Common Cause International a
project of the Common Cause
a project of the Common Cause Education Fund
September 8, 2009
Basic Strategic Assumptions
Elected officials want the voters approval.
Elected officials want to be re-elected.
Elected officials want to do the "right" thing.
Elected officials are human beings.
Each elected official has a unique political
Elected officials are vulnerable to public
Elements of a Campaign
Raising the Visibility of an Issue
inside an Election Campaign
Outreach to elected officials and parties to adopt
Research/Public Education "Bird Dogging"
Sponsoring Candidate Forums
Earned and Paid Media Strategies
Pledge Campaigns and Campaign
A pledge campaign, is a campaign implemented
by a civil society group(s) designed to rally
support for ideas and issues they favor.
A pledge campaign begins early in an election
cycle, lasts throughout that cycle and well into
the legislative session.
A good pledge campaign employs all aspect of a
robust advocacy campaign.
Step 1: Agree on basic principles of your
Internal agreement within the organization.
Agreement among coalition partners and allies.
Agreement and consultation with elected officials
who share your goals.
Creation of a Comprehensive Campaign
Strategy at the beginning of the process.
Step 2: Pledge Language
Considerations in framing the pledge language:
The pledge should focus on a narrow set of issues, preferably not more than three.
The pledge should not be written in highly detailed language.
The pledge needs to have enough detail to encompass the basic principles of the
issue you are working on.
Example Pledge from Common Cause Campaign
Fair Elections Pledge, Obama
Step 3. Logistics of a pledge
Create Database of Incumbents and Challengers
Identify targets set goals for signatures
Determine timing issues for launch
Number of sign-ons
Type of sign -ons
Existing media hooks, election timeline, election events
A Word About Targeting
Identify supporters and make a plan with them to
prominently feature your issue in their platform.
Identify potential supporters and make a plan to
get them to sign on.
Decide whether and how much time to spend on
those candidates that oppose your views.
Make a Target Chart
"Ones" are your friends and should be involved in and aware of your
"Twos" are likely allies, determine how you will bring them closer to
"Threes" are fence sitters, much of your time will be spent on
winning them to your side.
"Fours" are possible but unlikely to agree with you.
"Fives" are people you might want to spend time thinking about
how to back them down from their opposition or take away their
Managing the Campaign
Internalprocess to manage and publicize
Calendar of all relevant campaign events
Paid and Earned Media Strategy
General Timing for Launch
Website and other New Media Strategies
Keeping up the Momentum
Monitor number of pledge signers
Thank Signers, devise ways to light a fire
under those who have still not signed.
Look for ways to insert your pledge
campaign into the political debate and the
Take out ads challenging candidates to
sign (Iowa, New Hampshire examples)
Create a website that projects the currents status of the
campaign and enables activists to participate.
Release Studies and reports at strategic moments in the
Look at the news cycle for ways to insert yourself in the
debate (Enron example)
After the Election
Now the real work starts
Bed Check, use pledge campaign of a
barometer of your support
Introduction of actual legislation
Strategize to hold “pledgers” accountable
(Melissa Hart example)
Publicize results to your members