Pages tagged "NationBuilder"


    If you’re thinking about running for office, now is the time to start moving. But before you “move” in any direction, it would serve you well to “think” about where you are, where you want to go and why it’s in anyone’s interest to help you get there. 

    Before Marston Digital Solutions takes on any new clients, we ask candidates to answer many key questions. Each of our questionnaires is candidate-specific, but whether you’re running for local school board or President of the United States, there are ten basic points that must be addressed. Clearly, the answers to these questions make a difference, but the thought process they trigger is even more critical. In business and politics, strategy must always precede tactics. Our questions and subsequent feedback will help you and your team develop a winning strategy.

    While our customized “Q & A” often includes up to fifty questions, here are ten that apply to virtually any campaign:

    1. Why are you running for office?

    This sounds basic, but you need to answer honestly. If you’re running because you need a job, don’t bother...Amazon is hiring. If you’re running because you like to “help people”, avoid the hassle and volunteer for a charity. Your public “answer” needs to be compelling, but your private motivation needs to be both noble and sincere. We already have enough career politicians who like to spend other people’s money. Think about it long and hard before answering. This question will come up dozens of times during your campaign.

    2. Is your spouse or significant other “on board” with the idea?

    Politics is an often nasty and always time-intensive business that places huge demands on relationships and marriages. Your family should always be more important than your political campaign. If you don’t put your family first, we don’t want you as a client; and if your spouse or significant other is not fully “on board”, you will probably lose anyway. Communicate. Address any of your partner’s concerns before you even think of announcing. If he or she “buys in” fully, you’ve not only secured your most compelling campaign “salesperson” but you’ve also reduced the chances that you’ll end up being banished to the couch for the next year or so!

    3. Will your next-door neighbor support you?

    Now, it’s quite possible that your next-door neighbors are completely insane (it happens), so let’s extend this scenario to your street and neighborhood. Bottom line: If you can’t persuade the people who know you best, you’re not likely to persuade total strangers. Reach out. Make friends close to home. Ask for their input and make them feel like a part of your team even before you have a team.  If you play your cards right, these folks will ultimately join your family members as some of your most loyal and active supporters. 

    4. Can you afford to run? 

    With very few exceptions, successful candidates view their political campaigns as full-time endeavors. Can you and your family survive for a year or more without an income? Can you take a leave of absence from your job? Can you loan your campaign “seed money” to get off on the right foot or are you totally dependent on donations? Volunteers are terrific, but at some point early in the process, you’re going to need paid staff. Where’s that money coming from?

    5. Have you recruited a Fundraising Chairperson?

    The four “M”s of any campaign are MONEY, MUSCLE, MESSAGE and MOMENTUM. Without money, most campaigns flounder, regardless of the candidate’s resume, policy positions or personal charisma. Securing an early commitment from a fundraising chairperson is absolutely essential. This person should agree to raise a predetermined amount and recruit at least ten others (e.g. “Finance Committee”) to do the same. After your spouse, this is the most important “sell” you’ll make during your campaign. If you can’t “close that deal”, you simply should not run.

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    Is this a joke?

    No. In fact, if you are running for office, it is very serious. Our hope is to briefly explain how digital strategy and field strategy no longer operate in separate “silos”...and how the campaigns that best merge the two will be more efficient, effective and ultimately, more successful.

    So back to our two candidates. They both walk into a bar and inside are 100 people who live in the district. Obviously, they both want to do the three jobs of a candidate; meet voters, secure votes and raise money. The challenge is that they only have 30 minutes. 

    One candidate starts working the room introducing himself and, hopefully, listening to people’s concerns. That is traditional “field.” Candidate 2 [C2] knows that of the 100 people in the bar, only 80 are registered to vote. Given that they are running in a primary, C2 also know which of those 80 voters are members of their party and so can vote for them. C2 also knows which of those voters have voted in at least three of the last four primaries. C2 knows who of those 20 or 30 voters own their home, have a net worth over $500,000 and have donated to past political campaigns. C2 looks for those specific voters and starts implementing her strategy. That is effectively merging field and digital.

    Who do you think used their thirty minutes most productively? 

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  • Raise More Money Using Strategic Targeting

    There are countless articles and blog posts about effective email marketing. I know. I have read most of them. This post is specifically about getting better results (Raising more money) from your campaign's existing email list by using NationBuilder filters for Strategic Targeting.

    The essence of Strategic Targeting is delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. I recently posted an article Don't Just Collect an Email. Start a Relationship which talks about how to collect email addresses so that they can be used strategically to develop and deepen relationships. This article is a continuation of that theme.

    Most of us have seen political email fundraising done wrong. If you've ever donated to a political campaign you've probably gotten an email asking:

    • "Please donate by midnight tomorrow" when you donated yesterday at 8:30 AM;
    • "Can you Chip In $5?" when your last donation was for $500;
    • "Join my GOLD Leadership Team with a donation of $1000 or more" when the most you have ever donated to the campaign was $20 or my "favorite";
    • "Friend, Can you please support my campaign?" when I have already signed up to donate monthly.

    What is wrong with all those asks? They tell the recipient that either you don't know or don't care about them and how they have supported your campaign. Don't ask someone to do something they have already done. Don't insult someone who has made a major investment in your campaign. Don't ask someone to do something they probably can't do.

    So how do you avoid "doing it wrong" and actually do it right? Use the information in your NationBuilder database and filtering to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

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    Raise More Money Using Strategic Targeting

    4 Reasons You Need To Look At NationBuilder

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    ...What they do is fail to plan.

    In the private sector, startup companies often spend months developing business plans. That intensive but necessary process includes a significant amount of research...and that research is critical to the development of effective strategies and tactics.

    Most political campaigns are like business startups and the candidates are essentially new “products.” We published a blog post a couple of years ago “Ten Questions To Ask Before Running For Office.” Assuming you can ask and adequately answer those questions, the next question is “Now what?”

    The answer? Plan, Plan, Plan.

    The first number you need to know is “Votes To Win.”

    Do your due diligence. How many registered voters are in the district? What is the typical voter turnout in the district for your type of race? Keep in mind that turnout for the last Presidential election isn’t necessarily a good indicator for your City Council primary though it can be informative regarding your total universe of potential voters.

    There can be a lot of variables, especially in primaries with multiple candidates or in a race against an incumbent who has not faced a serious opponent in years. You may have to look at proxy elections. What was the turnout in your district for the latest State Rep. or Senate campaign? What was the turnout in the Congressional primary? The information is there. You just have to figure out where to look for it...then interpret it properly.

    Now, what is it going to cost to win?

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