As a potential candidate, it is important that you have a plan before officially declaring your intent for seeking office. You are setting yourself up for failure if you do not cover the basics to ensure you get where you want to be. This is a tried and tested method to bring about the greatest levels of success in a campaign. Even if you lose the election, you will have far greater results with a plan, than without.
So what are the elements of a plan?
This section of your plan is set to describe the office you seek and the conditions for you to achieve the office. There are several questions that should be answered in this portion of your plan:
- What race is being run? (federal, state, local)
- Is the race partisan or non-partisan?
- What is the percentage/number of votes needed to win?
- Who, if any, is the incumbent and their party affiliation?
- What are the demographics of your voters?
This portion of your plan is the situation, or climate, of the election you plan to run. What are voters concerned about? Has the incumbent been doing things that are contrary to liberty?
You want people to know the situation when they read the plan to understand the gravity of why you are running.
You need to have a clear, concise mission that can be easily relayed to volunteers and staff. This section of your plan, in a statement, will address the who, what, when, why, and where. This is your rallying statement to your people. What is a successful completion come election day?
This will be the most detailed portion of the plan. You are literally going to write down, step by step, exactly what you are going to do to win. Everyone on your team is going to be playing a part in this, so where do they step up in the timeline? Some things you will need to include in this portion will be:
- Fundraising deadlines with where you want to be monetarily (example: $75,000 by end of August).
- Known events you will be appearing for outreach efforts. This would include fairs, debates, community events, party events, etc. that you know will happen at set days.
- Estimated events. If the exact date is unknown because your community does a huge barbecue in June to celebrate summer, but the day is not the same, mark it down as an event sometime in June, and make sure you update your plan as soon as the event is set for a date.
- Address when you will be doing canvassing of homes.
- Address when you will be doing phone banking.
- Address GOTV efforts and what those efforts will be (robo calls, phone banking, email reminders, text reminders, etc.)
- Any kind of specific actions you want your team to take like letter to the editor campaigns, Twitter bombs, etc. The more specific the timeline on this, the better.
- When advertisements will be purchased. It is important to know the time-frames, especially if polling will be used before a debate. Having a plan to address purchasing will ensure this is as smooth as possible with as much impact as possible.
- When a direct mail campaign will go into effect
These are just some of the ideas of what is going on in this section of your campaign plan. The more detailed and precise you are about the order things will happen, the more cohesive your team will be.
A great way to break this down further, is to plan out your campaign in phases. So organizing all actions to be taken during the exploratory phase of considering office would go in one section and labeled, while the phase just before a debate or nominating convention would be in other sections. Organization is key.
Administration and Logistics
While the execution portion of the plan is going through what needs to be done and when, this section covers how it will get done. Some things this section needs to address:
- What banking institution will funds be deposited?
- What company will promotional material be ordered?
- What is the contact information for media sources to get news out?
- What company will be used for processing credit and debit transactions?
- What is being used to track expenses and receipts?
- What government office does the campaign report to for finance disclosure?
Essentially, you are making sure that information is available for your team to know where to direct their areas of responsibility.
Communication and Leadership
This section is absolutely vital for your team. You need to put down who is in charge of what and how to reach them. Some campaign position this includes would be:
- Campaign manager
- Press Director
- Volunteer Coordinators
- Political advisers
- Social media team
- Event coordinator
Each of these components is important to have laid out. This will help bring your team a high level of success. So ask yourself this: Do you have a plan, or are you planning to fail on election day?