       6250
Others/Assistance to                             250     500      1000      1000      50        2800
Candidate expenses       250     250     500     500     1000     1000      1000      250       5000
Catering                 -       -       -       -       50       100       100       -         250
Promotion                -       -       -       -       -        -         -         -         -
Insurance                125     125     250     250     500      500       500       125       2500
Transportation           50      50      75      125     250      250       250       75        1175
Benchmarks               -       -       1500    -       3000     -         2500      750       8500
Voter Files              -       50      75      -       150      150       150       50        675
Overhead                 -       -       -       -       -        -         -         -         -
Office Rental            -       -       1000    1000    1000     1000      1000      1000      6000
Office Supplies          -       -       300     150     150      500       650       200       1950
Telephones               30      30      250     75      100      150       150       75        890
Internet                 25      25      50      50      250      250       250       25        950
Electricity/Water        20      20      45      45      75       75        75        20        395
Equipment and            -       -       100     75      150      150       150       50        675
Transportation           50      50      50      75      75       150       150       50        800
  Voter Contact          -       -       -       -       -        -         -         -         -
Brochures/palm                           1000    -       2000     2000      2000      500       8000
Newspaper Ads            -       -       125     -       250      1250      1750      125       3500
Direct Mail              750     -       750     750     750      1250      1000      250       5500
Radio                    -       -       -       2500    4500     9000      9000      3125      20000
TV                                                       2500     7500      500       250       33125
Internet                 325     325     650     650     1300     1350                          6756
Voter files (per list)   -       50      75      -       150      150       250       50        775
Walk lists (per list)    -       25      50      -       100      100       100       -         375
Door hangers             -       -       -       -       -        650       3250      -         3900
Lawn signs (per 100)     -       -       -       -       550      1100      550       -         2200
Volunteer Support        -       -       -       -       -        -         -         -         -
Field Director           -       -       750     750     1500     1500      1500      500       6500
Outreach expenses        65      65      125     125     250      250       250       -         1135
Training (per 20         225     225     -       450     -        450       -         -         1350
Recognition              50      50      100     100     200      200       200       50        950
Meals and Snacks         50      50      100     100     200      200       200       50        975
Other                    25      25      50      50      100      100       100       25        475
Total Expenses           4003    3803    12170   13045   31425    42075     52825     10683     170027
Total Actual Revenue
Cash on Hand

A Guide for Event and Organizational Planning

                          Time: Your Most Finite Resource
An organization can work to grow its activist base and its fundraising base, but the one thing no campaign
can raise or grow is time. Everyone has the same amount of time, and once it’s wasted, it is lost forever.
The only way to use this resource to its fullest potential is to make the most of what you have. Strong
planning skills allows an organization to utilize all three resources – time, people, and money – to their
fullest potential.

Planning puts organizers and campaigners in control of the environment around them. The mindset
changes from “This is happening to us” to “We are making this happen.” When utilized correctly, planning
maximizes flexibility, accountability, and productivity.

Four Key Principles of Effective Planning
   1) Explicit and Written
   Plans do not exist if they are not written down. No matter how much a person can keep in their head, a
   campaign or an organization has too many variables to keep track of. Writing forces the planner to
   think through the plan. Written and explicit plans also allow others to see the larger picture. The more
   people have access or input into the plan, the more invested those people will become. Others might
   also help identify problem areas. Plans do not exist on sticky notes, napkins, or scraps of paper. A good
   plan takes up a whiteboard, pages of notebook paper, and/or spreadsheets and word tables.

   2) Set Specific, Quantifiable Goals. Establish Benchmarks.
   Goals should be tangible and/or numerical. If the goal cannot be seen, touched, or counted, it is not
   specific enough. Set goals using real numbers. Goals based on real life rarely end in clean 5’s and 0’s.
   Avoid approximations. If approximations are necessary, make sure the numbers are attached to a
   meaningful end result. As you plan, break these goals down along your timeline to set benchmarks to
   gauge progress. To the extent possible, determine how much time each task or component will take.
   This will help you prioritize and revise you plans.

   3) Create A Timeline and Work Backwards.
   Consider the end product and work back from there. Often, the goal is the first aspect of plan known to
   the planner. In order to reach that end product, a number of things need to be in place. Working
   backwards means thinking about each step by asking “okay, what is the thing to be done before this
   can happen?” over and over for each step. Consider how much time each of these steps will take. After
   calculating how much time each step takes, you can start prioritizing what needs to be done first, and
   what can wait.

   4) Revise and Update
   Plans maximize flexibility only if updated constantly. Things change quickly in a campaign. The plan
   helps the campaign navigate through these changes, but it will become meaningless if it isn’t kept up
   to date. When a wrench is thrown into the day, step back, and adjust the plan. This gives you the most
   control in any situation where controls seems slipping away. Also set benchmarks on the way to
   reaching a goal. If the organization is not meeting these benchmarks, the goal will not be met. Planning
   allows the planner to see this before it becomes a major problem and facilitates making adjustments.

                              Step-by-Step Planning Process
                      Step 1: Identify the Goals, Break Into Realms.
                      Step 2 Identify the Timeline.
                      Step 3 Work backwards, Establish Benchmarks
                      Step 4 Identify Priorities and SWOT.
                      Step 5 Revise As Needed.

Step 1 Identify the Goals and Break into realms
Whether planning a major event or just a week in the life of an organization, a number of things need to be
accomplished. Start by thinking about the end result of that week, that event, or that task. What does it
look like when finished? Get specific. For example, if the event is a rally, ask how many people will attend
and who are those people, what will people see and hear, where will people be, who will speak, will there
be media, will there be other groups, and so on.

Start grouping your goals together into task groups – create general categories, or realms, for each
component of the plan. You might decide to group your media goals together in one realm, your fundraising
goals in another realm, and so on. Each realm is an area of responsibility and can make delegation of
duties easy.

                                                     Rally for Health Care
  Example: Event Plan               Realm                                    Goal
  DFA–AnyCity is planning
                              Crowd building        120 people in attendance, half (60) will come from
  a large rally at the
                                 (Chris Warshaw)    DFA outreach, the other half (60) from other groups.
  statehouse to support
                                                    DFA will use email lists and phones to build the
  health care reform. The
  rally   will    fill  the
                                                    One-third of the crowd (40) will hold DFA or
  statehouse steps (about
                                                    healthcare related signs.
  120      people),    and
  attract major media         Media                 Three print media hits, two radio hits, three
  attention. We will have        (Noreen Nielsen)   television hits, front-page diaries on both local blogs.
  speakers, and work with     Speakers          and One speaker from DFA-AnyCity, One speaker from a
  our coalition partners.     Coalition Partners coalition partner, one medical professional. Notify
                                  (Tom Hughes)      neighboring DFA groups.
                              Finance               Expenses, not to exceed $120, come out of general
                                 (Dina Wolkoff)     fund.
                              Logistics             Venue and security, parking and transportation,
                                  (Kyle Duggan)     sounds system, tabling and data collection.

  Step 2 Identify the timeline.
  Once goals have been figured out, identify how much time is allowed to accomplish them. If the planner is
  drafting a plan for a set period (ie weekly planning), as opposed to event planning, this is already
  established. The tasks need to be arranged on the timeline, so create space to write these tasks into the
  There are a number of ways to write out the timeline. If the plan is done in paragraph outline, each unit of
  time can be its own paragraph or heading. If the timeline is written in a chart or table format, each unit of
  time has its own column.
  EXAMPLE DFA-AnyCity has determined that the best time for the event is the beginning of floor debate on
  the healthcare bill DFA-AnyCity has endorsed. That’s only six days away!
                                                        Rally for Health Care
Realm                 Thursday         Friday          Saturday      Sunday
                                                                     Sunday            Monday       Tuesday     Goal
Crowd                                                                                                           - Crowd = 120
building                                                                                                          • DFA =60
     (Chris)                                                                                                      • Phones, email
                                                                                                                - Signs = 40
Media                                                                                                           - Messaging, media
   (Noreen)                                                                                                     advisory, media release,
                                                                                                                blog release, radio feed,
                                                                                                                pitch calls to all outlets,
                                                                                                                prep 10 media packets.
                                                                                                                - 3 print, 3 TV, 2 radio, 2
                                                                                                                blog hits.
Speakers /                                                                                                      - Recruit speakers,
Coalitions                                                                                                      uniform messaging,
     (Tom)                                                                                                      press quotes, recruit
                                                                                                                other groups.
Finance                                                                                                         - expenses <$120,
     (Dina)                                                                                                     - checks as needed.
Logistics                                                                                                       Venue, security, parking,
     (Kyle)                                                                                                     transportation, sounds
                                                                                                                system, tabling and data

  Step 3 Work backwards, establish benchmarks
  In each realm, go through each goal and figure out the series of tasks which need to be completed to reach
  that goal. Write each prerequisite activity along the timeline in the corresponding row (if using a chart as in
  the example). To work backwards, ask what needs to be done right before the final goal is achieved.
 For example, to expect 60 people at an event, you must have had 120 people to commit to coming. This
 means you’ve made 120 confirmation calls. To get 120 commitments, you will need to make many more
 calls over a period of time (see the section ‘Building Your Activist Base’ for more on the law of halves,
 confirmation, and calling rates). Before this, you need to line up volunteers to make the call, numbers to
 call, scripts to use, and phones to dial.
                                 EXAMPLE: Work out the Crowd Building realm
Realm       Thurs      Friday   Saturday         Sunday          Monday            Tuesday     Goal
Crowd          - Draft, edit   - 4 phones    - Confirm 4 vols.    - Confirm 4 vols.     - Confirm 4 vols.     - 120 confirm - Crowd= 120
building       email           - 4 scripts   - 4 vols @ 3 hrs =   - 4 vols @ 3 hrs =    - 4 vols @ 3 hrs =    calls           • DFA =60
  (Chris)      - send to       - 4 vols @    360 calls            360 calls             360 calls             - 60 show
                                                                                                                              • Phones,
               list.           3 days        goal = 40 yesses     goal = 40 yesses      goal = 40 yesses
                                                                                        - Reminder email                        email

     Step 4 Identify Priorities and Determine ‘SWOT’.
     One of the most important aspects of planning is prioritizing. Everyone has
     experienced the kind of day or week when everything seems to demand your                           Think about it…
     attention all at once. Because time is limited and work is not, planners must                      Ultimately, prioritizing is a
     determine what tasks get attention when they are both competing for the                            lesson in humility. It is an
     same time. It is important to build this explicitly into the plan.                                 admission       that      the
                                                                                                        planner will not be able
     After planning out each realm, add an additional row titled, “priorities.” This                    to devote enough time to
     row will settle resource disputes before they arise. If the campaign is thrown                     do everything on his/her
     off-course for the day and little gets done, then the plan dictates what does                      plate. Prioritizing helps
     get done, and what is left for another day.                                                        the planner decide where
                                                                                                        to spend time when the
     A person should expect to spend most of the day on the plan’s top priorities                       planner finds his/her
     for that day. Priorities typically are those items which have hard deadlines or                    time limited. Determining
     function as prerequisites for other important items in the plan.                                   priorities ahead of time is
                                                                                                        as much a decision to
     Not every item can be a priority. A good rule of thumb is to decide on three                       leave items unfinished as
     specific priorities for each basic unit of time (i.e. three priorities per column).                to decide to finish them.

    Realm         Thurs            Friday           Saturday         Sunday           Monday            Tuesday            Goal
.             .                .                .                .                .                 .                  .
.             .                .                .                .                .                 .                  .
.             .                .                .                .                .                 .                  .
.             .                .                .                .                .                 .                  .
    Priorities 1) Secure venue 1) volunteer     1) Crowd         1) finalize      1) 2nd Pitch to   1) message             Overall:
              2) Find speaker recruitment       building         media outreach   the media         control            1) Media hits
              3) Message      2) News           2) draft, edit   prep             2) Media          2) crowd           2) Consistent
              development     Advisory, pitch   news release,    2) crowd         packets           building           message
                              3) Sound          radio feeds      building         3) Crowd          3) tableing and    3) Crowd = 120
                              system            3)               3)               building          data collection

     Take a look at the plan and look for SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). If one
     day in the plan has a light workload and another day with an unreasonable workload, this is an opportunity
     to spread your workload out. The plan might stretch other resources – people and money – thin at some
     places. Look for opportunities to combine resources. For example, if you have volunteers coming in to
     phonebank for you the same evening you need volunteers to paint signs you could:
               1) Move or reschedule the lower priority task to maximize available resources
               2) Ask the phonebankers to stay and help make signs after their shift
     Look for items which require prerequisite tasks in other realms. A news advisory might be scheduled on
     Thursday, but if the venue information is not scheduled until Friday, the News advisory cannot go out.
     Items which are prerequisites to other tasks have the most potential to set back your whole plan. In order
     to stay on task and meet the plans benchmarks, prioritize these items and make sure to leave enough time
     in the day to complete them.

     Step 5 Revise as needed.
     A plan is useless without the ability or will to change it promptly and frequently. Revisit the plan every
     morning to review and make adjustments. Immediately revise the plan if or when something disrupts the
     plan. Involve others in these revisions to keep them interested.

     Ultimately, organizations find their own planning technique. Use the basics above and develop a style that
     works best for you and your organization.

Electoral Field Plan

                                    Drafting Your Field Plan
Here is your choice: You can diligently plan your campaign, updating as necessary, and maybe you will
achieve success. Or, you can decide the plan is not so important and definitely, definitely fail. It’s not an
ideal choice, but it’s what you’ve got.

The field plan is the campaign’s blueprint for victory. The field plan is the series of strategies and tactics a
campaign uses to gather the necessary votes to win an election. The media plan, the finance plan, and all
the campaign’s administrative capacity serves one goal: Support and operation capable of gathering the
number of votes necessary to win the campaign. The field plan is that operation.

                                The field plan has four aspects:
          1.                                        victory
               Identifying the objective: electoral victory (goal)
          2.   Targeting the necessary groups of voters required to achieve the vote goal (strategy)
          3.   Contacting each targeted group with an appropriate message (tactic)
          4.   Timelines and Benchmarks

Your plan must detail the goals, strategies, and tactics necessary to execute a successful campaign.

Part 1: Calculate your vote goal.
Months before Election Day, the campaign must know how many votes the winner will need to receive on
election day. This is a known number, specific to the campaign’s district, that can be calculated even
before the start of the race. This number is your vote goal – your campaign’s overarching objective is to
reach that number.

Campaigns are fueled by resources. With few exceptions, these resources are limited. Most campaigns will
never have enough money, time and volunteers to talk to every voter. But we also don’t need to talk to
every voter. In most campaigns must achieve a simple majority (50%+1). The campaign doesn’t want as
many votes as possible, only as many as necessary.

To estimate how many votes we need to win an election, we use the following formulas:
                 1. Registered Voters x Projected Voter Turnout = Expected Vote
                  2. Expected Vote ÷ 2 + 1 = Number of Votes We Need to Win
The number of registered voters in a district can be obtained by your county elections official or from the
state Secretary of State’s office.

Projected voter turnout is a little bit trickier. The best indicator of future performance is past behavior.
However, not all elections are equal. In 2004, a record number of voters went to the polls and cast their
vote. This was likely due to the prominence of the presidential race and the large investments of many
organizations to educate and mobilize voters. However, in years where there is not a presidential election,
like 2006, many voters will not participate. Other factors contribute to varying voter turnout as well: Open
seat elections and high-profile competitive races have higher voter turnout, whereas underwhelming
candidates and catastrophic weather create lower voter turnout. The key to projecting turnout using past
elections is to compare similar past elections.

Use the worksheet on the following page to calculate turnout for a given race:

      Turnout in Last Election for Same Seat
            a) Year: __________________________________
            b) Total registration:________________________
            c) Total votes cast:_________________________
            d) % Turnout: _____________________________

      Other Relevant Election 1
             a) Year: __________________________________
             b) Total registration:________________________
             d) Total votes cast:_________________________
             e) % Turnout: _____________________________

      Other Relevant Election 2
             a) Year: __________________________________
             b) Total registration:________________________
             d) Total votes cast:_________________________
             e) % Turnout: _____________________________

Use as many relevant elections as you feel necessary to reach a reasonable average turnout
                                                       Total Registration
                                                x      projected turnout percentage
     Calculate Anticipated Turnout
                                                =      anticipated turnout

                                                       Anticipated turnout
                                                x      0.50_____________________
              Divide By Two                     =      50% of anticipated vote

                                                       50% of anticipated vote
                Vote Goal:                      +      1_______________________
                                                =      VICTORY

Many Field plans calculate 52% or more to use as the vote goal to achieve a margin of safety.

Part 2: Targeting Your Voters.
Once the campaign figures out the vote goal for the district, the next task is to figure out where to get these
voters from. Again, a campaign’s resources are limited. Because the campaign does not have enough time,
people, or money to sit down and target every single voter in the district, targeting is used to see where
these resources can be spent most efficiently. Targeting is an exercise in resource management.

Campaigns seek to influence two kinds of voter behavior – whether the registered voter shows up to vote,
and who the voter will end up supporting on election day. By understanding which behavior the campaign
seeks to change, targeting helps us shape the campaign’s message.

A campaign targets voters using three methods: Targeting with voter history, targeting with polling data,
and targeting with geographic trends.

Targeting with voter history
Most districts’ voter files will show to which Party a voter is affiliated and when that voter has voted in the
past. This information is public and by utilizing it, we can identify which voters are most likely to miss a low
profile election and which voters wouldn’t dream of missing an election.

      Frequent voters are voters who go to the polls for almost every election and almost every year.
      We do not need to do much to motivate them to vote. Rather, we just want to make sure that
      when they vote –we have given them the education they need to support our campaign. The
      term “4x4 voter,” for example, means a voter who has voted in all four of the last four elections
      – including primaries and off-years.
      Infrequent voters do not turn out for every election, and they likely need some needling to get
      to the polls. These individuals may vote during the presidential elections, but often do not vote
      in off-year elections. We need to work extra-hard to get supportive infrequwnts to the polls.

Identifying the voter’s past performance, answers the question of which behavior to influence. Frequent
voters will likely show up to the election – the campaign needs to make sure that those voters vote for the
right candidate. Infrequent voters might or might not show up. The campaign needs to identify which of
these voters support the candidate, and make sure that supporter votes. What can you tell about the voter

                            2002 Primary     2002 General    2004 Primary     2004 General
         Smith, Al                           X                                X                 2x4
         Stevens, Sally                      X               X                X                 3x4
         Thomas, Bill                                                                           0x4
         Thompson, Jan                                                        X                 1x4
         Thompson, Tim                                                        X                 1x4
         Orville, Wright    X                X               X                X                 4x4

Who are the most likely to vote in the 2006 Primary?
Who are the most likely to vote in the 2006 General?
Who are least likely to vote?

Targeting with Polling and Demographics
A voter file helps us identify the frequency of individual voters by using their voter history, but there are
other things about voters that we’d like to identify as well, such as which voters are likely to respond
positively to our campaign message. Many campaigns use polling or focus groups that help inform us
about which groups of voters are most likely to support us, oppose us, or be undecided. For instance, a poll
may show that 80 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 50 support our issue or candidate, but
that 50 percent of men between the ages of 35 and 50 are undecided. The campaign can then spend its
resources making sure women between 35 and 50 get out to vote. If the campaign requires more votes, it
knows to spend the remaining resources persuading men 35 to 50 to support the issue or candidate.

Many down-ballot campaigns will not have the financial resources to conduct a professional poll unless
polling information is available from a larger coordinated campaign effort. A voter ID program might also be
developed to help the campaign identify issues and demographics favorable to the candidate.

A grassroots campaign should substitute a dedicated phone ID program to determine the campaign’s
targeting priorities.

Geographic Targeting
Not all elections are the same, and not all voters perform equally.        Why can’t the campaign be in
Similarly, not all places perform equally. For example, most                     every precinct?
Democratic voters often come out of the cities. Do we want to win the     Campaigns are short-term entities
rural counties? Of course. But when considering a campaign’s limited      with limited resources. To correct
resources, it makes sense to utilize the strongest precincts and send     long-term problems like the lack
resources where they can make a difference in the election. In the        of investment in low Democratic
long term, this creates a problem because campaigns do not make           performance areas, a long-term
investments in these low-support areas necessary to increase its          entity is required. Campaigns are
support. But campaign can not make long term investments in               not an appropriate entity. Please
anything. A campaign is not a long term entity. In its short time, a      see the section in this manual on
campaign exists for only one goal: garner as many votes as possible       long-term precinct organizing.
at the lowest possible cost.
Calculating vote goals at the county level will assist in identifying how much money, time and energy should
be allocated to each region. Certain geographic areas have specific voting rates and partisan splits again
and again over many election cycles.
Precincts can generally be divided into three categories, Democratic Base precincts, Swing Precincts and
Republican Base precincts. Democratic Base precincts vote Democratic more than 65% of the time. The
same is true of the GOP vote in GOP Base precincts. Swing Precincts are split Democratic and Republican.
An analysis of the district’s precincts will show us if a campaign can win just by turning out its base
precincts, or if it needs to target swing districts.

                                         Targeting Guide
Box A: These people always vote Democratic, but they don’t always vote. You do not need to persuade
them whom to vote for. You do need to drag them to the polls. In the GOTV phase of your campaign, these
people are the top priority.

Box B: These people always vote. Sometimes they vote Democratic, sometimes they vote Republican. Your
campaign must persuade them to vote Democratic. Most of your resources leading up to the GOTV phase
is spent talking to these voters.

Box C: These people sometimes vote. Sometimes they vote for a Republican, sometimes they vote for a
Democrat. This is a less productive group of voters to target than Box A or Box B, because many of those
you do persuade will not vote. You will need to spend resources IDing, Persuading, and GOTVing these

Box D: These are ideal Democratic voters. They always vote, and always vote Democratic. You don’t need to
spend money persuading them or on getting them out to vote.

Box E: These voters never vote. Spend resources on these people if and only if you have saturated the
voters in Boxes A, B, C, and D. Most campaigns do not have the resources to waste on these voters.

Box F: These are solid Republican voters. The campaign does not have the resources to spend in these


                                   Always Vote               Swing Always Vote
                                   Democratic                Voters Republican

                                           D                    B

                  Always Vote        Super-voters          Persuasion                F
                  Sometimes                 A                   C
                  Vote                Dem GOTV           Persuasion #2               F

                  Never Vote                E                   E                    F
Campaign Targeting Example
The 20th district consists of 21 precincts. You have been put in charge of Moran Township, which contains five
precincts. What does the targeting tell you about Moran? Let's take a look:
                  A             B             C            D            E            F            G              H
Moran        Registration    Expected     Turnout %    Dem Perf      Pers. %       Pers.      % of Pers.     GOTV
Township                       Vote                       %                        Index                     Index
Precinct1        510           311           61%          60%          20%          62           27%             119
Precinct2        490           294            60           80           12          36            16             157
Precinct3        523           314            60           40           16          50            22              84
Precinct4        501           376            75           40           11          41            18              50
Precinct5        487           341            70           80           12          41            18             117
                2512           1636           65           60           14          230                          527

  1. The Democratic performance for this township is 60 percent. (Column D)
  2. There are two high-Democratic-performance precincts: Precinct 2 and Precinct 5. (Column D)
  3. You should expect 1636 voters to show up on Election Day. (Column B)
  4. The number of votes needed to win this town is (1,636/2) + 1 = 819
  5. There are 230 ticket splitters in the township. (Column F)
  6. The most persuadable precincts are precincts 1 and 3. (Column G)
  7. Precincts 1, 2, and 5 have the highest number of non-voting Democrats because these precincts have
     the highest GOTV index. (Column H)
  8. The average Democrat gets 981 votes (1,636 Expected Vote) x (60% Dem performance) = 981 Votes
With the higher Democratic performance in this town, the strategy will target getting Democrats out to vote.

Part 3: Voter Contact
Once the campaign figures out where to go, and what to say, the campaign needs to figure out how best to
reach the voter. The campaign will have a menu of techniques for contacting voters. All of these techniques
should have one or more of the following goals:
    • Identify supportive, undecided and opposing voters
    • Increase voter education and participation
    • Collect information for future voter outreach efforts
Remember, the goal in any election is to make sure that 50 percent plus 1 of the Election Day voters
support our campaign. There are essentially three groups of voters in any election: our supporters
undecided voters, and our opposition

Types of Voter Contact
The more personal and retail the contact, the greater impact the contact will have. At the same time,
making retail contact with each and every person is extremely demanding on your resources.
 Voter Contact can be divided into two different categories: High impact and Low impact.
           High Impact Tactics                         Low Impact Tactics
           Canvassing                                  Literature Drops
           Phone Banking                               Flyering
           Direct Mail                                 Lawn Signs
           Social Network organizing                   Visibility

    Tactic          Impact          Targeted         Two-Way?
                                                     Two-                     Resource Costs
                                                                          Time       People        Money
Canvassing            High             Highly            Yes            High           High         Low
Phone                 High             Highly            Yes           Med-High        High       Low-med
Direct Mail           High             Highly            Yes             low           low          Med
Television           Med-high        Moderately           No             low           low          High
Radio                Med-high        Moderately           No             low           low        Med-high
Literature Drops       Low           Sometimes            No             high          high         Med
Posters                Low              No                No            med            med          Low
Lawn Signs             Low              No                No            med            med          med
Billboards             Low              No                No             low           low          High
Human visibility       Low              No                No            med            high         Low
Emails                None           Moderately        Not really        low           low          Low

In 2000 Yale political scientists, Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber, produced Get Out the Vote!, a book
which quantified the effect of voter contact tactics on GOTV. As predicted, the more personal the tactic, the
more likely that tactic would produce a vote. As a general rule, Green and Gerber estimated how many
contacts each tactic required to turn out each additional voter (GOTV only):
               Canvassing: One additional vote for every 14 people successfully contacted.
               Phone banks: One additional vote for every 35 people successfully contacted.
               Lit Drops: One additional vote for every 66 people successfully contacted.
               Direct Mail: One additional vote for every 133 people successfully contacted.

The study indicated that these numbers are higher in local (or down-ballot) elections and in mid-year
elections. Although these numbers generalize the significant distinctions between frequent and non-
frequent voters and the campaigns’ impact on targeted voters, the research powerfully illustrates the
varying degrees of efficacy for each tactic.

What voter contact strategy a campaign employs will be based on resource realities. The most effective
impact will come from a combination of techniques, designed to be as personal as possible and related to
one another both in message and timeline. Effective communication is layered.
                    Example: Layered Communication to Persuade an Undecided voter
1. Television ads raise voter awareness across a large segment of the population.
        2. Door-to-door canvass identifies a voter who is undecided on an issue.
               3. Direct mail provides persuasive issue material to voter.
                       4. Phone bank re-identifies - voter is now in support.
                               5. Election Day direct mail reminds supportive voter to vote.
                                  Election Day phone bank reminds supportive voter to vote.
                                  Election Day door knockers reminds supportive voter to vote.

Advance Voting – Absentee, Early, and Vote by Mail
Every state has some form of alternative voting option. These options usually allow the voter to cast a vote
in advance of election day, either at a designated location or from the voters’ home via postal mail. Many
of these advance voting options are restricted to segments of the population, often by age.
Absentee voting is present in some form in all states. This voting option is often reserved for those of a
certain age or disability. Most absentee laws include allowances for students or people who commute to
work during polling hours. Early voting allows voters to cast their ballots at a designated location such as
the county clerk’s office or city hall. Many states have a vote by mail program where the county mails the
ballot to the voters and the voter mails the ballot back within a certain time frame. Advance voting requires
an application before receiving a ballot, and has deadlines regarding application and ballot submissions.

Incorporating advance voting into your regular voter contact program offer three advantages:

Reasons to Vote in Advance
   1) Convenient for the Voter – Can vote at a time before the election, in the privacy, comfort, and
      convenience of their own home. OR they can take the ballot, in person, to the County office. The
      voter will not encounter your campaign’s GOTV operation.
   2) Often incorporates an auditable paper trail (esp. voting by mail).
   3) For the campaign these votes are “in the bank”; you will not have to spend resources on these
      people on Election Day. This is a good investment in resources because it will allow you to start
      tallying actual votes and saves you time during the period you need it most.
Choosing to incorporate an advance voting program into your plan is like any other strategic decision.
Chasing mail ballots require time, people, and money. An effective program requires a basic commitment
to release a number of targeted VBM direct mail pieces and follow-up phonebanking to a targeted portion
of a campaign’s supporters. Consider your vote goal and targeting and figure out the best audience for
VBM outreach and calculate the cost per vote. The program should help you reach your vote goal and be in
line with your budget.

Incorporating Vote by Mail (VBM) and Absentee voting into your field plan
You can make the most of your state’s advance voting programs by incorporating them into your field plan
as another voter contact tactic. States which have VBM and states which have workable absentee ballot
requirements can open the door to a voter contact program that can make a big difference in close
                                   Four steps to a good VBM program
   1) Research – Find out the feasibility of doing any type of VBM program in the state. Figure out who
      can VBM and what process the voter must go through. Deadlines will be important in formulating a
      plan. Determine if the campaign can distribute applications and/or submit (good thing) or if the
      voter must do it for him/herself (not as good). Figure out who votes early and why. What issues are
      important to them? This can be useful for targeted outreach down the road.
   2) Integration – Once the campaign determines who the state allows to VBM, the next step is to
      determine who the campaign needs to VBM. Budget your VBM program into your targeted direct
      mail voter outreach. Integrate your VBM program with your voter ID work. ID’d strong supporters
      should be told about the VBM program, and VBM outreach follows soon afterward.
   3) Outreach – The vast majority of voters still do not know they can participate by advance voting.
      Those who do might find the process confusing. Outreach should be done via mail, phone, and
      when possible, through the door canvass. Ideally, the campaign can simply deliver the VBM
      application to the voter.
   4) Follow up – In the hassle of every day life, a voter might forget about his/her ballot, might have
      tossed it out, or lost it. You have little control of this, so it is essential to follow up with every
      targeted voter. Usually voters who have submitted their votes appear on the county’s voter role
      after a period of time. This will help you target your follow up.

Recommended VBM program activities
A campaign can adjust this general plan to fit with a given budget and vote goal:
              Tactic        Message
              Mailing #1     Announcing that VBM is on its way.
              Mailing #2     VBM application with instructions. Instructions should be clear
                             (have a volunteer read it) and the deadline for the applications
                             should be in large bold font. Pre-print information if possible.
              Phone #1       Did you get the app? It’s important that it is promptly filled out.
                             How can I help?
              Mail #3                                 Here’s
                             Thank you for applying. Here’s what your ballot will look like.
              Phone #2       Follow up. Did you get the ballot? It’s important that it is
                             promptly filled out. How can I help? This call comes no later than
                             four days after voters receive their ballots.
              Mail #4                            motivational,
                             Reminder mailing, motivational, urgent. Submit your ballot NOW.
                             Sent to those who have not yet voted.
              Phone #3       Last minute ballot chase for unsubmitted votes before deadline.
Helpful tips:
    •   Secure postal permits early. Ideally, get a business reply permit and/or have applications returned
        to the campaign headquarters (instead of the county office) so you can keep track of your voters.
        Be sure to check with the county board of elections to see if you can legally collect and submit
        applications on behalf of the voter.
    •   Leave a phone number in your mailings for questions. The voter can call the campaign office for
        assistance with filling out the information. Be sure to train your staff.
    •   Messages targeted to your VBM voters need to be sent out earlier because they vote earlier. If you
        know what issues tend to motivate your district’s early voters, you can fit your mailings to speak to
        that issue.

                                     Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV)
(GOTV begins when advance voting has begun. Not on Election Day!)

GOTV is the culmination of all of your campaign’s work. GOTV is not the time for persuasion. Now is the
time for getting your supporters to the polls. On to Election Day!

Election Day Assignments
You will need the following to run a good Election Day operation:

GOTV Director: Your campaign must make adjustments throughout the day in response to information coming in
from the field. This may mean shifting volunteers to areas where large numbers of your supporters are not
showing up to vote. Ultimately, these types of decisions should be made by one person, typically the field
director, rather than being left to the discretion of each individual precinct captain.

Area Director: For campaigns which cover larger areas, it is useful to have area directors. A number of precinct
captains report to the area director, who then reports to the GOTV director. The area director may make resource
allocation decisions for his/her particular area and troubleshoot on the ground.

Precinct captains: These people must be your field lieutenants who make sure that operations run smoothly, that
all resources are used correctly, and that the office is notified immediately of any potential problems. They must
not get bogged down doing any one particular thing, such as passing out palm cards. Specific responsibilities for
the precinct captain include making sure that all volunteers get to the polling place on time, that the polls open
and close on time, that all volunteers get a breakfast snack and lunch, and that all supporters in their precinct
get to the polls to vote. It is absolutely critical that your precinct captains be reliable. Precinct captains should
also be asked to call in to the office when the polls open, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and after the polls close.

Poll watchers: This is the most important job inside the polling place on Election Day. Poll watchers must be
capable of keeping track of everyone who votes. You must have an accurate list of all supporters that have not
voted so you can get these people to the polls. Poll watchers are responsible for making sure all voting is done in
a fair manner. This means they must be familiar with election law and assertive enough to challenge any
suspicious activities. They must start the day by making sure that the ballot box is empty before voters begin
arriving and finish the day by helping the precinct captain supervise the ballot counting. Because this is a
tedious, all-day job, it is best to have a morning and an afternoon poll watcher for each precinct. Poll watching is
also a technical job, so these people will need training.

Passers: There should be a minimum of two people assigned to each polling place who are responsible for
visibility. These people start their day by making sure your signs are in place around the polling place one hour
before the polls open. They finish their day by making sure that all campaign signs have been cleaned up. During
voting hours, they should be stationed outside the polling place to pass out your literature, sample ballots, and
palm cards. You should do something fun, like asking all passers to wear your campaign colors. These people
represent your last chance to influence voters before they go into the voting booth. They should also be chosen
according to local factors and be as familiar as possible with the voters. You will probably need to assign eight
people to pass out flyers at each polling place to guarantee there are no less than two on duty at any given time.

Drivers: At least one person should be assigned as drivers to each precinct or area. These people may also serve
as passers, but their primary function is picking up supportive people who need a ride to vote. They should begin
their day by putting door hangers on all doors of all supporters at 4 or 5 a.m. During the day, the precinct captain
should give them a list of names of non-voting supporters at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. The list will be provided
by the poll watcher. The drivers will visit each house on the list, remind the residents to vote, and offer them a
ride to the polling place.

Phoners and Flushers: You should have at least one person making phone calls from a house or office in each
precinct throughout the day. This person should be calling all supporters and reminding them to vote. The calls
can start as early as 8 a.m. and should continue throughout the day. The precinct captain should update the list
of people left to vote so that phoners are spending their time on people who have yet to vote. Flushers are
volunteers who knock on the doors of people who have not yet voted and get them out to vote. Walk them to the
polls if necessary. Phoners and flushers contact drivers when needed.

Office Staff: All staff should report to the GOTV director on Election Day. Everyone—including the candidate—
should be in the field on Election Day, with only a skeleton staff at the campaign headquarters. The campaign
manager and coordinator make sure that things are flowing smoothly and to patch holes where there are
problems. One additional person should be on hand to answer phones and take information. In case of disputes,
it would be useful to have an attorney available to send to a precinct with a problem.

Sample Election Day Schedule
Precinct teams meet at 5:00 a.m. on Election Day. Teams put up signs at key locations around the polling
place. Poll watchers arrive at 5:30 a.m. and supervise the preparations to open the polls.
7 a.m. Polls open
   Poll watchers and passers are in place.
   Poll watchers begin crossing off names, and passers begin handing out sample ballots.
   Precinct captains phone in to the headquarters and advise that everything is running smoothly.
   Captains then buy coffee and doughnuts for their workers and the judges.

9 a.m. Calls begin
   Phone calls to supporters start from various locations and continue throughout the day.

1 p.m. Lunch
   Precinct captain provides lunch for volunteers after the regular lunch hour rush.

2 p.m. Second Run
   Poll watcher gives precinct captain the index cards for all positive voters that have not voted.
   Precinct captain gives cards to drivers who visit supporter homes and give election reminders.
   Precinct captain calls in to the office.
   Field director may give orders to move volunteers according to poll watcher results.

5 p.m. Third Run
   Poll watcher gives precinct captain the index cards for all positive voters that have not voted.
   Precinct captain gives cards to drivers who visit supporter homes and give election reminders.
   Precinct captain calls in to the office.
   Field director may give orders to move volunteers according to poll watcher results.

6 p.m. Dragging Voters to the Polls
   Poll watcher gives precinct captain the index cards for all positive voters that have not voted.
   Precinct captain gives these cards to drivers who drag any remaining voters to the polls.

7 p.m. Polls Close
   Poll watcher and precinct captain supervise the ballot counting.
   Volunteers clean up signs and other campaign literature around the polls.

8 p.m. Victory Party

Timelines and benchmarks
So far, the campaign has determined the overall vote goal, targeted voters, evaluated voter contact tactics
– all the aspects necessary to construct a field plan. In order to put together a plan, these aspects must be
placed in the timeline of the campaign and given benchmarks by which to measure progress. Unless each
aspect of the plan is measured against the time remaining until the election, the campaign plan is
meaningless. The campaign can increase its finances, it can motivate more grassroots activists, but it can
never, never reclaim lost time. Campaign product (voters contacted, funds raised, etc) must always be
measured against time remaining.

Good plans start at the end of the timeline with the desired goal and work backwards to the present. An
electoral campaign’s goal is the vote goal achieved by election day. Each week of the field plan has a goal
to find a certain number of supporters through its voter contact plan. If you need 5000 votes on election
day, your goal for the week before might be 4800 identified supporters. The week before that your goal
might be to have identified 4600 supporters and so on. These benchmarks determine how to allocate
resources efficiently and allow the campaign to adjust the plan as necessary.

Once benchmarks are set for the campaign, tactics to reach these benchmarks must be determined. In
order to do this, a number of assumptions need to be made. If you need to identify 200 supporters in one
week, how many voters will you need to contact? How much time will it take to contact these voters? What
methods yield the most supporters per week?
                               Good Rates to figure out:
                               - Voters per Household
                               - Households knocked/ hour
                               - Households contacted/ hour
                               - Phone calls/hour
                               - Phone contacts/ hour
                               - Above rates for Voter ID
                               - Above rates for Voter persuasion

A generic timeline (without benchmarks) follows on the next page. A campaign plan can be broken down
further by week and by day, all having specific and quantified goals for each tactic.

     A field plan can be written in any form – text paragraph, bullet points, charts, etc. but it MUST be written down. This field plan is a basic summary
     chart for a campaign starting in June, with a little over five months to plan. The accompanying benchmarks will vary with the particulars of each
     district, but in every field plan, the majority time will be spent on direct voter contact activities. Your detailed plan will be organized by each week
     and will have numerical benchmarks for each week and each tactic.
Realm           June - July        August              Early Sept                 Late September          Early October           Late October           Election weekend      Election Day
Voter Contact   - Field Director   - Voter Reg in      - Voter Reg in High                     Rallies
                                                                                  - Voter Reg Rallies     - Voter ID              - Finish Voter ID      G.O.T.V. all high     G.O.T.V!
                writes plan        High Dem areas      Dem areas                  - Voter ID canvass      - Begin Election Day                           Dem pcts.,            (door to door,
                - Determine        - Begin Voter ID    - Voter ID canvass         and phone               planning                                       identified + voters   phone banks)
                voter targets,     canvass             and phone
                messaging.                             - Begin phonebank
                                                       for voter ID
Voter ID                           500 supporter       1000 supporter ID          2000 supporter ID       3500 supporter ID       5000 supporter ID
Benchmarks                         ID                  (20%)                      (40%)                   (70%)                   (100%)
Volunteers      - Build lists of   - Recruit and       - Begin scheduling in      - Weekly Saturday       - continue Saturday     - focus on election    - recruit for         Volunteers
                potential          train canvassers    volunteers for
                                                       volunteers                 mobilizations, focus    mobilizations           day                    election day          G.O.T.V.
                volunteers         - Begin Saturday    regular shifts.            on voter contact        - Daily
                                   canvass, focus      - Precinct captains in                             Phonebanking,
                                   on vol rec’t.       place                                              canvassing
                                   - pct. Captains
Staff           - Hire senior      - Hire Regional     - Organizers hired for     - Remaining staffing    - Prepare election      - organize statewide   - Prepare for         G.O.T.V/
Management      field staff,       Coordinators,       all targeted regions       needs filled            day GOTV plan.          staff training for     Election day          Prepare for
                regional           recruit field       - Districtwide all staff                                                   election day                                 Victory Party
                coordinators       organizers          training.
                                   - Hold staff
Visibility                                             - yard signs in              Continue
                                                                                  - Continue visibility   - Continue visibility   Focus on high          -Signs and                 Sound
                                                                                                                                                                               Use Sound
                                                       targeted precincts         - Rallies featuring     - Rallies featuring     democratic areas.      appearances from      trucks,
                                                       - Major events (ie         candidate’s             candidate and           Candidate and          all targeted areas    media… keep
                                                       kickoff, labor day         surrogate               candidate’s             surrogate rallies.                           visibility high
                                                       rally, etc)                                        surrogate
Administrativ   - Scout out        - Set up regional   - offices set up in all    - Twice a week          - Twice a week          - Twice a week         -Daily reporting      - Stay in
e and           regional field     field offices, if   targeted
                                                       targeted areas.            reporting from all      reporting from all      reporting from all     from coordinators               with
                                                                                                                                                                               contact with
Systems         offices, if        needed.             - Twice a week             coordinators            coordinators            coordinators                                 coordinators
                needed.            - Weekly reports    reporting from all
                - Weekly reports   from                coordinators
                from               coordinators
Material        - ID phone bank    - ID phone bank     - lit and materials for    - continue with lit     - Prepare election      - Prepare Get Out      -Prepare signs and    - Victory party
Resources       locations,         locations,          canvass                    and materials for       day plan and            the Vote lists,        publicity materials   preparations
                phones, office     phones, office                                 voter contact           materials               distribute election
                space, etc         space, etc                                                                                     day materials

DFA Training Field Exercise: Mercer County
                         Mercer County Map

   Reg: 883                        Reg: 792                 Reg: 502
   ’02 T/O %: 45                   ’02 T/O %: 59            ’02 T/O %: 41

   Anderson                        Bentley                     Cape

   Reg: 1007                       Reg: 976                  Reg: 449
   ’02 T/O %: 38                   ’02 T/O %: 51             ’02 T/O %: 57

     Davis                         Edgewater                  Franklin

        Reg: 4282                                  Reg: 1873
        ’02 T/O %: 31                              ’02 T/O %: 44

           Grant                                    Howard

                   Reg: 5885                        Reg: 992
                   ’02 T/O %: 43                    ’02 T/O %: 48

                      Inkwell                       Johnson

                   Reg: 658                   Reg: 1009
                   ’02 T/O %: 47              ’02 T/O %: 54

                      Kiss                    Logan

                     Current Registration:                 19,308
                     2002 Turnout:                         43%
                     2006 Turnout Estimate =               ___________
                     50% + 1=                              ___________
                     52% =                                 ___________

                                Town – by – Town Breakdown

Anderson                                     Grant
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

Bentley                                      Howard
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

Cape                                         Inkwell
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

Davis                                        Johnson
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

Edgewater                                    Kiss
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

Franklin                                     Logan
Current Registration = _________             Current Registration = _________
2002 Turnout % =              _________      2002 Turnout % =              _________
2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________      2006 Turnout Estimate =       _________
50% + 1 =                     _________      50% + 1 =                     _________
52% =                         _________      52% =                         _________

              A         B                          C                    D                           E             F         G                       H                        I                      J                  K                       L                           M

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               D-Base, Swing or R-Base?
                                                                            2006 Turnout Estimate

                                                                                                                                Dem Performance %
                            Current Registration

                                                                                                                                                        Est. Dem. Turnout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Persuasion Share
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Persuasion Index
                                                       2002 Turnout %

                                                                                                                                                                                 Vote Difference

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Persuasion %
                                                                                                        50% + 1

 1 Anderson             883                        45%                                                                      38%                                                                    19%

 2 Bentley              792                        59%                                                                      29%                                                                    12%

 3 Cape                 502                        41%                                                                      23%                                                                    8%

 4 Davis               1007                        38%                                                                      39%                                                                    26%

 5 Edgewater            976                        51%                                                                      36%                                                                    33%

 6 Franklin            449                         57%                                                                      34%                                                                    28%

 7 Grant               4282                        31%                                                                      46%                                                                    18%

 8 Howard              1873                        44%                                                                      38%                                                                    39%

 9 Inkwell             5885                        43%                                                                      52%                                                                    19%

10 Johnson              992                        48%                                                                      41%                                                                    31%

11 Kiss                658                         47%                                                                      67%                                                                    12%

12 Logan               1009                        54%                                                                      66%                                                                    13%

13 Town-byTown Total   19308                       n/a                                                                      n/a                                             100%                   n/a                                        100%

B   Current Registration       Available from the Town Clerk
C   2002 Turnout %             Available from the Secretary of State
D   2006 Turnout Estimate      (Current Registration) x (Turnout in last like Election)
E   50% + 1                    The minimum needed for victory
F   52%                        The minimum target for victory
                               The Democratic Performance Percent is an estimate of what an average Democrat, running an
                               average campaign will receive in the district. It is calculated by averaging the Democratic
    Dem Performance %
                               candidate’s percentage of the vote in at least three recent competitive elections. Usually
                               provided by NCEC

H   Est. Dem. Turnout          (Turnout Estimate) x (Dem. Performance %) (D X G)
                               The additional number of votes that must be identified through persuasion contact to win 52%.
    Vote Difference

J   Persuasion %               100 – (Democratic Base %) - (Republican Base %)
K   Persuasion Index           (Turnout Estimate) x (Persuasion %) (D X J)
L   Persuasion Share           Percentage of Total Persuasion Index (K/K13)
M                              D-Base>65% Dem Performance %,
    D-Base, Swing or R-Base?   R-Base<35% Dem Performance,
                               35% Dem Perf %<Swing>65% Dem Perf %

                                    DEMOCRATIC PERFORMANCE

The Democratic Performance Percent is an estimate of what an average Democrat, running an
average campaign will receive in the district. It is calculated by averaging the Democratic candidate’s
percentage of the vote in at least three recent competitive elections.

       (Democratic % in Competitive Race 1)
+      (Democratic % in Competitive Race 2)
+      (Democratic % in Competitive Race 3)          =      Democratic Performance %

                                                BASE VOTE

The Democratic Base Vote Percent is what a Democrat who does not campaign, cannot afford to
campaign, or is in a tri-party race can expect. Base voters will vote Democratic every time.

       (Democratic % in Major Loss 1)
+      (Democratic % in Major Loss 2)
+      (Democratic % in Major Loss 3)                =      Democratic Base %

The opposite is true for the Republican base:

       (Republican % in Major Loss 1)
+      (Republican % in Major Loss 2)
+      (Republican % in Major Loss 3)                =      Republican Base %

                                             SWING VOTE

The Swing Voters sometimes vote Democratic and sometimes vote Republican. These voters need to
be persuaded to vote for your candidate.

       100 – Democratic Base % - Republican Base %          =      Swing Vote %

                        04G   04P   02G   02P   00G   00P   98G   98P   HISTORY   PARTY ID   Campaign Grid
Adam       Mauk          X                       X                                   3
Cybil      Manson        X           X           X           X                       5
Joseph     Marchildon    A    D      A    D      X    D      X    D                  1
Henry      Metzger       X                                                           2
Merideth   Metzger                                                                   1
Andrea     Norton        X                                   X                       4
Heidi      Norton
Kyle       Orton         X                       X                                   2
Luigi      Orson         X           X           X           X
Tara       Peters                                                                    5
Anna       Peterson      X                                                           3
Eileen     Porter                                X                                   2
Kristin    Porter        A                       X                                   1
James      Pullman       X    R      X    R      X    R      X    R                  5
Joseph     Quant         X           X    D      X           X                       2
Ralph      Quant         A    D                                                      1
Thomas     Quant                     X                       X    D                  2
Zelda      Quant         X
Rhonda     Roscoe        X    R      X           X    D                              3
Uma        Roscoe        X    R                  X    D                              4
Bella      Russell                                                                   3
Andrew     Rust          X                       X                                   1
Merideth   Sump                                                                      2
Noreen     Stevens       X           X           X           X                       1
June       Thomas        A    D      X    R                                          3
Steve      Trainer       X           X           X           X                       3
Mark       Usher         X    R      X           X           X                       5
Holly      Wolkoff                   X           X                                   5
John       Wolkoff       A           A           X           X                       1
Frank      Villers       X                       X                                   5

Neighbor–to–Neighbor Organizing
Precincts Organizing: organizing on the most local level

  Take Back Your Country – Starting In Your Own Backyard
Precinct Organizing Overview                                                   What is a Precinct?
                                                                               Sometimes known by other
Electoral districts come in varying sizes and scopes. States and US
                                                                               names, a precinct is the
Congressional districts are the largest with state senate, and state house
                                                                               smallest administrative political
districts getting progressively smaller. Organizing from the ground up,        unit, composed of a number of
starting at the grassroots, needs to happen with the most basic of all         registered voters in a defined
electoral districts, usually called a ‘precinct.’ The common trait of these    area. All voters in this area vote
basic electoral units is that people in the same geographic vicinity all use   at the same location, on the
the same voting station. For the sake of ease, this section refers to the      same machine. Specifics vary
basic electoral unit as a precinct, though they sometimes go by other          by county; check with your local
names. The general concept of this section is to emphasize the                 County Board of Elections.
importance of neighbor-to-neighbor organizing and get grassroots groups
started on local efforts.                                                      A number of precincts often
                                                                               comprise larger administrative
Campaigns typically group the voters of each precinct together to predict      units such as wards, counties,
or influence voting behavior. Ideally, Party members working at the            state House and Senate
precinct level connect the precinct to state-level Party organizations. In     districts, and US Congressional
other structures, activists have been known to create their own network        districts.
to compliment, compete, or substitute for the Party.                           Though larger electoral districts
                                                                               tend to change every decade,
Precincts are not an arbitrary unit of division created by the campaign or     precincts generally remain the
a Party, but an administrative unit set by the county. Since precincts         same.
exist continuously, with or without any particular campaign working in
them, so should your organizing efforts.

Campaign Oriented vs. Community Oriented Organizing
Electoral campaigns organize precincts as part of their field plan. A campaign will organize a precinct in
ways that make sense for a temporary organization with a one-time specific numerical goal. Currently, most
precincts organized by a Democratic organization in this country are organized for short-term campaign
work. This is not the only way to organize a precinct. Precincts can also be organized along a community
oriented model. In these models the organizers are people who live in the precincts themselves and have a
more personal connection with their neighborhood. This kind of organizing lends itself to greater
sustainability through multiple election cycles.
                          Traits of campaign and community oriented models
    Traits of campaign oriented precinct organizing        Traits of community oriented precinct organizing
- Precincts activated from two to five months before    - Can sustain itself independent of the election cycle
an election.                                            - Greater control over organizing timeline
- Field organizers are often marginally familiar with   - Genuine relationships developed with voters:
the area.                                               credible, easily accessed.
- Unfamiliarity with precinct gives impression of       - Organized in-precinct by organizers intimately
impersonal, remote, or distant relationship to voter.   familiar with the precinct itself.
- Field organizers are often trained in electoral       - Volunteer activists: unpaid, limited time available,
organizing and are paid to dedicate many hours a        frequently untrained.
day to working for the precincts they are assigned.     - Typically resource poor.
- Allows for controlled, consistent messaging from      - Might be disconnected or poorly connected to
the campaign.                                           campaigns or Party organizations: off-message,
- Connected to and directed by larger organizations     duplicated work, voter confusion.
with material and staff resources.                      - Focused on long range community building.
- Focused on winning an election on a specific date.

Campaign Oriented vs. Community Oriented Organizing: Which is better?
Both models have advantages and disadvantages. To leverage the advantage of both models, activists and
Party organizations should utilize the traits of both. Ideally, a precinct organization is built from the ground
up by local activists and endorsed and supported by the state and county Party organization. When a
campaign is ready to contact voters, they utilize the existing precinct organizations to supplement their
direct voter contact work. This ideal scenario requires both the local Party and the local activists to work
together from the beginning to formulate local precinct plans.

Before anything else, local activists should check to see what precinct efforts already exist. The Party or
like-minded organizations might have something set up. Duplicating efforts might serve to confuse the
voter. Work with the existing efforts to improve them (if a precinct program exists and the voters don’t
know about, the program could probably use some help). If no precinct level organizing is taking place,
propose starting a precinct program to the local Party and get to work!

Strengths of Your Precinct Program:
A campaign’s uniquely limited resources shape it’s organizing in particular ways. Campaigns are not meant
to build a district’s democratic performance in the long-term, only take advantage of what performance
currently exists in the district at the time of the election. It does not usually make sense for a campaign to
spend resources registering new voters, developing strong relationships with the voter, engaging GOP-rich
areas, or preparing for anything past Election Day. An electoral campaign should be spending its resources
on people likely to vote and in targeted (swing and/or base) precincts.

Your precinct program has an interest in the sustaining performance of your precinct, has local knowledge
on the precinct’s voters, and has substantially more time to invest. Precinct organizations are not limited by
a campaign’s typical field organizing time frame (three to six months). Because of these advantages, a
precinct program can engage voters in all precincts.
           Priorities over the long term (continuous)       Priorities over the short term (campaign)
         - Maintaining an updated voter list              - Maintaining an updated voter list
         - Maintaining your activist base                 - Identifying and maximizing Absentee,
         - Identifying and engaging infrequent and        Early, and/or Vote-by-mail supporters.
         drop-off Democratic voters                       - Identifying, and persuading undecided
         - Finding and registering new Democratic         voters likely to vote.

This section brings together skills from other sections (activist recruitment, voter contact, etc) for use year -
round in our own neighborhood. Even if you do not work or volunteer on a specific campaign, you can
always work to maintain your precinct.

In a campaign setting, precincts are ranked in order of importance for
                                                                               Close elections are won or
targeting purposes. Base precincts are targeted for turnout. Swing
precincts are targeted for persuasion. And GOP precincts are ignored
                                                                                lost at the precinct level.
completely. This makes sense from a resource management                       In 1960, John F. Kennedy
standpoint for most campaigns. For your continuous precinct                   beat Richard Nixon by one
organizing strategy, you have a larger, long range view: Increase the         vote per precinct. One vote!
Democratic voter turnout cycle after cycle.
                                                                              This phenomenon becomes
The voter targeting section elsewhere in this manual discusses voter          more apparent in close local
targeting in a campaign environment. This section will discuss precinct       elections.
organizing for the long run.

Organizing Individual Precincts
Your precinct is the first piece of a precinct network in your county, your district, and your state. The goal is
simple: build a political community to increase Democratic voter performance.

Step One: Get to know the political landscape                                       Step–by–
                                                                                  A Step–by–step guide
The first step in organizing your precinct is to understand the precinct,     1. Know the landscape
and where the precinct fits into existing electoral organizations. Check      2. Recruitment
around and see what efforts have been made in the area. Duplicating           3. Planning and Management
efforts of another organization is not only frustrating for organizers        4. Be a resource
and volunteers, but confusing for the voter.
                                                                              5. Work it!
Know the Players: Developing a good relationship with state and county Party leaders is a priority for a
precinct organization. The Party’s County Chairs will have access to vital information such as the precinct’s
voter file, and potential activists in the area. Even with initially unenthusiastic or even resistant Party
officials, the county Party or local Precinct Committee person will see the power of your organizing by
seeing the results you produce. The first step is to sit down and meet with County Party or other Party
official. Having a good relationship with the county and state Parties will help campaigns plug into your
existing precinct work.
                                              Get to know your…
            - Existing Precinct Leaders                 - State House Representative
            - Ward or Area Leaders                      - State Senate Representative
            - County Party Chair,                       - City Councilor for the dist.
            - State Party Chair                         - School Board member for the dist
            - State Party Field Director/ Organizers    - Local judge of elections
            - Local campaigns’ field staff              - County Clerk
            - Community Leaders                         - County Board of Elections Officers
            . Local issue groups                        - Neighborhood associations

Know the Numbers: Your most important asset in organizing your precinct is the ‘voter file.’ The Party’s
voter file is more substantive than the publicly available voter roll kept by the County Board of Elections.
The previous section, Developing a Field Plan, indicated that different precincts may be targeted and
prioritized by campaigns in different ways depending on their Vote Share and Democratic Performance.
Knowing what kind of precinct you are organizing will help you set goals in a similar manner.

The number of registered voters is important insofar as letting organizers know what they will be working
with, but a truly effective electoral organization relies much more heavily on Democratic Performance,
Voter History, and a sustained Voter contact program to hit its goals. To do this, you must obtain voter file
data for your precinct.
                                              Numbers you need
          - Voter Registration numbers: Democrats, non-affiliateds, other Parties.
          - Voter Turnout: Similar election years, turnout for each office down the ballot
          - Democratic Performance Index: How many voters can you expect in an election?
          - Democratic Base and Persuasion: How many die-hards? How many persuadable?
          - Voter histories: Among your voters, how votes most often, and who doesn’t vote at all?

Know the Dates and Places: Just as with field planning, an organized precinct must have a timeline and
benchmarks. Keep track of the significant election calendar dates. Don’t forget Absentee/Vote-by-
Mail/Early voting registration, application, and submission deadlines. Consider both Primary and General

election schedules. Keep track of precinct voting locations and attempts to move the polling place. Every
precinct team member should have a map of the precinct with borders and polling location clearly marked.

Step Two: Initial Recruitment
After you’ve met with the local Party and/or any other local players, get started on recruitment right away.
You can not, and should not, do this alone. A precinct captain should create a precinct team and invest
these activists in the success of the precinct. Refer to the section of this manual, “Building An Activist
Base,” for an in-depth view on how to grow your organization and develop your activists.

First Tier: Relational. Remember to start close to home, literally, and cast a wide net around your
neighborhood. Call on your existing local network – people who would help you because they know you.
Known DFA and Party activists in your area are also a good first outreach. Elected officials and Party
activists might know a number of reliable activists in your neighborhood. As always, the best source of
volunteers is from other volunteers. Utilize other people personal networks.

Second Tier: Voter History. The bulk of your initial recruitment can be done using your voter file. You may
know nothing else about the people on your list, but you know the most important facts – their voting
frequency and how to contact them. Identify those voters who never fail to vote. People who have voted in
every election in the last four cycles are likely to take a great deal of pride in the fulfillment of their civic
duty. A good recruiter can appeal to this sense of civic pride. Also identify voter who have voted in any
recent Democratic Primary. These voters are passionate about the country, but also about their Party.
                   Name               Address         Phone      ’00   ’00   ’02   ’02   ’04   ’04
                                                                 Pri   Gen   Pri   Gen   Pri   Gen
                   Joe Black          121 main lane   555-1357     D     X     D     X     D     X

                   Rachel Sadler      125 main lane   555-2468          X                       X
                   Henry Armatage     137 main lane   555-1256    D     X                 D     X
                   Julia Silbergeld   139 main lane   555-3478          X           X           X
                   Laura Quayle       149 main lane   555-9865
                   Erin Dame          120 main lane   555-              X
                   Ilya Shayman       128 main lane   555-0921                      X     D     X
                   Ari                144 main lane   555-4567          X                       X

Third Tier: Public Displays of Affiliation. Wearing buttons is not enough. But it is a good way to see who is
passionate in the neighborhood. People with liberal bumper stickers, lawn signs, buttons, and other visible
displays of friendly politics. If this person is a stranger, work on becoming familiar. A knock on the door or a
sidewalk chat is a great way to create a neighborly bond.

                   Turning Volunteers Into Team Members: The Initial Precinct Meeting
One of the most powerful tools in neighbor-to-neighbor organizing is the House Meeting, or in this case, a
‘Precinct Meeting.’ This isn’t a meeting for folks to get together and commiserate or rant about politics. The
precinct leader rolls out a plan, explains how people can make an impact, and commits people to a role.

Potential activists are invited to a meeting at an activist’s house. The meeting starts out with some time to
get to know each other and connect, but it is important to get down to business quickly. The precinct leader
should briefly explain the value of precinct organizing, giving the context of the organizing project. This
includes a numerical breakdown of the precinct – how it has voted in the past, and how it can be organized
to vote differently in the future. The precinct leader works out a goal for the precinct (# of volunteers, # of
events, target for future Democratic performance, etc). The Precinct leader discusses the importance of
direct voter contact and layered communication as a strategy and lays out tactics used in the precinct (how
much canvassing, how much phone calling). A rough timeline with benchmarks should be rolled out.

At this point, many potential activists will be impressed, overwhelmed, or a combination of both. Make sure
the numbers and the plan are accessible to people who might not have a campaigning background, but do
not sacrifice the serious tone of the project. The Precinct Leader should break down the plan into small,

manageable chunks. The precinct-wide contact goal can be
                                                                    - The Precinct Captain: is responsible for
broken down block-by-block. Every potential role in the
                                                                    recruiting, training, motivating and
precinct is written out for people to see.
                                                                    coordinating team members. Holds team
                                                                    members accountable to goals.
Delegating tasks. It is easy enough to work out an impressive                 Captains
                                                                    - Block Captains: is responsible for voter
sounding plan, but the challenge is to get your team to             contact along a given block/area. Each
execute it. You’ll need to invest people in their own part of the   precinct activist should be assigned to a
plan. Because everything is quantified and broken down,             small area to call their own.
people can see the impact one person can make. Even in a            - Data Director: responsible for updating
group setting, it is important to commit people by asking them      and maintaining data from all voters
individually. Everyone at the meeting should be offered a           contacted. Block Captains report their
chance at being the captain of their and their neighboring          contacts to Data Director for tracking.
blocks or areas. Additional tasks for those who want to take        - Research Director: is responsible for
leadership positions should be laid out. Each person should         research on issues important to the
be asked, one-on-one at the meeting and for everyone to hear,       precinct. Should also assist the Data
“Can I count on you to take care of the voters in your block”       Director by looking up information
(or something similar). The Precinct Leader goes around the         missing from the precinct’s voter file
room, asking each person in turn, until each person has been        (wrong numbers, etc).
asked. Start with the strongest, most enthusiastic team             - Early Vote coordinator: responsible for
member – the first response will set the tone for each              encouraging, assisting, and keeping
subsequent ask.                                                     track of all absentee, vote-by-mail,
                                                                    and/or early voting in the precinct.
After people have been asked to take care of their block, you               captain:
                                                                    - Poll captain responsible for E-day poll
can ask the room as a whole for people to take on additional        watching, for obtaining election judge
responsibilities (see box for examples). Don’t worry if not all     certification, or building a relationship
the roles are filled, everyone on the team is responsible for       with the existing election judge.
recruiting more team members. The Precinct Captain should           - Social chair: responsible for BBQs,
expect attrition over time, so positions will need to be            social events, service opportunities, and
                                                                    visibility. Can also be responsible for
constantly filled.
                                                                    continued recruitment.
After roles are fulfilled, take a minute to celebrate your new team. Boost the energy level of the room.
Before concluding, the team should head right into the plan sketched out by the Precinct Captain. This will
be the precinct leader’s opportunity to get team members to work out and internalize their individual goals.
As a group, start filling in your timeline or calendar and determine an action item that can be taken and
completed in a week’s time. Determine the date of the first round of voter contact (identifying supporters)
and the first precinct Democratic social event. Keep the momentum of the first meeting going by making
sure to call and follow-up with each of your attendees within two days of the meeting.

          Recruiting:                      Pushes.
Always Be Recruiting: Additional Volunteer Pushes.
The initial precinct meeting is the culmination of the first recruitment push. Your precinct organization must
always be recruiting. The social chair, precinct captain, or other person should be in charge of making sure
the team is constantly growing. Recruitment must be one of the benchmarks to measure the success of
the organization.

Every now and then the initial precinct meeting should be replicated to give new volunteers a sense of
context. The team should evaluate progress toward benchmarks and celebrate successes. Different tactics
can be used to build up the names of potential activists in your neighborhood. Neighborly, social events
and community service projects are excellent ways to build a political community as well as build you
volunteer list. Precinct Democratic BBQs or similar events in the neighborhood can be a great first event.
Having your initial team invite their assigned Democratic voters is an easy contact for the team member
and a fun event for the voter. These social events serve as a community-building opportunity, a voter ID
opportunity, and a recruitment opportunity. Be sure to have a sign–in sheet for all attendees, and follow up
with all new attendees with a phone call or personal visit to plug them into a volunteer opportunity.

Step Three: Planning and Precinct Management
Refer to the section of this manual, “Building An Activist Base,” for        Precinct Captain Responsibilities:
an in-depth view on how to manage activists in your organization.            - Recruit
Also refer to the section, “Planning” for greater detail on developing       - Train
a plan for your precinct. Refer to the section, “Voter Targeting” to         - Motivate
see what kind of precinct you live in to predict how you will interact       - Coordinate
with campaigns once they establish themselves.

As with any campaign planning, your precinct plan                  Example Vote Goal for Precinct
should start with a goal and work backwards from         2002 Performance:       %               2006 Goals       %
there. The ultimate goal of the organization is to       143 Dem votes cast.     45.8 of votes   173 votes        52%
increase the number of Democratic votes cast in the      312 Total votes cast    40.5 turnout    332 expected     41%
                                                         771 registered voters   --              810 registered   --
precinct. Additional goals can include the number of
volunteers on the team, the number of social events
and service events, and so on.

Set your timelines and benchmarks as specifically as possible. If the precinct is in its activist recruitment
phase, how many activists is it looking to get by what times? If the precinct is identifying supporters, how
many households does the precinct team need identified, and by what time? If you know you need to
identify a certain amount of supporters, you should set monthly and weekly goals leading up to the election
weekend for the number of supporters you’ve identified.

Remember to consider your resources. If you live in an area where houses are spaced far apart or where
people are seldom home, then your team members will require more time to contact the precinct’s voters.
Understanding your phone and canvass rates is crucial to planning and setting expectations for your team

Good planning requires good data management. The precinct data manager should be tracking voters
contacted and volunteers recruited. For the voter contact operation, Block captains report to the data
manager and the data manager to the County Party so they can report it up to the State party. Figure out a
regular reporting system for your team. For example, you might decide that team members report into the
data manager twice a month on a certain date. As that date approaches the precinct manage checks in
with each team member to check in on progress. After that date the data manager call each team member
who has not reported in to see what happened in that area.

Just as recruitment is an ongoing process, so is developing the team you’ve recruited. The tone set by
precinct captain will determine the success of the precinct team. Celebrating successes and highlighting
those who’ve done good work are the key to any campaign organization. But your focus should also
alsways return the impact a small group of people can make in their own backyards. The Precinct Captain
is building a team, not merely recruiting volunteers. Ideally, you’ll work with these team members over a
period of many years. Keep the tone casual, friendly, and neighborly.

Encourage in your activists a sense of ownership over the program – this is their neighborhood. If you are
part of a larger precinct network, let your activists know from the start. People will feel more confident of
your plan knowing that others nearby are doing the same.

Utilize the leadership ladder (as described in “Building Your Activist Base”) to encourage your team
member to take on greater responsibility. You should have a plan for your best activists to take increasing
leadership. Meet with your best team members individually to reinforce their sense of ownership over the

Step Four: Make your presence known – be a resource
One of the greatest benefits of having a robust precinct program is building a local and personal
connection between your Party or organization and the voter themselves. Does your Party have a local
Party Headquarters in every single precinct? Probably not. Building a precinct program will serve that
function, literally bringing politics close to home for more people. Instead of being confused as to who or
what the Democratic Party is or what they stand for, your neighbors will have a resource easily available to
them. You are the local representative of the Party.

Modern campaigning has become more efficient, but runs the danger of becoming remote and impersonal.
Voters increasingly ignore strangers calling their homes, knocking on their doors, and sending them mail
before an election. It’s not that people ignore callers, knockers, and mail – they ignore strangers who do it.
This is the greatest strength of community-oriented precinct organizing – familiarity.

Relationship Building: Your Precinct’s Voters
If you’ve begun organizing your precinct well before the next election (as you should), your next task is build
up visibility and awareness for the organization letting your neighbors know they have a Democratic
resource easily available to them.

An easy and engaging project for your team early in the cycle is to invest your activists and build a sense of
community by creating a quick visibility campaign. Even though bumper stickers and lawn signs have a
negligible impact on voter persuasion and turnout, it can create a sense of community for those who share
a similar view. Get as many Democrats to post signs in their windows, cars, yards or wherever indicating
that they support a Democrat or that they support a particular issue. The Precinct Captain might display
something like “Precinct XY Democratic Headquarters” to indicate that the precinct program has arrived.
Other team members put up their own signs. The signs might be a generic Democratic or issue-oriented
sign or something specific to the precinct. This is a particularly encouraging project in areas with a large
Republican population because Democrats will realize that they are not alone in their neighborhood.

Team members can canvass every Democrat, Independent, or unaffiliated with an issue survey and/or with
an informational flyer listing all of the public officials representing the area and how to contact them. One
of these officials would include the Democratic Precinct Leader. Mail or deliver a sign to all registered
Democrats in the neighborhood and follow up to encourage them to display the signs. Your precinct team
members are establishing themselves as a resource of the voters. Voters will know that they can go to a
neighbor with questions about issues, registration, and voting.

Be sure to do an ID canvass to make sure you know who your Democratic supporters are. A voter’s
explicitly stated preference is more accurate than their listing on a voter file. This is why Voter ID and
Democratic Performance are more important than Democratic registration numbers.

Precinct Events – Casual, targeted precinct events are a high impact activity which will motivate your
activists and volunteers as well as engage ‘ordinary’ Democratic voters. These events can be ordinary,
such as a neighborhood BBQ in your backyard – except that all the attendees are neighborhood
Democrats. Especially in Republican dominated areas, this serves to build community among the precinct’s
registered Democrats. The event can be as conspicuous or inconspicuous as you feel appropriate for your
neighborhood, but the point is to start putting a local, familiar face on electoral organizing. The first events
do not need to have an explicit agenda except for a few key items:
                                   Democratic Precinct Event Guidelines:
       - Everyone should know how you got their name (publicly available registration).
       - Everyone should know that the event is a local precinct event – one of many to come.
       - Inclusively. The invite list is targeted to Registered Dems, but no one should feel alienated. No
         ‘litmus’ test for attendance, unless they’re just there to heckle.
       - Data collection. Always important. Have everyone sign a ‘guestbook’ with contact info.
       - You have a plan, let people know. Everyone is having fun at the event, but you’re also doing
         serious work and people are welcome to join.
       - Make an ask.                                                                                        99
       - Make your contact info available, and have basic materials on voting, registering, etc on hand.
Future events can be structured according to the needs of the precinct. These events can be entirely social
(i.e. neighborhood Democratic Bowling night), educational (political movie/DVD night), or volunteer-
oriented (precinct mailing night). Ideally, your events are a little of everything (for example, ‘Mailings and
Margaritas’ at Susie’s house).

The frequency of these events can vary from precinct to precinct. At a minimum have events once every
other month.

Relationship Building: Your Precinct Network
Just as your precinct team is a resource for your precinct’s voters, it is also a resource for the County
Democratic Party and for the other precinct teams in the area. If there is a network of Precinct Captains in
your area (county, ward, district, or other geographic area), be sure to get in contact with these activists.
Your County Democratic Party will have an idea of other activists organizing the area. These people can
provide experience and resources for your precinct team and likewise your precinct team might be able to
provide insights for them. It might be a good idea to meet regularly with these other activists once every
other month.

Regular contact with the County Party will also help the Party stay up to date with what is happening on the
ground in your area. The most basic form of contact is to send your updated voter file over to the Party on a
regular basis. In most states, campaigns rely on the state Party to provide them with the most up-to-date
voter lists. In practice the campaigns do not have fully accurate information, largely because such
information doesn’t exist or didn’t get passed on from one campaign cycle to the next. The continuously
organized precinct organization is the solution to this common problem. Your precinct sends its information
to the County Party, the County Party to the State Party, and the State Party to the campaigns running in
the state.

Inter-precinct events also help build a sense of community for your activists. Having a picnic with five or six
different precincts shows each team member how they are part of a larger effort. These events can also
show voters that the Democratic Party is not a foreign, distant, or faceless organization; instead the
Democratic Party is their neighbor.

Step Five: Work Your Precinct – Local, direct voter contact.
The greatest strength of community oriented precinct organizing is the very local and personal nature of
the work. As politics get larger and more impersonal, it becomes more important for activists to put a
familiar face to the issues which affect them and to do so year-round.

The bulk of your precinct organizing work will be direct voter contact. Everything else is just a prelude to the
real work of contacting potential voters and keeping track of these contacts. From the very beginning, your
precinct should have a plan with goals, strategies, tactics, timelines, and benchmarks. If you know that
your precinct cast 200 Democratic votes in the last similar election (2002), your precinct goal might be to
increase to 250 votes. If you have an entire year to work on this plan, this might be realistic. If you have
three months, you might have a harder time. Either way, your events and activities follow a plan and have a

On the most basic level, your precinct’s tactical plan is:
    1) Walk
    2) Phone
    3) Update
    4) Repeat

Finding New Votes – A continuous, neighbor to neighbor organizing program has the time and the local
knowledge to increase Democratic voter performance in a way no temporary campaign can afford to. As a
precinct level organization, your voter contact priorities can play to these strengths (for more on targeting
from an electoral campaign’s perspective, see the section in the manual on Drafting your Field Plan).

Absentee, Early Vote, and Vote By Mail – All electoral campaigns should have a solid plan for organizing
absentee, early vote, and vote by mail. Precinct organizations are a good place to distribute, explain, and
collect absentee and vote-by-mail ballots. The familiarity of having a neighbor explain an alternative
process will help add new advance voters to each precinct, freeing up resources on election day. If precinct
captains are working closely with the campaign and have been trained on advance balloting, precinct
volunteers might be a good way to reduce the costs of an advance ballot program.

Strategy and Tactics: Variations and Considerations – There are literally hundreds of thousands of basic
electoral districts in the country. The principle of neighbor-to-neighbor organizing is the same in all of them,
but more targeted tactics may vary greatly. Starting early and planning far into the future is the best way to
maximize available tactics. The gold standard is accomplishing direct contact with every supportive and
undecided voter multiple times.
                        Tactical Variation based on Precinct Characteristic
  Precinct Characteristic            Consequence                   Tactical consideration
High Retiree population           More likely to be home, sleep      Higher contact rate, cannot contact late
                                  earlier                            evening, can contact all afternoon.
High Student population           Less likely to be home, sleep      Low contact rate, can call/canvass late, can
                                  later, irregular schedule          call/canvass in the afternoon.
Rural                             Houses far apart, value face-to-   Canvass is higher impact, fewer canvass
                                  face contact                       contacts/hour. Supplement with phone
Urban                             Houses close together, less        Low contact rate, but many houses/hour.
                                  likely to be home                  Need multiple rounds of canvassing.
Ethnically/racially Homogenous    More        open    to similar     Use similar race/ethnicity to canvass.
Apartments/ Condos                Difficult to access                Find volunteer inside condo/ apartment to
                                                                     canvass. Supplement with phone.

(non-campaign, continuous phase)
Top Tier          Drop-
                  Drop-off and Infrequent Dems – This is an effective way to find more Democratic votes for
                  your elections over the long term. A great many Democratic voters are unreliable in mid-
Key principles:   year elections or for offices lower down the ballot. These are people who probably would
                  vote Democratic, but often stay home because they do not understand the importance of
1) Early
                  the election or office. In most districts the discrepancy between Presidential year turnout
2) Repeated
                  and Midterm turnout is large. Because these voters are already on your side, because
contact           there are many such voters, and because these voters are easy to locate, this can be your
                  most lucrative target to increase turnout. The better your relationship with Infrequent
                  Dems, the easily you can turn them into ‘always voters.’
Second            New registrants, new voters – Newly registered Democrats are always an exciting
                  prospect. It is important to remember, however, that a new registration is not a new voter.
Tier              If you are registering voters without any sort of follow up, consider that registration
                  wasted; that person will probably not vote. Make your neighborhood registration effort
Key principles:   meaningful with a good tracking system and a targeted follow up plan.
1) Thorough
                    Voter Registration Drives – Be smart about voter registration drives. Registration
                    canvasses can be effective in Democratic base precincts (65% or higher Dems), or in
2) Committed
                    targeted households (Dems tend to live together). Open registration at Supermarkets
                    and libraries can be risky because you might register more Republicans than
                    Democrats (conspicuous liberal or Democratic paraphernalia may mitigate this risk).
                    Students and Young Voters – It is important to note that students will turn out to vote if
                    they feel they have a stake in the election, and if the process of voting is not confusing.
                    Young people in the neighborhood should be targeted as soon as they turn 18. They
                    can be registered in college and at home, so be sure you know which location they are
                    voting. Young people should be recruited as precinct activists and given meaningful
                    responsibilities in the organization.
                    New Neighbors – The obvious sign of impending new neighbors are ‘For Sale/Sold’
                    signs. Keep an eye on apartments and fluid populations such as students and military
                    personnel. Your neighbor might not be political or might be a conservative Republican.
                    A precinct activist should greet the new neighbors shortly after arriving. A precinct
                    activist can help the neighbor move in or bring treats or some other apolitical
                    interaction. The best way to engage newcomers politically is to begin by chatting about
                    local issues to get a feel of where they lie on the political spectrum. If their political
                    views are friendly, help register to vote, show them the polling location, and let them
                    know about your precinct organization.
Third Tier        Independent, unaffiliated Voters – People who are not registered for a Party and claim to
                  “vote for the person, not the Party” still tend to vote for people predominantly of one Party.
Key principles:   Figure out which of these are yours and make a notation on your voter list. Finding
                  common ground (rather than points of contention) outside of an election cycle will put you
1) Think in the
                  in the strongest position as the election approaches. As always, make sure you are making
long term
                  the most of your opportunities with Democrats and new voters before spending resources
2) Think about
                  on this category. Precinct organizations are a good fit to spend time with this group
allocation        because of the time organizations have between elections.
Fourth Tier       Persuading the Opposition – Many activists feel a great satisfaction knowing they’ve
                  ‘converted’ a voter. Persuading a Republican to start voting Democratic is relatively
Key principles:   uncommon. From an organizing perspective, such persuasion is either a luxury or a last
1) Think about    resort. It requires a large commitment of resources for a small and unlikely return. You
resource          could spend the same amount of time elsewhere and make a greater impact.

   Power Mapping
Charting Strategic Relationships

                                         Power Mapping
                 A framework for problem solving through relationship building.
People interested and involved in promoting positive social change— through service, advocacy and other
vehicles—need to think about context and relationships within the spheres they work. Social change agents
need tools to access resources and to put their ideas into action. Power mapping gives participants a
theoretical framework and a set of tools to tap the power needed to make things happen. Power mapping
is particularly helpful in coalition building (with whom should we develop a relationship) and in citizen
lobbying (who can we use to influence this legislator).

The Goal is to visually map out relationships between people, organizations, and institutions in a given
context in order to understand the value of these relationships.

Warm-                 separation:
Warm-up: 6 Degrees of separation: Kevin Bacon.
This game assumes that every person in the world (or at least in Hollywood) is connected to every other
person by no more than six ‘degrees of separation.’ One person, who knows another person, who knows
another person, who, eventually leads you to your target – in this case, Kevin Bacon.

Here’s an example: How is Samuel L. Jackson connected to Kevin Bacon?
Samuel L. Jackson was in Pulp Fiction with John Travolta.
John Travolta was in Face Off with Nicolas Cage.
Nicolas Cage was in Honeymoon in Vegas with Sarah Jessica Parker.
Sarah Jessica Parker was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon.

               Samuel L Jackson
                                               John Travolta

                                                                                    Nicolas Cage

                                                 Sarah Jessica Parker

                  Kevin Bacon

Samuel L. Jackson connects to Kevin Bacon in through 4 people, or ‘degrees.’

Try another one with Kevin Bacon or any other actor. You may see that different groups manage to find
different pathways to the target.

Okay, that was fun…. Why is this important?
A power map reveals avenues of influence available to an organization. The method allows a group to see
how a particular target is influenced and to see connections between these influences. For example, you
might want your state legislature to sponsor a bill. Understanding the relationships your state legislature
has within his district can help you make your case. Your group might discover that one of the district’s
largest political donors has a stake in the issue your bill pertains to. You might even discover that your
group is connected to that legislator through another organization with whom you work. You can leverage
that donor (by lobbying) or that organization (through the relationship you already have) to help you make
the case to your target.

                                   How-      step-
                                   How-to: A step-by-step
                                  1)   Determine your target
                                  2)   Map influence of the target
                                  3)   Determine relational power lines
                                  4)   Target priority relationships
                                  5)   Make a plan

Step 1: Determine your target
A power map is a visual tool; it should be drawn. The map starts with a person or institution you want to
influence – this is your target. Power maps are often worked out for the purpose of solving a problem. The
person or institution who can solve this problem is usually the target for the map. Often the targets are
decision makers.

Example: Wal-mart is trying to build a giant new building in your community.

The AnyCity Zoning Commission is considering a
special rewrite of the town’s ordinances to                   No special laws for Wal-Mart Power map.
accommodate the giant new Wal-Mart. DFA-AnyCity
group opposes efforts to rewrite local laws to
accommodate Wal-Mart. The AnyCity Zoning
Commission has the final say over any changes to
the ordinance. Two members are opposed, two                                    Joe Smith
members are in favor. One member of the
Commission, Joe Smith, is undecided. DFA-AnyCity
has decided to influence Joe Smith to ensure he
votes the right way. The group is developing a
strategy to influence Commissioner Smith.

DFA-AnyCity’s power map target is Joe Smith.

Step 2: Map associations with the target(s)
Think of all the associations who have a relationship                                                      AnyCity
with this target. Think broadly. These can include             Wal-Mart            Pastor Bob            Birdwatchers
work, political, family, religious, and neighborhood
ties. Anyone who can exert influence on this
individual is mapped.                                                                           Mrs. Smith
                                                                               Joe Smith

Be creative. Even if you decide you do not want to
target, for example, the Commissioners family,                   Neighbor                   The Mayor
putting them up on the map might give you ideas on                John
other avenues of influence.
                                                                                Media                          Donors
Be strategic. Elected officials are easy to map. Look                                           Voters
at all the major donors and constituency groups. Do
some research.

Be Thorough. Spend some time thinking about Joe Smith from every different angle. Once you are satisfied,
start thinking about what these people and institutions are connected to. A good power map will have
major influences mapped out, outlining multiple degrees of separation.

Step 3: Determine relational power lines
Take a step back and review the network you’ve created. Some of these people and institutions not only
connect to Joe Smith, but also to each other. You might find that Joe Smith is a member of the local bird
watching group, but so are the mayor, Joe’s wife, and his pastor (go ahead and draw these lines in on the
figure above). The bird watching group connects many of the influences in Joe’s life. These connectors are
called “nodes of power” within a given network.

These nodes don’t always connect directly to the target. If Joe was not a member of birdwatching group,
but his wife, pastor, and mayor were members, the birdwatching group would still be a major influence on
Joe. Power mapping sometimes reveals surprises (who knew that a bird watching group could be so
politically strategic?).

Also, some of these networks may connect directly to you or your group. Maybe Joe Smith’s next door
neighbor is in your car pool.

Step 4: Target Priority relationships
Now analyze some of the connections and make some decisions. One way to do this is to circle the few
people that have the most relational power lines drawn to them (the bird watching group and the mayor).
Consider attempting to involve these people through your group’s current relationships. If no one in the
group has any influence over these nodes of power, it may be useful to do a power map around that
institution or person to help you figure out how you can influence them. Your power map will begin to
resemble a web. Don’t worry if it gets a little messy.

Another consideration might be a person or institution in the map that doesn’t necessarily have many
different relational lines running to him/her/it, but nonetheless has a few critical ones and seems very
influential. If you can identify a priority person/institution for which there isn’t a clear relationship, then you
might want to encourage the group to may be to go and find out more about this person/institution.

As you get used to power mapping, you can draw more complex maps. Many problems will have multiple
decision-makers, for example. You may start to draw the target’s most influential relationships closest in
proximity to the name in the physical map. You might use different colors to indicate whether the person or
institution is friendly to your position, unfriendly, or unknown.

Step 5: Make a Plan
The Power map itself is a first step in figuring out an advocacy organization’s strategies. After the map is
completed, it is used to decide how and where to take action. What might be possible strategies for DFA-

          In the example, two nodes of power present themselves as avenues of influence.

      1) Influence the Mayor
      - Lobby Day. Groups meet with the mayor.
      - Media campaign. LTEs, News conference, and a high visibility rally outside the mayor’s office.
      2) Coalition Building
      - Conservation groups sign on the Bird watching group onto an anti-walmart coalition.
      - Public awareness campaign on over-development and its dangers to birds.

Coalitions and Constituencies
    Working with Other Groups

                         Coalitions and Constituency Groups
What is a Coalition?
A coalition is a group of organizations working together       Types of coalitions
for a common purpose. These organizations may have             1. Working or Paper
different structures and diverging interests, but are          2. Permanent or Temporary
bound together by the common purpose. Coalitions are           3. Single or Multi-issue
about building power. The reason to spend the time             4. Geographically-based (national, local, ect)
and energy building a coalition is to amass the power          5. Constituency-based (women's, religious)
necessary to do something you cannot do through one

What is a Constituency Group?
An electoral constituency group is any group of people
bound by a common trait, interest, or affiliation in a given    Electoral Coalitions
district. A constituency group presumably votes generally       Endorsements might come in name only or
in the same way. Candidates have an interest in building        with money and people. These are
a relationship with these groups for the purpose of             accompanied with the expectation that once in
winning an election in which the group can help the             office, the elected official will act in the
candidate reach his/her vote goal. A constituency group         interest of the endorsing group. A campaign
may also have an interest in helping the candidate              will seek the support of many different
become an elected official. The constituent group can           constituency groups, and constituency groups
then hold accountable this official on issues that affects      will scrutinize many different candidates.
the constituency.

Evaluating the Need to Build a Coalition or Court a Constituency
Building bridges for the sake of building bridges wastes and organization’s resources and often leads to
misunderstanding between groups. Organizational relationships are built on the need to work together, by
a common purpose with a stated goal – not by the mere existence of the other group. Investing in these
relationships cost resources – people, time, and money. Often these relationships allow groups to make
the best use of their combined resources.
                                    Advantages and Disadvantages
                        Advantages                                        Disadvantages
       - Allows an organization or candidate to speak    - Lose a measure of control; Make too many
       credibly to more people.                          compromises
       - Increase the campaign or organization’s         - Distracts from other work, group and
       resources: more people, more money. Work          coalition politics, false expectations cost the
       done to achieve a common campaign goal.           coalition members.
       - Broaden scope and appeal of the candidate       - unforeseen political consequences, or
       or organization.                                  reactions from other groups

Candidates running for election should quickly become familiar with potential constituency groups.
Electoral campaigns can quickly determine the necessity of various constituency groups. Groups with a
large membership, influence, or pockets can be directly helpful. Organizations which represent a significant
portion of the vote goal can become critical allies of a campaign. If the vote goal for the campaign is 3500,
and the district has 1000 registered South Asian voters, then the candidate could take care of a large
portion of his/her vote goal by investing in a relationship with a local South Asian political group. The same
principle applies when targeting elected officials in advocating public policy. Citizen lobby efforts should
work to incorporate constituent organizations in their lobbying efforts.

                              Principles of a Successful Coalition
 1. Respect organizational interests and decision-making
 Each organization brings its own structure, values, culture, and decision making processes. They enter
 into a coalition relationship for their own sake. Understanding what brings the organizations to work
 together is an important part of making that relationship work. Different values and decision-making
 processes will lead organizations to respond differently throughout a campaign. From the beginning
 organizations may have some areas of disagreement. If these areas are acknowledged and respected,
 the coalition’s common purpose will guide the relationship, not the differences.

 2. Set Realistic Expectations
 Contributions from different groups may vary widely. Groups may have different strengths and
 weaknesses. Groups should be targeted for relationships based on what strengths a group brings to the
 table (and also what challenges the group will bring). Work with group leaders to maximize their potential
 contributions throughout the campaign. Be explicit with the roles and responsibilities of the partnership.
 What are the shared resources of the partnership - cost sharing, list sharing, a shared timeline with
 benchmarks? The coalition should determine how decisions are made for the group.

 3. Distribute Recognition Where Due
 Each group has a reason to get involved with the campaign. Acknowledging this reason will help the
 organization distribute credit. For advocacy groups this may done by sharing contacts, relationships, and
 media exposure. For electoral campaigns, this could be recognition of the constituency group’s issues
 and importance in exchange for a public endorsement.

                 Getting Started: Step by Step Relationship Building
1) Evaluate the proposed relationship                                          Legally Permissible?
Go into the relationship with a specific purpose and a plan. If the            Check to see if your group’s
initiating organization cannot articulate a reason, the other organization     legal structure allows for
will not find a reason to be receptive. “We want to see more of you            coordination with your target.
people” is not a good reason, for example.

2) Do Your Homework
Develop a list of key contacts within the organizations with whom your groups wish to partner. Research
the target group: its issues, its past positions, its involvement in politics. Resources and literature available
from the group will show you some of the group’s priorities. Ask public officials close to your group about
the target group. For electoral campaigns, it will be useful to know how much a portion of your vote goal
this group could tackle for you. Be careful not to mistake constituency groups as representing a monolithic
bloc of voters, however.

3) Cultivate Community Leaders
Understanding whom to contact can be a small challenge. When dealing with unfamiliar communities it is
not uncommon to miss important dynamics like infighting or competing organizations. Arrange a personal
meeting with the appropriate leadership of the target group. Relationship building requires a good coalition
builder to listen more than to speak or demand. Make an effort to listen to the community leaders before
asserting a new agenda. Be sure to sort out any existing problems or misunderstandings before or at the
beginning of the meeting. This assures the leaders that they are an important aspect of the coalition or
campaign. Ideally, the candidate or organization is involved in working on the same issues. Never go into a
situation to tell a community what’s best for them, but find areas of agreement, invest the target group in
the solution, and involve the target organization in the group.

4) Recognition
As your groups work together, plan to share credit. Understanding the motivations for each group can be
helpful in building the relationship. If one group seeks to benefit from media attention, for example, their
group should get a mention in media hits, if possible. In electoral campaigns, recognition from a candidate
comes in the form of standing up for particular issues of interest to the constituency and access to that
candidate after taking office. In return, constituent organizations lend their name and resources over to the

5) Establish a Structure for Continued Dialogue
Each group should know the progress of the others toward a goal. Establish quantifiable goals and set
benchmarks. Be specific. Numbers. Dates. Work together. Don’t just ask how their canvass went, go
canvass with the group in the group’s neighborhood. After the completion of the goal, the groups should
continue to network after the campaign time is done.

                  DFA CASE Study: Fair Share for Health Care
In 2005, the Maryland legislature passed a bill requiring companies with more than 10,000 employees in
the state to pay their fair share for health care. The law required companies to either spend 8% of their
payroll on health benefits or contribute to the state's health insurance program for the poor. In practice, the
bill only affected Wal-Mart, because the other qualifying employers (Northrop Grumman, Giant Foods and
Johns Hopkins) already meet the law's guidelines.

Unfortunately, Maryland's Republican governor vetoed the bill in 2005. So the legislature would have to
override the veto for it to become law. As the 2005 legislative session approached, DFA worked closely
with labor groups, such as SEIU and UFCW, and grassroots groups, such as Maryland for Health Care,
WakeUp Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart Watch, to develop a campaign to persuade undecided legislators to
support the override vote. The labor groups brought a strong set of institutional knowledge in the state.
DFA and other grassroots groups brought a committed set of activists who were to pressure legislators.

We worked with our coalition partners to developed tailored communications for DFA members. We also
developed a list of undecided legislators where we should focus member outreach. This information
enabled DFA to develop a broad campaign asking DFA members across the state to contact their
legislators, while simultaneously executing a more targeted campaign to put heightened pressured on
undecided legislators. Dozens of DFA members from around the state called their legislators to ask them
to support the override vote. The labor groups supplemented this grassroots tactic with radio
advertisements in targeted districts.

The culmination of the campaign was a high visibility rally in Annapolis on the first day of the legislative
session to show support for the override vote. No one coalition group could have developed sufficient
grassroots pressure on their own. But working together, we mobilized hundreds of people and swayed
several key legislators.

In the end, Wal-Mart pulled out the big guns. They hired the biggest cadre of lobbyists in recent history to
try to influence the legislation. But the coalition showed that good 'ol fashioned shoe leather can overcome
the special interests.

Ultimately, the Fair Share Health Care Act received two thirds majorities in both houses of the Maryland
Legislature. It is the first successful Fair Share legislation in the country. This campaign provides a model
for success in other states by demonstrating that a coalition of labor and grassroots groups can overcome
lobbyist influence.

Holding Public Officials

                      Every Day Is a Good Day for Democracy
Too often people think of politics as something that happens one day every two or four years. Activists work
hard to elect socially progressive, fiscally responsible government. Our leaders need to know that we can
give them support – or pressure – on any given day. Even the best public officials need their constituent’s
support and pressure to help them make the right decisions. If the grassroots do not engage elected
officials, somebody else will – and that’s the scary part.
With the right training and a little practice, you can talk to your elected officials any time and hold them
accountable to how they vote on issues you care about. Your opinion should matter as much to them in an
off-year as it does on Election Day. Remember, public officials work for you!
The Citizen Lobbyist vs. the Paid lobbyist.
You don’t need to be a high-powered, big name, professional lobbyist to make an impact. It is to your
advantage that you are ‘just your average voter’ in their district. By virtue of being a constituent (or by
mobilizing constituents) you have a level of credibility that professional firms do not. No elected official can
survive with a reputation for ignoring his/her constituents.
Goals of a citizen lobby visit
    1. Familiarity. Elected officials need to see the human face of the issues. The citizen lobbyist is that
       face. Getting to know the legislator makes them more likely to meet with you in the future.
    2. Press them to vote right on issues important to bettering society.
    3. Make them accountable for votes they have made already.

                    Principles                                                Pitfalls
 1) Speak from the heart.                               1) Going on too long
  - Tell your story. It will be the truest, most        - Keep your story powerful by keeping it short.
 passionate thing the elected official hears all day.   Practice telling your story in 2 minutes so that the
 It is also the easiest for you to remember.            legislator stays focused on your message.
 2) Use the facts                                       2) Laundry lists and irrelevant details
 - A small number (2-3) compelling facts will help      - A few facts are great, a laundry list is a bore. Only
 you make your case. Make sure the facts have a         throw a few facts at a legislator in one meeting,
 credible source (i.e. not a random blog                even if you know more. Other facts and info can be
 comment). Use statistics in your story if you can      left with the legislator in the form of handouts.
 bring a human face to the numbers. Keep the            - National or state wide facts simply don’t have the
 facts local or discuss the local implications.         weight of detailed local impact.
 3) Ask for one simple thing and stay focused.                         run-
                                                        3) Getting the run-around
 - Never leave without asking your public official to   - Legislators will not want to commit to voting for or
 do something (e.g. vote for or against a bill).        against a bill after one meeting. This is OK. They
 Whatever you need the legislator to do, make           might want to read the bill or get more information
 sure the request is clear and that you understand      before deciding, but you should make sure to set
 the response.                                          up a follow up plan to get an answer from them. If
 - Lobbying for only one issue/action at a time will    they need to read the bill first: “That’s great. When
 keep you focused and leave little room for the         can I follow up after you’ve read the bill?” Clarify
 public official to evade a commitment.                 non-specific commitments.
 4) Prepare for the meeting                             4) Unprofessional
 - The public official’s job is to know the issues at   - Every meeting with a public official should be
 hand. Citizen lobbyists come in to add to that         considered an event worthy of forethought and
 official’s knowledge and to ask for a specific         preparation. The citizen lobbyist competes for the
 commitment. Know the official’s priorities,            attention of their public official with other lobbyists.
 record, and major supporters. Know the local           Coming in prepared and organized will go a long
 impact and costs of the issue.                         way to impress the official

                                           Know the Target
A significant component of lobbying is knowing whom to target and knowing about that target. Discussed in
more detail in another section of this manual, Power Mapping, you can map out who has influence over an
issue, and who has influence over that decision maker.

The first critical step in pressuring public officials is finding out which official actually has the power to do
what is needed. Most of the time, this is a simple matter of paying attention. Public officials, especially
elected officials, will be very public on the matters people care about. When unsure of who can do what,
just ask. The Secretary of State, county officials, and any elected officials will be forthcoming over what lies
in their purview. Even if this initial research seems at first fruitless or redundant, it is an investment in time
worth making. No one wants to meet with an official who simply cannot address the issue at hand.

Second, research your target. Who is important to the public official? To whom is s/he accountable? Does
the official receive contributions, and if so, from whom? Who are the major employers and institutions in
the district and would they be affected by your position? You are looking for the major influences already
affecting this official. Ideally, you can get these influences to work with you.

                                            Know the Issue
For your public official to take you seriously, the citizen lobbyist needs to know at least as much about the
issue as the target does. Background research into the stakeholders on both sides of the issue will help
the citizen lobbyist understand the other forces acting on the public official. Come prepared to discuss the
history of that issue in legislature. At all times, discuss the local impact of the issue. If the issue is a
national or statewide issue, discuss how the issue directly affects the district which the public official
represents. Obviously, only say what you know. A white lie or an exaggeration of the facts can rapidly
damage a group’s reputation.

                                          Know the Solution
Come prepared with a solution the target can enact. Your ask should
be specific and direct. The more specific the solution, the better. For         If at first…
example, instead of asking a legislator to write a bill for you, write it for   It is unlikely that one meeting
them and ask the legislator to introduce it. The legislator will want to        with a public official will
edit the bill, so be prepared to work with him/her on it. If the solution       completely      persuade     that
is a vote on a pending bill, be prepared to discuss the specific merits         official to adopt a given stance.
or flaws of that bill as well as current sponsors and supporters. Every         Following up and scheduling
meeting should have one person asking the “pin-down” question.                  subsequent meetings is a good
                                                                                way to keep up the pressure.
Many elected officials will have staff who handle specific issue areas.
As a group lobbies on a particular issue, this staffer becomes a key
contact within that office. Often, a group will meet with the staffer           Follow up. Follow Through.
instead of the elected official. For grassroots groups, this is not             Send a thank-you note to the
unusual. The staffer can provide more in-depth insight on the issue             legislator memorializing the
and where it stands politically. In the end, staffers rarely make a             commitments you extracted in
commitment on the elected official’s behalf.                                    the meeting. Follow-up after an
                                                                                appropriate interval to find out
Treat every staffer with the same respect you would with the elected            if your legislator did what s/he
official. After developing a relationship with the elected official’s office,   committed to do. It’s also
the group will find it easier to eventually meet with the elected official.     important for you to follow
Eventually, the organization’s working relationship may include                 through on commitments that
multiple contacts within the office. Meeting with the official’s staffer is     you’ve made.
the first of many relationships.

        Incorporating Citizen Lobbying In Your Groups’ Strategy:
1. Strength In Numbers.
When a person meets with a legislator, it has an effect. When a group meets with a legislator, this effect
increases exponentially. You are no longer a gadfly, but a concerned group of citizens calling on their
elected representative. Let the official know that the individuals with whom s/he is meeting are part of a
citizen group and show your public official that the group represents and important, informed, and
influential constituency. The constituent meeting is an excellent way to build your group’s credibility.
Recruiting constituents – The composition of the citizen lobbyists meeting with the elected official is
important. If the lobbying organization meets with an elected official, but can not bring any of that official’s
actual constituents to the meeting, it indicates that the groups does not have much of a presence in the
district Be sure to bring constituents to the meeting. If you do not have many constituents, start recruiting!
    • Internal lists/ external networking – Figure out who in your group lives in which districts. Collect
         each member’s zip (preferably zip+4) or each members’ precinct number (information you should
         have anyway). This will be useful for lobbying and for campaigns. Ask other groups who have a
         stake in the issue if they would like to join you, and find out who among them would make good
         advocates. Having many groups shows the targeted official how powerful your group is and how
         important the issue is.
    • Door and phone canvass – Knock on every door in the district and see who cares about the issue. A
         coordinated canvass may take a lot of time, but you will almost certainly find the people who you
         need. If your target legislator asks you how you all know each other, let them know. A phonebank
         through the district is a less time intensive way to contact a number of people. The success rate for
         this kind of blanket phone canvass will be lower than the door canvass. Either canvassing method
         can be effective, not only at educating and engaging the district, but also at generating additional
         pressure on the official.
2. Focus the Group’s Message
This is especially important if the constituents at the meeting don’t already know each other or are not
from the same group. Have a meeting beforehand so that everyone is clear on the message and the task at
hand. Make sure everyone involved understands all the principles and pitfalls of citizen lobbying.

3. Roleplay the Constituent Meeting Beforehand
This is a must. Everyone involved in the meeting needs to meet each other and have an explicit
understanding of their role and the group’s message. Determine who will speak and when. Go through
expected questions and responses, anticipate roadblocks, and get familiar with the overall feel you want
your meeting to have. If it begins to feel a little choreographed, that’s fine.

Coordinate: Communications, Field, and Political.
In any good, professional advocacy organization, your components work seamlessly together and in
support of each other. The same is true of grassroots efforts.
Before a scheduled legislative meeting is to take place, the group’s communications team could plan a
barrage of letters to the editor published right before the meeting. Having a full article highlighting your
issue in the major media outlets is even more potent. If you have difficulty scheduling the meeting, these
‘spontaneous’ LTE and media hits can be used beforehand to build pressure on the target. Mentioning your
targeted official(s) by name in your media will get their attention.
The group’s grassroots activists can also organize Call-ins and Letter-writing campaigns preceding the
meeting. Once the public official sees your issue as something that engages her/his constituents, they will
become more receptive to proposed solutions.
Whether this coordination comes off as orchestrated or spontaneous doesn’t matter much to your public
official. Either they’re responding to the needs of their constituents or responding to a group effective at
mobilizing their constituents.

Possible Tactics to Increase Pressure
Generally, the more personal the contact, the better the response.
Direct Contact Tactics:
    • Meetings (either in-district or at the capitol) are most effective.
    • Personal letters can make an impact when more than a few on the same subject arrive in the
    • Phone calls have an effect in large numbers at critical times.
    • Form letters/faxes and paper petitions can demonstrate broad support/opposition on key issues
        when the constituent response is extremely high.
    • Email petitions are the weakest tactic. These are notable only with the response is dramatically
        high (organizations use this more to mobilize their members than influence a decision-maker).
Indirect Contact tactics: Sometimes you want to pressure your elected official in less direct, more public
ways. Mentioning the legislator’s name in an LTE or other media hit will get their attention. Tying your issue
to their name, “Clean water is an important issue for this country and State Senator X needs to support our
community by keeping our water safe,” will raise the profile of your issue in their office. Some ideas:
    • Issue-based LTE campaign.
    • “Open Letter to our public officials” as an Op-ed in the major papers.
    • Issue-based signage placed where official can see (near home, work, target’s children’s schools,
         target’s neighborhood grocery store, etc.).
    • Town Hall meeting where target receives an invitation.
    • Direct contact with target’s major donors and institutional supporters.

Tips For Lobbying
1. Identify everyone in the room. It is important for the legislator to know exactly who you represent, where
your organization is based and how many members your group has. Be sure to point out which advocates
are constituents of the legislator. Legislators and their staff love when you wear name tags.
2. Briefing materials should be just that – brief. Legislative staff only skim through thick packets of
information. Legislators will read a well-assembled 1-page fact sheet, usually not much more.
3. Anticipate the arguments of your opponent It is better to address your opponent’s arguments early in
the dialogue It is better to address your opponent’s arguments early in the dialogue. Do so directly and
openly, without a hint of defensiveness.

                                   How To (a sample agenda)
1.    Introductions: make sure you get everyone’s name, and where they’re from.
        - Legislators will want to know that they’re only talking to their own constituents. Bringing too
            many outsiders shows lack of support.
2.    Agenda and time check
        - Go over the agenda so everyone knows what’s coming.
        - Your time is valuable, so is your legislator’s. You should set a length of time for your meeting
            and stick to it.
3.    Your story, your neighborhoods’ story
        - Short but powerful.
4.    Deliver your facts and ask for one simple thing.
5.    Ask for questions.
        - Your Legislator will ask questions. This shows that s/he has been listening, and that you know
            what you are talking about.
6.    Set up a follow up time.
        - If you can’t nail down a commitment from your legislator on your first ask, establish a solid,
            specific follow-up plan, and then actually follow-up.

Online Organizing
  Effective Strategy in the
Newest Frontier in Organizing

                      A New Chapter of American Political History
Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic Nomination for President revolutionized the role of websites,
blogs, email, and the internet in political campaigns. Organizations such as Democracy For America and and blogs such as MyDD and DailyKos became significant political players in the 2004
election cycle. Of all political skills, online organizing is the newest and most uncharted. What we think we
know about online organizing changes frequently.
The internet is not a revolution in itself, but instead a tool used to revolutionize existing campaigns and
organizations. Internet strategies must be integrated into existing organizational/campaign strategies. In
combination with a strong offline strategy, effective online organizing can help build your organization’s
membership, increase your visibility, recruit volunteers for events, and potentially raise money.

                       Basic Goals of Effective Online Organizing
   •   Build your membership list. The paramount goal of any online strategy is to grow your list.
       Constant growth is important because lists shrink over time. Small lists limit your ability to achieve
       any of your online organizing objectives.

   •   Spread your campaign message. Effective use of emails, websites, and blogs can be a great way
       to propagate your campaign message to key activists that will continue to spread the message
       offline. Each of your organization’s emails should reinforce your overall theme and message.

   •   Increase activism and raise money. Over time, online organizing is a valuable tool to increase
       the activism of your members and supporters. You can use your website and email list to organize
       offline events, raise money, and mobilize your supporters. Your activists need to feel like the
       organization gives them opportunities to interact and participate.

   •   Build community. Online organizing should many levels of interaction – between the organization
       and the activist and between activists and each other. Online organizing is a great way to deepen
       your organization’s membership and build community among your members. Over time, this will
       make them more likely to take action and give money to support your organization.

                       Ideal Growth Process of your Online/Offline Activists

Your list starts out as just that – a list. A series of individuals connected to the campaign liked spoked
wheel. The organization grows and expands this list by garnering media coverage and referrals from
existing members. Activists connect to the campaign through email, blogs and your website.
As your list grows, so too should the activity of your members. Your blog, your website, and most
importantly your offline actions allow activists to connect with each other. Offline activism, especially,
creates community. Connections develop not only with the campaign, but also among activists themselves.
These connections are then reinforced through online communications such as the organization’s blog and
email campaigns – which, in turn, lead to more actions, and so on. The spoked wheel begins to resemble a
thick web.

             Major Online Strategies: Emails, Websites, and Blogging
Organizing a Successful Email Campaign
Successful emails campaigns will grow your organization, spread your message, increase activism, and build
your online community. Your email list grows primarily from two different sources: referrals from others and
campaign media exposure. Referrals include links via emails from friends, family, or other organizations.
Media exposure which generates a buzz and includes the campaign or organization’s website can lead to
people finding out and signing up. Otherwise statistics show that very few people enter through the "front
door" of a website, or just from surfing from another page.

Two kinds of email campaigns:
    1) Reactive campaigns leverage existing media attention to build community by reacting to current
    2) Proactive campaigns focus on building a new, positive message to generate media attention and
         motivate your email list.
Reactive campaigns, responding to attacks, following up on yesterday’s media event, etc., are typically
easier. This is because the media is more likely to pick up on them, and because people are more likely to
pay attention to them. An organization should always be prepared to go with reactive campaigns with easy-
to-set up petitions in order to respond when needed. Even if an unpredictable reactive opportunity arises, a
slightly sloppy reactive campaign can be more effective than a perfectly polished proactive campaign.
Reactive campaigns rely on the feeling of the moment. If that moment passes, the strength of the
campaign diminishes.

Proactive campaigns more difficult than reactive campaigns. In proactive campaigns, the only audience
the campaign reaches – at first – is the people already on your email list. The media has not yet picked up
on your campaign. Ideally, a proactive campaign bubbles up and shapes the media.
Either way, your campaign needs to address an issue people care about. As with any good message, an
email campaign’s message is both value-based and tied to a pressing issue. We don’t just abhor Tom
Delay, but we abhor dishonesty and corruption in our capitol.

       Basic email campaign checklist                            Sample Email Schedule:
 What is your campaign goal:                          Week 1:
 ______________________________________                  o Monday: Launch Petition Drive - to entire list
 What is the moral purpose behind the goal:              o Wednesday: Petition Drive Follow-up - to
 ______________________________________                      entire list (segment signers)
 Who will care:                                       Week 2:
 ______________________________________                  o Monday: Fundraiser - to entire list
 Timeline for campaign:                                  o Thursday: Follow-up - to petition signers
 ______________________________________               Week 3:
 If a petition, directed at:                             o Tuesday: Alert about local event - to activists
                                                         o Thursday: Write a letter to the editor about
                                                             issue x – to entire list
 URL for campaign:
                                                      Week 4
 ______________________________________                  o Monday: Fundraiser – to entire list
       Logo, links created (sent out to bloggers)        o Wednesday: Alert about local event – to
       Email drafted                                         activists
       Site designed (can be simple, but needs
       several opportunities for people to sign up.

Distribution Channels
A campaign or organization must regularly send information about its activities its supporters interested in
the subject. For example, a healthcare petition should be targeted to healthcare advocacy groups and
activists. These people will forward the petition and grow your list for you. Post the petition on relevant
blogs. A blog-release can be a great way to get the word out about your campaign to progressive bloggers.
You may also want to do a conference call with key bloggers.

The biggest predictor of success in most internet campaigns is still whether it gets picked up by the
mainstream media. The reach of mainstream media is much wider than any local organization or blog.,
media attention can cause your petition to take off. Feature the online action website (where one can sign
the petition) on every traditional or non-traditional media hit. Recruit radio and television personalities to
promote the petition (See the Communications section in this manual for more on getting your story out).
Pitching the story as innovative and new works well for internet/technology related stories. A campaign or
organization should include blogs and reporters on the technology beat in their media lists.

Helping Activists Feel Active
Your email campaigns should feel like campaigns – they should have an objective. Each email in the
campaign asks the recipient to take action. Ideally, the email campaign follows up on this action either by
posting follow-up actions or by celebrating a victory (and taking more action). This ensures the activist does
not feel as though his/her online action has gone into some impersonal electronic abyss.

                                          Email Campaigns
Develop an overall strategy to grow your list. All e-mail lists shrink over time unless the organization
actively takes steps to attract new members. Use both offline and online methods to grow your list. For
instance, tabling can be an effective way to sign up new people offline. On the Internet, petition drives and
online advertising can help you attract new members. Please note that many existing lists could be subject
to proprietary claims, property rights, or even election laws, so it’s highly recommended that you grow your
list through new sign ups. Some effective list growth tactics are:
                o Petition drives
                o Online votes
                o Online advertising
                o Offline events
                o Earned media that includes your web-link

           e-                       organization.
Develop an e-mail calendar for your organization. The calendar should provide enough flexibility to
enable your group to act on unplanned events as they arise. Generally, you don’t want to send emails two
days in a row. However, if you’re engaged in a successful campaign, don’t be afraid to send several emails
over the course of a week. An organization’s lists are its most valuable assets. An email calendar prevents
the group from squandering these lists by sending out superfluous and disjointed emails.

Develop a clear unsubscribe process and privacy policy. If you are using or collecting data, your group
has an obligation to post and adhere to a privacy policy. The privacy policy should describe how you will use
personal information and how people can unsubscribe from your list. The policy should be publicly
available on your Web site. Democracy for America’s privacy policy is available at:

Develop a voice for each sender. Write your e-mails in a casual, personal tone, and send them from a
specific person. Never put an amorphous organization name in the "from" line. A good rule of thumb is to
imagine writing the e-mail to a particular person rather than the entire list. The most effective emails are
likely to be from either the candidate or the organization’s leader. Vary the authors/voices and save your
most effective voice for really important emails that you want to make sure your members to open. Each
sender is a character; develop a personality. Think of each email as a conversation and each email
campaign as a way to develop a relationship with an individual.

                                Hitting ‘Send’: When and Who
Targeting and Segments. Divide members of your list by activity level, interest, and/or geography.
Consider sending different e-mails to your strong volunteers than you would send to your general
membership. This will require a robust database that enables you to segment your list and track the
interests and geographic breakdown of your membership.

Staying Relevant and Timely. Relate to something in TODAY’s news or popular culture. The most
effective campaigns are synergistic with current events. At the same time, make sure your emails are on
issues which the audience will care about. It’s better to wait a few days for a timely email than send
something you don’t genuinely care about.

Timing. One of the major factors which govern if recipients open the email and follow through with the
requested action, is the day and time the email arrives. You want your e-mail to arrive at a time when
people are paying attention to their e-mail. Most people don’t check e-mail very frequently over the
weekend or in the evening. You will get the strongest results if you send e-mails early in the week during
normal business hours, preferably in the morning.

Addressing and Responding. Without fail, every email sent by the campaign should sound as if it is sent
directly and personally to that one person. It should never sound like a newsletter; It should never address
a crowd or a list. It should only address one recipient. Although it becomes more difficult as the list grows
larger, have someone respond to people who reply to your email, possibly with prepared responses. This
develops the relationship between the organization and the activist.

                                      Writing your message
Use a strong subject line. Whether someone opens your e-mails will largely be determined by the subject
line. We have received the best results with action-oriented subject lines that are less than 50 characters
in length. For example, “Come help” is not as strong as “John Kerry Needs Your Help this Saturday.”

Give content precedence over form. In general, graphics do not make much difference unless they serve a
specific purpose (e.g. a contribute button, photo, or image summarizing the message). Graphic-intensive
emails only serve to make the email distant and impersonal. Emails which look those sent from a friend or
peer work better than those which look glossy and produced. Graphic images also trigger many email
programs to send the email to the spambox.

Make the emails interesting. Each email should be interesting and tell a story. Remember to use humor
and vary your sentences. If all your sentences are the same length, it’s a big sign that something is wrong.
In some emails, humor may not be appropriate. But if you can’t be funny, be playful.

Use action language. Do not use passive language in your emails. Instead of saying, "If you have time, it
would be great if you could…", you should say, "Write a letter to the editor today"

Ask for something specific in each email and avoid a newsletter format. Many groups use a newsletter
format listing many upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. While this format may work well for
some groups, in most cases you will get a stronger response by simplifying the email and focusing on one
or two priorities. The email should make a strong "ask" for these priorities and be very clear about how
volunteers can get involved in them.

Email timeline and approval process. It should generally take no longer than 24 hours to draft an email and
move it through your organization’s approval process. If your email process takes longer than 24 hours,
you are likely to be miss out on timely events and be unable to take advantage of good list building and
fundraising opportunities. The only way to turn an email around this quickly is to ensure that senior
members of your organization are actively involved in the email process.

                                       Formatting your email
Email format. The most effective emails link early and often. The most common format is:
               o Paragraph
               o Paragraph
               o Link
               o Paragraph
               o Link
               o Signature
               o PS

Include Hyperlinks. Make sure that you spell out your links. Studies show that people are more likely to
click through if they can see the whole link (e.g.,

Post-Email Process
Evaluate your email strategy based on data. At the end of the day, you need good data to evaluate
your strategy. You should use open rates, click-through rates, action rates, and qualitative responses from
your list responses to guide your strategy.

Benchmarks. A well maintained and effective email list can expect the following metrics:
           Open rate: 20-35%
           Click-through rate: 2-10%
           Action rate: 1-10%

                        Zephyr Teachout’s Tips and Best Practices for emails
During Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic Nomination, Zephyr Teachout organized the campaign’s pioneering
                                   online community. Here’s what she learned:

  o   Aim for the amazing. Draft drunk, edit sober. Shoot for the moon, and if some fall flat, sobeit.
  o   Tell a story! Each email is a short story with a moral. And it’s a poem. People like stories and poems and
      songs – they like DJ’s – you’re the DJ for this effort.
  o   Use your senses. Images always! Plunge people into a world. This is a TV era. Think in images.
  o   Read your emails out loud to someone before sending them. Reading out loud will force the cadence.
  o   Experiment! Be willing to try new stuff, and fail – again – it’s a relationship, push the limits.
  o   Involve a short term narrative (i.e., a 5 email series in which something from the last email is always
      engaged – this is a serial publication, and connections from email to email, storytelling over time, is one of
      your strongest suits for establishing connection).
  o   Imagine yourself writing TO someone at all times. Never address a crowd – address a member of the crowd.
      If you wouldn’t send this email to a friend, why not?
  o   Have one purpose to each email, and repeat it. Don’t include multiple purposes except in extraordinary
  o   The title is key. Experiment. Include action in the title. Limit the subject line to 50 characters or less.
  o   Length doesn’t matter – should fit the purpose of the email.. That said, when in doubt, be very short.
  o   Use short punchy paragraphs.
  o   Link early and often. (the same link over and over. In this way it is like a poem or song with a refrain).
  o   Write 7th grade reading if you can – people read fast online, and it will improve your writing (less abstract,
      more concrete, fewer clauses).

                         Technology Options for Sending Emails
It is important to find the tool that suits the list’s needs. Large lists require much different tools than
smaller lists. A good tool should enable you to send a multi-part email with both html and text content. It
will also enable you analyze the effectiveness of your email by tracking open rates, click-through rates, and
other metrics.

           Lists with fewer than 1,000 people: There are a variety of free and cheap email services for
           lists with less than 1,000 people. Democracy in Action ( is
           an inexpensive service that enables you to send multi-part emails and track several metrics to
           analyze their effectiveness. Listbox ( is another service that enables you to
           send multiple emails, although it has fewer analytical tools available. You can also use Yahoo,
           Google, or MSN groups.

           Lists with between 1,000 and 10,000 people: There are a variety of very cheap email services
           for lists with between 1,000 and 10,000 people. You could use Democracy in Action or Listbox.
           You can also install a program like Civic Space or PHP-List on your own web-host.

           Lists with more than 10,000 people: For larger lists, you should use a more robust (and
           expensive) service to send your emails. These services will help ensure that your emails are
           sent successfully. They will also enable you to test your emails more extensively than cheaper
           services and use sophisticated mechanisms to track the effectiveness of your emails. Some of
           the best services are:
                       o Lyris:
                       o Britemoon:
                       o WhatCounts:
                       o GetActive:
                       o Kintera:
                       o Blue State Digital:

                                   Website Best Practices
Email should be the primary component of your online strategy. It is the best way to build your online
community and activate your supporters. But it is also important to build a good website and blog to help
mobilize your supporters and propagate your message.

A simple website is a good way to engage new people and speak to the press. It can also become another
home for people who want to talk about your work publicly if you have commenting abilities. It’s a great
place to keep a calendar.

Keep in mind that most people visit a website, not because they have been randomly searching for it, but
because they have been directed to it. The most frequent referrers to the campaign or organization’s
website is your email list and the media attention you generate (media hits which include the website’s
URL). The website should reflect this reality.

At the very least, the campaign’s website should have contact information for the campaign, a means for
the campaign to contact and add activists who visit (data capture), and actions for donors and activists.
Ultimately slick designs and fancy graphics are secondary in importance. The organization’s website should
serve a purpose, not just look pretty.
Basic Website Tips
   •   Your message should be obvious immediately.
   •   Include a form so that people can sign up for email list. At minimum, you should collect their email
       address and zip code. Additionally, name and other contact info.
   •   Include a prominent link to your yahoo group or blog so people can easily become high-level
   •   Include pictures.
   •   Prominently show ways for people to get involved (e.g., next meeting time and place)
Tips to drive traffic to your web page:
   •   Call reporters and tell them about it when there is a breaking story.
   •   Include link to page in press releases.
   •   Include link in all promotional materials.
   •   Include multiple links in your emails. Create pieces of the website specifically for online and offline
       actions for people on email campaigns. Be sure to include the website in your email campaign.
       Both emails and websites are most effective when used together.
   •   Constantly change content (daily) and include new pictures, especially of other people.
   •   Find other websites and blogs with similar interests. Comment on them (with a link to your blog in
       comment). Link to them in posts and then email them that you just wrote about them. Regularly.

                                   Blogging Best Practices
One of the pioneering features of Dean For America, and now Democracy For America, is the organization’s
vibrant and constant use of blogging and bloggers in political dialogue and action. Because the political
blogging world has grown so much since the beginning of 2003, simply starting a blog and hoping for the
best is hardly an effective strategy. Making effective use of a blog in a way that serves its publisher’s goals
and strategy takes careful planning and diligent effort — and much more than the casual attention of one
or two staff members or interns. A good blogger or organization can still cut through the clutter to make its
blog a must-see destination that spreads a clear message. Success requires focus and persistence.

Have a Point of View It pays to know, before beginning to blog, what you want to say. Keep your goals
and the key points on your agenda in mind with every sentence you write — and remember that when a
statement somehow fails to advance your agenda, or steers the discussion onto different or distracting
territory, it might be better left unpublished. Also remember that a strong blog has to provide more than a
recitation of well-known facts or well-used arguments. After all, for straight news, Internet users always
have the option of browsing for free through the New York Times. The greatest asset a blogger brings to the
Internet is his or her unique perspective. It’s a shame and a waste to let that asset — that perspective — go

Have a Voice. Just like email, think of building a community when building your blog. Blogs are more
interactive, so it is more important to develop a personality for the blog. The blogging community
appreciates candor and scorns stodginess and seemingly homogenized statements. Without sacrificing
professionalism or discipline, bloggers from law professor Eugene Volokh [@] to the
team at Think Progress, the blog for of the Center for American Progress [],
have managed to project themselves forcefully and grow their readerships successfully — and to maintain
a playful, personable tone at the same time.

Update Frequently. If your blog has the resources to keep up a manic pace of updates, go for it. If the
campaign can only update a couple time a day, that’s fine. As long as readers can come to expect a steady
stream of new commentary or information, and can go to your site for updates on a regular schedule and
come away gratified, you’ve done your job. Adopt a fairly structured schedule for blogging.

Establish a Niche. With so many well-established blogs already serving up information to satisfied
readers, a new entrant to the blogging world needs to avoid the trap of adopting a model already used to
perfection by someone else. Instead, newer blogs need to fill a void — even if that happens to mean filling a
void that no one knew existed.

Prominent niche Examples:
  • One-Stop Shop for Expertise.
     A great idea for any person or organization able to provide specialized, valuable knowledge. That can
     mean academic expertise, as with Informed Comment [@], a must-read source
     of analysis on the Iraq War, or Semi-Daily Journal [@], an
     opinionated source of commentary on the economy by a Clinton administration appointee to the
     Department of the Treasury.
  • Becoming a Clearinghouse/Nerve Center.
     When a big controversy or story comes, a smart blogger can position a site to profit by moving to own
     that topic. That approach also succeeded at the Washington Note [@], where Century Foundation fellow Steve Clemons conducted a one-
     man whip effort to persuade Democrats in the Senate to vote against John Bolton as ambassador to
     the United Nations. His site turned into a back channel for damaging information about Bolton — and
     when it drew members of the press who were hunting for leads and stories, that constant stream of
     negative stories helped to turn the tide against the White House’s efforts to push Bolton through.

  •   Delving Into a Topic that No One Else Features.
      Going after a market without its own forum offers a proven route to growth. A number of blogs, for
      instance, have scored big by focusing on the politics of their states — for instance the Burnt Orange
      Report [@], which covers the full sweep of Texas politics, or
      Archpundit [@], which does the same for the state of Illinois. Blog publishers
      can take that concept as far as their hearts desire, from a blog that trades in Washington gossip [@] to one that deals entirely — with women’s shoes [@].

Get to Know Others. Networking always helps. The Internet simply exists a giant network. It links
together people at nodes scattered around the world — and through building relationships with those
people, a blogger can grow his audience. Other sites can provide not only a rich source of material, but also
much-needed attention and a steady stream of new visitors. The more a blog publisher communicates
with, writes about, or gives credit to writers at other sites, the more those writers — either actively or merely
by joining the dialogue — send readers in your direction.

Blogs that build moats around themselves, by contrast, can expect to stay lonely. With so many sites
jostling for attention, breaking through that cacophony takes heroic effort — unless a publisher uses
generosity as the honey that encourages others to help.

                         Find the Right Technology for your Website or Blog
It is important to find the web and blog technology that suits your needs. Several good options are: Free hosted blogging service. Excellent blogging software. Requires installation on a paid hosting service. Excellent blogging software. Requires installation on a paid hosting service. Comprehensive content management and blogging software. Requires
        installation on a paid hosting service. Requires a fairly high degree of technical sophistication.

                  Case Study: DFA Campaign Takes On Tom DeLay
In April 2005, Tom DeLay was under mounting political pressure for his ethical violations and ties to Jack
Abramoff. DFA decided to put up billboards in his home district to remind voters about DeLay’s ethical
violations. We executed a 10-day campaign to solicit billboard ideas, vote on the best idea, and then fund

What is your campaign goal?
To remind voters about Tom DeLay’s ethical violations and build DFA’s grassroots community

What is the moral purpose:
We deserve an ethical government!

Who will care:
TX-22 voters, TX-22 media outlets, national media outlets, progressive activists nationwide.

Timeline for campaign:
10 days to gather ideas and vote on them; then a month to run the billboard

Email Schedule:
1) April 12: Campaign launch to gather billboard ideas
         Subject:      Beware of Falling Congressman
         Segments:     DFA’s national list
                       DFA’s Texas list
         Results:      15,000 ideas were submitted. DFA picked the top 20 slogans for the final vote.
2) April 18: Vote on top slogan from among the top 20.
         Subjects:      Did Your Tom DeLay Billboard Make the Top 20? Find Out Now Pick the Billboard for
                        DeLay's Backyard: Vote Now
         Segments:      People who submitted ideas
                        People who did not submit ideas
         Results:       35,000 people voted to help select the winning idea.
3) April 20: Announcement of winner and fundraising solicitation
         Subject:     And the Winning Billboard Is...
         Segments:    Non-activist, non-participant
                      Activist, non-participant
                      Idea submitter or voter
         Results:     DFA raised $40,000 to pay for the billboard placement.
4) Billboard Placement
         We placed 2 billboards that ran through the month of May with the message: “Lobbyists sent Tom
         DeLay golfing and all you got was this billboard”
         The billboard was covered by every Houston TV station, the local newspaper, and national media
         outlets including the New York Times.

Later fundraising campaigns referenced and built on the narrative started by the DeLay campaign.
DFA established itself as one of the first major groups calling for DeLay’s resignation and has
been a leading voice on the subject. A sampling of the DeLay campaign emails and subsequent
emails referencing the campaign are included in the following pages:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Hughes, Democracy for America
To: Supporter
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2005 8:36 AM
Subject: And the Winning Billboard Is...
Dear Supporter,
                                                                            COMING SOON TO TEXAS:
The votes are in, and out of the 20,000 billboard
slogans, you chose this one:

"Corporations spent millions to send Tom DeLay
golfing, and all you got was this billboard."

This was the fan favorite -- both in Texas and

Now, the next step is simple -- if you want to see this
billboard in Tom DeLay's backyard, give a few dollars
to put it up:
                                                                             YOUR CHOICE FOR THE                                   MESSAGE TO TOM DELAY

The thing about DeLay Republicans -- because they can't defend him, they smear you. DeLay's camp says that we're
"outsiders" who have no business in Texas.

They try to divide us -- by race, by religion, by region. But the Texans who chose this billboard want the same thing as
every American -- clean government that solves real problems, and politicians who are accountable to the people.

Help Texans send DeLay and his apologists a message:

Republicans in Washington continue to close ranks around DeLay. They can't help it. They defend DeLay because he
built their party and the money-for-influence system that they thrive on.

Congressman Roy Blunt -- DeLay's chief deputy -- drew a line in the sand for DeLay this weekend, saying that he "will
stay as leader" no matter what and "is not going to run away from a fight."

But neither will you.

You chose the message -- now send it to Tom DeLay:

Thank you.

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

P.S. -- Desperate Republicans yesterday tried to head off the consequences of their leader's actions -- offering fake
investigations rigged to never rule against DeLay. Don't let his constituents be fooled:

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Morrison
To: Supporter
Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 10:52 AM
Subject: The View from Here

Dear Supporter,

You know what I call this? A sign of better things to come:

                                       Your winning billboard on display in Texas

Democracy for America stood with me long before telling the truth about Tom DeLay became fashionable. You made a
difference in Texas -- with your support last year, my challenge brought Tom DeLay closer to losing his seat than ever
before in his political career.

You can see every day on the news that your courage sparked something big. You helped make Tom DeLay the
national symbol of Republican excess. He and the machine he built are on the defensive. And they should be -- DeLay
and his party must be held accountable for the corruption and abuse of power in Congress.

So keep fighting the good fight. Here in Texas and across the country we're onto DeLay and his special interest allies --
and we want our country back. Count on me to keep fighting, too.

Your work has made a deep impression on me, and on this district. Keep it up -- and keep showing the whole country
what you can do.

Richard Morrison
Resident of Texas's 22nd Congressional District
and Democratic candidate for Congress in 2004

P.S. -- I hope to see you firsthand here in Texas for DemocracyFest in June. I'll be there -- along with DFA supporters
from around the country and national figures who support us. Learn all about it:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Hughes, Democracy for America
To: T.
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 1:58 PM
Subject: Match Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay Today!

Dear T.,

"Congressman Tom DeLay has been an exceptional leader on Capitol Hill and Vice
President Cheney looks forward to helping his re-election effort."

Think about that. Tonight Dick Cheney goes to a ritzy district in Houston to host a
fundraiser for Tom DeLay -- in spite of DeLay's felony indictment in a Texas court.
Regardless of our disgust at the wave of indictments, investigations and resignations
among Republicans in the last few months, for DeLay and Cheney it's business as usual.

And what a business it is. According to the Houston Chronicle, "for $4,200, a donor gets
an invitation to a VIP reception, a photograph with Cheney, and recognition at the event.
For $2,100, attendees can rub elbows at a 'congressional reception' and have their
photo taken with DeLay."

DeLay and Cheney make it clear that money is the only language they know. So it's time
for us -- working together -- to raise their cost of doing business. DeLay and Cheney use
money to maintain their corrupt hammerlock on Washington, so to beat them we have to
match them candidate for candidate.

When we brought the bat back last week, you responded overwhelmingly, raising over $20,000 in a day. But we're not

DeLay has funded 29 candidates for Congress this year. Once we raise $34,800, we can tell DeLay and Cheney just
how we feel about that -- to the tune of $1,200 each for 29 progressive candidates of our own. Make it happen:

Is this a momentary lapse in Cheney's judgment? Not a chance. Right now, his ex-chief of staff faces spending the
rest of his life in jail on perjury charges. So Cheney riding to the rescue of Tom DeLay arrives as no surprise. The two
are peas in the same, ethically challenged pod.

His mission to support a man under indictment sends a message that top Republicans don't care about the law. They
only care about power, and about the money that makes their hold on power possible.

But guess what? We have power in numbers. By coming together we can break their hold on power, and give this
country the ethical, progressive leadership it deserves.

So let's get started. Swing the bat:

Thank you,
Tom Hughes
Democracy for America

House Parties
  Fun and Fundraising

                           How to Host a DFA House Party
Several times a year DFA sponsors a house party day across the country that features a live conference
call. These national events accomplish the following:
     • Introduce DFA, raise money, and recruit volunteers
     • Get friends, neighbors and coworkers talking about DFA’s issues and candidates
     • Energize DFA grass roots supporters and earn free media

Simple Steps to a Successful House Party
Never hosted a house party before? Not sure where to begin? Here are the simple steps you need to take
to have a great event!

   1. Determine the Goal of your Party. The first step to holding a successful house party is to be
      clear about the party’s goals. This will help ensure the rest of your house party plan stays
      focused. Remember, a house party can accomplish one or more of the following:
          1. Expand Volunteer Network
          2. Persuade Voters
          3. Raise Money
          4. Earned Media
   2. Pick a location. The best location for most house parties is a home or apartment. In some
      cases, you may also be able to hold it at an office, club, or function room.
   3. Register the party online at DFA’s website. This allows you to email and track invitations,
      accept credit card contributions, and promote your party online. Also download the house party
      kit and review contribution guidelines.
   4. Build the Crowd Most successful house party events attract 10 to 30 people and have a
      fundraising goal of $100 to $250. You can build your crowd by:
          1. Establishing a “host committee” where each member of the committee takes
              responsibility for inviting x number of people. Be sure every member commits to a
              specific task, such as inviting five to 10 friends.
          2. Emailing your local DFA group and other members of your social network. Always
              include a pitch for money, a reminder to bring checkbooks, and directions to your party.
          3. Call friends and family. Before you start make a list of everyone you plan to call.
          4. Putting a notice in the local newspaper or calendar. Ask someone on your host
              committee to help design the notice. This will get them more invested in the party and
              it will take one task off your shoulders.
   5. Plan your Party Work out a rough schedule for the party beforehand. See below for a possible
      timetable. Simple refreshments are fine. People don’t come for fancy food, but to socialize and
      hear and respond to a pitch about DFA.
   6. Make reminder phone calls. One week before your party, call everybody that you invited. This
      will remind those who’ve said yes and serve as an extra push to those who haven’t responded.

Time to Party!
Make sure you staff a table by the front door and have your guests sign in. Put return envelopes and a
basket out for contributions. Have extra pens and name tags handy. Display DFA and candidate
materials. Other tips:
           1. Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share their “story” about why they’re
               interested in this campaign and why it matters in their lives.
           2. Make a money pitch. The best way to raise money is to ask for it. The perfect house
               party pitch is compelling and concrete and includes the case for giving and the actual
               ask. See below for tips on how to do this.
           3. Report your results. Collect all contributions and the sign-in sheet and mail to DFA in

                                        Making the Pitch
Good fundraising pitches are persuasive and specific. They tell people why they should give and how
to do so.

Begin the pitch by making the case for giving. Party hosts are usually the best persons to do this and
can simply talk about why they are contributing to DFA and describe the difference gifts will make. If a
national house party day is raising money for a specific purpose (A DFA List candidate, put a television
ad on the air, etc.), let your guests know.

Hosts who are uncomfortable asking for money should find a surrogate, such as an elected official or
local grass roots leader active in DFA. Whoever does the job needs to do three things:
1) State a goal “Tonight I’m asking the people at this house party to help me raise $500 to
   support DFA’s grassroots campaign to take our country back . . . “

2) Request an action. Tell people you want them to make a donation tonight. Give a specific
   amount – “If each one of us here tonight gives $25 we can easily make our goal of $500.”
   Also mention any matching schemes (anyone who gives $100 will receive a coffee mug, or
   hosts who raise $500 will receive a signed book from Howard Dean, etc.) Multiple requests
   (give money, volunteer time, host your own party, etc.), are okay, but keep the list short and

3) Tell people how to act. Do you want someone to write a check? Tell them who to make it out to
   and where to put it – your hands, a basket in the hall, wherever. Want people to volunteer”?
   Show them the sign up sheet or give them a card. Make your requests clear and concrete and
   close the formal program by thanking everyone for coming. This gives people time to act on
   your request by writing checks, signing up to volunteer, or do whatever else you have asked

                                         Sample Party Agenda
 6:30 PM         Staff a table near the front door. Sign in guests, provide name tags, and display
                 DFA materials.
 7:00 PM         Host welcomes everybody and calls on guests to introduce themselves and
                 briefly explain why they’ve come.
 7:30 PM         Watch DVD provided by DFA.

 7:45 PM         Listen to live conference call with national speaker.

 8:10 PM         Host or surrogate makes pitch for money and support.

 8:30 PM         Host closes the event by thanking everybody.

Activity #1: Practice Your Fundraising Pitch

Using the tips outlined above in “Making the Pitch”, prepare and practice a short fundraising pitch for a
house party. You can make up your own details about goals, how the money will be raised, or use one of
the scenarios below from recent actual national and statewide house party days:

Democracy for America holds scores of house parties across the country on June 23, 2005. Each party
has heard a live conference call with DFA’s Executive Director Tom Hughes and has been asked to raise a
minimum of $100. The money will help fund DFA’s meetup and field program for this year. Specific
activities include:

National agendas and conference calls
Packets and materials for local DFA groups
DVDs and other interactive media for local groups
Better software tools to help DFA groups organize more effectively

Activity: Practice Your Fundraising Pitch
Using the tips outlined above in “Making the Pitch”, prepare and practice a short fundraising pitch
for a house party. You can make up your own details about goals, how the money will be raised, or
use the scenario below from recent actual national and statewide house party days:

    1) Democracy for America holds scores of house parties across the country on June 23,
       2005. Each party has heard a live conference call with DFA’s Executive Director Tom
       Hughes and has been asked to raise a minimum of $100. The money will help fund DFA’s
       meetup and field program for this year. Specific activities include:

            •   National agendas and conference calls
            •   Packets and materials for local DFA groups
            •   DVDs and other interactive media for local groups
            •   Better tools to help DFA groups organize more effectively

Running Better Meetings

                         Running More Effective Meetings
                    On its face, running a meeting seems simple enough, yet…
 -   How many times have you been to horrible meetings?
 -   Felt your time was wasted by attending?
 -   Left a meeting without knowing what was accomplished?
 -   Left a meeting without knowing what the next step was?

                    Too often meetings are held without a clear purpose or plan.

Purpose of Meetings:
              o Formulate an action plan to accomplish a task.
              o Resolving issues which require the presence of those attending.
              o Update attendees on progress of others when needed.

                  Key Principles                                   Common Pitfalls
     1) Functionality.                                1) Unnecessary Meetings
     - You meet for specific reasons.                 - Sometimes having a meeting is, itself, a
     - Expect to come out of the meeting with an      mistake.
     executable plan.                                 - Can the required tasks simply be done or
     - Action plans are specific, have timelines,     delegated without the group’s input? Must you
     and have delegated roles for all attendees       to talk about it before just doing it?
     - Only people relevant to the meeting topic      - Scheduling meetings regularly is still
     should have to attend.                           important, but make each has a purpose.
     2) Transparency.                                 2) Obsession with Process
     - Key members have input on the agenda           - Serious activists should not go to meeting to
     beforehand                                       seek emotional affirmation from the group.
     - Agenda distributed to all attendees before     - The primary concern is to get the job done.
     the meeting                                      Process obsession may unnecessarily occupy
     - Topic and contents known to members,           too much time, and end up disrespecting
     even if they are not attending the meeting.      everyone’s time.
     3) Discipline.                                   3) Dominating Personalities
     - Topical. Concerns are discussed only when      - Sometimes people need to shut up listen. It is
     they appear on the agenda. Time can set          more polite to ask ‘get to the point’ or ‘how is
     aside for additional items. Know when to         this relevant?’ than to waste everyone’s time.
     take discussions offline.                        Embrace this interruption.
     - Timely. Each agenda item is timed. If          - Discussion leaders need to be sure they are
     discussion exceeds time, either table it, or     not dominating the discussion. They are leading
     agree to continue discussion with the explicit   a meeting, not Emceeing an event.
     intention to sacrifice subsequent items.         - 50% rule. No one needs to speak more than
     Establish this early on.                         50% of the time.
     4) Accountability.                               4) No Plan. No Action. No Follow up
     - Speakers must respect listeners.               - Without this, you didn’t really have a meeting.
     - Listeners must respect speakers.               Be specific about all of the above.

Pre-Meeting Prep
  o   First, determine if you really need the meeting. Must you have the group      TIP:
      decide your next course of action, or is it something that can get done       Since your meeting
      with some quick decision-making.                                              should start on
  o   Next, who must attend? A good way to figure it out is to ask yourself what    time, ask likely
      that person’s delegated task might be at the end of the meeting. If you       latecomers to arrive
      know that people will walk away without a task, why did they attend in the    early. A trick is to
      first place? Meetings can become dramatically less effective when the         ask certain people
      number exceeds 20 or so people, especially when the agenda is open or         to help ‘set up the
      unclear. Larger meetings tend to become more informational than               room’, or ask them
      discussion-oriented.                                                          to a ‘pre-meeting to
  o   Materials and Visuals – Handouts should be created and distributed            discuss X’ to get
      before the meeting if possible, with extras on hand at the meeting. Pens,     them there earlier.
      pads, markers, whiteboards will all be materials you may need. Generally
      visuals are helpful in clarifying topics and keeping people’s attention.
The Agenda                                                                          TIP:
  o   Always have one for any meeting that exceeds 10-15 minutes (most              Each item should
      meetings) or meetings that exceed one topic.                                  have a number of
  o   Ask for input from your attendees as your making you agenda to make           minutes to be spent
      sure you cover everything you need to cover, and so you can table             printed alongside
      unrelated issues before they pop up at the meeting.                           the item. Sticking to
  o   Agendas should be sent out before the meeting so people know how their        the allotted times
      time will be spent and can come prepared to discuss and decide.               helps you facilitate
                                                                                    a timely meeting.
Running the Meeting
 • Start on time Respect people who made it on time by starting on time. This
     sets the tone for the meeting.                                                 TIP:
 • Roles                                                                            Want your meeting
   o Leader/Facilitator: Runs the meeting. Usually responsible for calling votes,   to last less than 30
     moving to the next topic, and keeping focused. Leaders should not speak        min? Make it a
     through the whole meeting. If they want, they can organize a lecture, not      standing meeting.
     run a meeting.                                                                 Short meetings will
   o Note taker: Take minutes. Highlight delegated tasks. First post-meeting        stay      short     if
     task is to send the notes out to all attendees.                                everyone       stands
   o Timekeeper: Makes sure each agenda item stays on time. The group can           during the meeting.
     rely on this person to interrupt when needed.                                  No one sits, no one
   o Attendees: Attendees should generally be involved in the meeting. For          wastes time.
     example, each agenda item could be handled by a different attendee.
 • Decision-Making Choose a process that doesn’t bog you down. Consensus is
     typically for small, homogenous groups. Majority votes are often more          TIP:
     practical, just as long as the facilitator can manage and end debates in a     Someone sucking
     timely fashion and call for a vote.                                            up the time? Let
Ending the Meeting                                                                  them know, “We’re
  o   Review the plan of action. This is a good spot for people to prove that the   all very busy here.”
      meeting was held for a reason. One suggestion is to go around the table       And frame the
      and have each person state their next steps. The note-taker can also          interruption      in
      state delegated roles for each person. At the end of the meeting, if you’ve   terms of the needs
      worked out a goal, it should come with a plan to achieve it                   of the group.
  o   Action plans should all have a timeline. X item is done by Y time.
  o   Establish clear follow-up procedures – When, how, etc. Since each task is
      done by a certain time, and this time in known to the group, follow up
      should be easy.

Post-Meeting Follow up.
  o   Minutes sent out.
  o   Each person or team completes task on announced schedule or makes known to the appropriate
      person that the task will not be done on schedule.
  o   Examples of follow up plan can include reports (even brief summaries) sent into one person at
      particular times (weekly, halfway through, upon completion, ect), or one person calling each team
      at particular times to compile progress reports.

                                        Sample Agenda
       Tri-County DFA Host Steering Meeting
       July 25, 2005, 6pm-7pm

       I. Introductions (Jane)                                                     9 min
                – name, city, and ONE highlight from your DFA-Link group
       II. Anytown’s report on battling the Wal-Mart rezoning initiative (John)    16 min
                - latest update
                - next steps
                - Suggestions for action items for neighboring DFA-Link groups
       III. DFAtown’s efforts to bring in a statewide DFA training
                - Logistics (Joe)                                                  12 min
                        o Venue options narrowed down
                        o Next step: Food
                        o Housing Coordination
                - Attendance (Janice)                                              7 min
                        o Emails strategies
                        o Calling our DFA-Link membership for reminders
                - Report from Burlington (Jesse)                                   4 min
       IV. Local elections starting up (Jordan)                                    8 min
                - Do groups have an endorsement process?
                - Has anyone been approached?
                - Who will bottom line this initiative?
       V. Closing (Jared)                                                          4 min
       - Review Action Items and Delegated roles
       - Follow-up Plans
       - Dinner at Oasis Diner

        Homework Assignments
After a long day of training, you might want to get a little rest. Before you do, ask
yourself if you think your opponents are sleeping right now. Below are a number of
possible homework assignments. The first one is for everyone, the others are
additional homework. You will not have all the answers. That’s a good thing. We
need to figure out what kind of things are unclear to us right now, so we can clear it
up. The only way to do that is to figure out what we have and have not absorbed
from the first day of training.

Please feel free to do these assignments in groups. Just as in a real campaign, it’s
too much work for one person alone.

Assignment #1:
Write and research a Sample Landscape memo. Use information and statistics from your
own town, county, district, or state. If you’re involved in a race right now, use that one.
Make sure to provide past performance of the district, demographic makeup, money spent
in recent, similar elections. Information on landscape memos, as well as a sample, are
provided in this manual on pages 9 through 11.

You won’t find all this information in a night. For information you do not have and can not
find, leave it blank so you know it is supposed to be filled in.

                               AND, choose 1 of the 3 below

Assignment #2:
You can easily figure out the first 10 or 12 people in your inner circle for fundraising. Now
figure out the next few levels. Individually, write out the next 25 people on your fundraising
list (so the total list should be about 35 or so people). List their names and how you know
them. After you’ve worked on it, see what other people have.

Assignment # 3:
Develop a 27-9-3 message for the State Party (whatever state). Maybe you’ll give them
some ideas! Then develop one for the National Party. Is it different?

Assignment #4:
Do the math. For your own precinct (or neighborhood, if you do not know the exact
numbers), figure out how many hours and how many volunteers it would take to canvass
and call every Democrat within one week. Make your own assumptions on contact rates
based on experience and familiarity with your neighborhood. Use the math on page 50 as
a guide.


To top