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DFA Root Camp Training 101

DFA Root Camp Training 101

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  • 1. DemocracyFest 2005 ™ GFA ROOT CAMP™ CORE TRAINING 101 Austin, Texas June 19, 2005 For activists who have had little or no previous training and for training mentors who want to try this at home. Hosted by Co-Sponsored by Democracy for Texas and My Vote is My Voice Copyright © 2005, Grassroots for America Reprints with proper attribution and grassroots distribution are encouraged.
  • 2. GFA Root Camp™ –2– Core Training 101
  • 3. CONTENTS Welcome, Introductions .......................................................................... 4 Overview of Agenda Campaign Basics...................................................................................... 6 Campaign Organization and Management Volunteer Management......................................................................... 16 Recruiting and Developing Good Volunteers Putting Volunteers to Work Data and Data Mining for GOTV......................................................... 30 Banking the Vote with GITV WORKSHOPS Earned Media for Grassroots Activism...................................... 50 Activating Your Base................................................................... 62 Maximizing Year-Round Visibility and Productivity................ 64 ADDENDA I. About Root Camp™................................................................. 68 II. A Race Well Run .................................................................... 69 A Guide for First-Time Candidates Running for Public Office III. Talking to Swing Voters........................................................ 79
  • 4. 10:00–10:15 a.m. Introductions, Welcome. Overview of Agenda Pam Paul, Ralph Miller, Sandra Ramos Adults learn by doing and from others’ experience. Today’s Root Camp™ sessions will cover the core subjects required to organize, fund, manage, and promote campaigns and political advocacy efforts in your community. This will include an overview of Campaign Basics: from Fundraising and Volunteer Recruit- ment, Management, and Training to Data Mining for GITV/GOTV and Media. The goal of Root Camp™ is to make available tools for activating your base and maximizing year-round visibility and productivity by sharing diverse experiences and unique per- spectives. Root Camp™ concepts and processes are designed to be adapted to your local areas and political landscape. We encourage the organic growth of activist empowerment through collaborative teamwork and activist-engineered—and championed—ideas! By continuing to share our best practices and resources, whether as Root Camp™ tools and connections transferred during these sessions, or those discovered through other channels, Root Camp™ serves as a launching pad to push ahead your own activism back home. You are passionate about what you are doing. The better we do it, the more impact your efforts will have. Root Camp™ is about empowerment: saving activists time, money, and energy by helping them to not have to reinvent the wheel. Root Camp™ is designed to cultivate an organic, activist collaborative designed to self-perpetuate a grass- roots educational and training community. Many of the tools needed to manage a local training are available to users through our Mentoring program and at For those of you interested in pursuing grassroots training further, Root Camp™ trainers and Mentors have access to an intra- net for networking national grassroots training efforts, staying in touch and in tune with what other individuals and organizations are doing in regard to training across the country, and maintaining identities through connection to the process. On the public site, a national map directory is available to help grassroots leaders quickly find and/or provide training events near them. Tailoring Root Camp™ to your local communities is as simple as fitting your particular needs, skill sets, and resources into the Core Training framework. How you build your local training teams and curriculum and/or add or use resources and tools from the Root Camp™ resource kit is up to you; whether you choose to par- ticipate in regular get-togethers such as Meetups or state meetings, develop and fa- GFA Root Camp™ –4– Core Training 101
  • 5. cilitate live or online trainings, or engage activists and community members through networking among trainers, issue groups, supporters, resources, tools, and sharing of best practices, the resulting effort will be one of promoting the network in a manner that builds a vibrant national training community. Supporting Root Camp™ logistics includes adapting a promotion package and setting a fee structure that reflects your local needs and base. The Root Camp™ Mentor Certi- fication process ensures training quality and networking control and standards. Ac- knowledging the need for an agreed-upon set of Standards to define what is a Root Camp™ training, an Editorial Board has been commissioned to set parame- ters for the Root Camp™ Courseware, Certification Program, and Talent Bank qualification. Root Camp™ empowers grassroots leaders to nurture home- grown talent and online resources for local deployment. GFA Root Camp™ –5– Core Training 101
  • 6. 10:15–11:00 a.m. Campaign Basics Campaign Organization and Management Sandra Ramos, Aldon Hynes, Marsha Moody CAMPAIGN BASICS Campaign Organization and Management GFA Root Camp™ –6– Core Training 101
  • 7. Elements of a Campaign: Goals, Strategies, and Tactics — Managing People, Time, and Money Every political campaign has its own unique set of variables, yet each campaign contains elements that are similar to most other campaigns. This class and work- book are designed to lead you through a process to formalize how you think about campaigns and how you fit in. The course material is designed to help you focus on what you need to learn to develop a winning campaign. While there are many uncontrollable variables inherent in any campaign, formaliz- ing your efforts will be rewarded by an increase in focus and clarity about the road ahead. What is a campaign? An electoral campaign is an organized, coordinated set of programs designed to deliver specific messages to targeted groups of voters. An electoral campaign is a conversation between the candidate and/or proponents of an issue, proposition, or initiative, and the voter that culminates in an effort to turn out supporters at the polls. Remember: You are a strange person. You think about politics every day. You are partisan. You believe that politics is a means to change. Know: Voters are normal. They are skeptical of politics and politicians. They care about things that affect their daily lives. They do not want to be told what to do. The campaign is a conversation. When the strange talk to the normal, they must speak normal. Direct voter contact delivers the campaign’s message clearly, directly, and personally. The best voter contact allows for feedback. GFA Root Camp™ –7– Core Training 101
  • 8. Strategy and Tactics Strategy The science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions. Tactics The science and art of disposing and maneuvering forces in combat. The art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end. Are you clear on your campaign’s strategic goals? Do you understand the message and key issues/themes? Do you know your key targets, ranked in order of importance? Have you identified key problem areas? Do you have a calendar? Do you know your job? The ultimate goal is a list. The entire campaign is about creating a list of voters who will support your candi- date. Voter contact that allows for feedback is the only way to determine exactly who supports your candidate. Data is the backbone of a modern campaign. Data is collected through your voter contact program. GFA Root Camp™ –8– Core Training 101
  • 9. What do campaigns require for resources? People, Time, and Money There is no magic. There is only hard work and concentration on the goal. Those who tell you differently either don’t know or have never worked in a field effort. Keep your goal in mind. Victory equals a specific number of votes. Your voter contact program is a sieve that you construct to pass through the elec- torate and find the number of votes you need to win. If the locals don’t do it, it won’t get done. Success can be imported, but it is very expensive and does not last. You will never be more invested in success than the locals. When the locals are committed, success can happen without you. Do not worry about who will get the credit. Keep focused on the objective. There will be no credit if you do not succeed. There will be more than enough credit to go around if you succeed. Do not allow internal politics to corrupt your team. “Some” is not a number, and “soon” is not a time. The management of limited resources requires that you deal in specifics. If you cannot count it, do not do it. Never give or accept an assignment that is not qualified, quantified, and time limited. GFA Root Camp™ –9– Core Training 101
  • 10. Campaign Organization Typical Campaign Structure Individual campaigns vary as much in structure and organization as do can- didates for office. In general, most campaign structures look something like this: Campaign Coordinator (Management/Administration)—The people who manage the day-to-day operation of the campaign. This would include the Campaign Coordinator and immediate administrative staff. ◊ There is only one captain of a ship. But to remain as captain, you must treat your crew with civility and courtesy and listen to their needs, or there will be mutiny. ◊ Secondly, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Nothing is free, except what you don’t pay for. The campaign coordinator is responsible for every- thing—most importantly, making sure that all the other coordinators are do- ing their jobs. Fundraiser—raises money and is the only one (besides the candidate) to talk to donors. ◊ The second toughest job in a campaign is that of the fundraiser. If you have no money, you have very little campaign. In small campaigns, the fund- raiser may also be in charge of insuring the campaign finance reports are done on time in conjunction with the campaign treasurer (who is usually a friend of the candidate who signed on for the job, but might not know what to do). Data Coordinator—Data is the backbone of a good campaign; this should be the only person to touch the database, and s/he should understand how to ma- nipulate databases for maximum benefit—from inputting data to supporting all field activities. ◊ Without accurate data, a campaign will fail. ◊ This person is the lifeblood of the campaign. GFA Root Camp™ – 10 – Core Training 101
  • 11. Media/Public Relations Coordinator—The campaign can include a com- munications director and/or a press secretary. In larger campaigns, this can also include additional press staffers that do everything from send radio actualities to clip newspapers. Speech writing staff may also be located here or in re- search. ◊ The Press Secretary or Communications Director is the only person who han- dles press inquiries, writes press releases, and coordinates speechwriting ◊ This is the person who makes sure that everyone is up on the message and that the message is getting out—i.e., the voice of the local campaign. Respon- sible for all signs and “swag.” Volunteer Coordinator—The field operation contains the staff and volunteers who organize the campaign in the precincts. They work to move the campaign message, identify voters, and get out the vote through voter contact; the Volun- teer Coordinator ensures there are enough volunteers for all these tasks. This person should like people and not get frustrated by chaos. Since it’s all about field, this person is critical to the campaign. ◊ It’s all about field. You can run the best media campaign in the world, but if your voters don’t vote, you will lose. If a campaign has 1,000 persons signed up to help, all you need is an active 10 percent of volunteers to win the election. ◊ Direct voter contact. Field recruits the volunteers that will talk directly to the voters on your behalf. ◊ Visibility, telephone banking, canvassing, and GITV/GOTV are part of the field effort. You will need a person to work with you on each of these ef- forts. 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 indi- vidual precinct captain. Other Staff ◊ Someone to answer campaign phone ◊ A part-time runner (to run errands); students with new licenses make good drivers (but don’t forget to check their insurance!) ◊ A scrounger (to acquire things for campaign) GFA Root Camp™ – 11 – Core Training 101
  • 12. Management/Administration The Campaign Manager’s Job The Campaign Manager runs day-to-day operations and coordinates with all staff. This is the person who handles the schedule. The Campaign Manager must be familiar with the Political Landscape in which the Candidate is working; should be engaged and fully understand the Theme and Message. S/he must direct the tar- geting of voters and implementation of the Campaign’s Strategy and Tactics. Writ- ing the Field Plan, which is prepared by a Field Manager in larger campaigns, is handled by the Campaign Manager in most campaigns. The Campaign Manager is responsible for everything—most importantly making sure that all the other coordinators are doing their jobs. The Manager must possess good communication skills and an ability to make deci- sions. Campaigns collapse when the decision maker refuses to make decisions on critical issues and tactical matters. The worst thing that can happen in a campaign is analysis paralysis. To paralyze a campaign by over-analyzing the outcome of deci- sions will result in missed opportunities and the wasting of resources. This organization is filled with volunteers, not paid staff. Remember, you can never fire a volunteers — they just stop coming in! In a campaign, the job of Campaign Manager is especially difficult. Never before has there been a coalition of special political interest groups (SPIGs) in the election process. There will be the usual active ten percent of the volunteer base who wants to do some- thing in a typical campaign, but there are quite a few groups who bring are now attract- ing additional people to help. Your job is to bring those groups into the campaign. You must reach out to each of them and give them a meaningful job in the campaign. Your first job is to listen! GFA Root Camp™ – 12 – Core Training 101
  • 13. You, a Candidate? [Note: Although some of these materials may refer to a particular party, the materials were in- cluded because they are equally applicable to any party's officeholders and campaigns.] So you are thinking about serving your community by running for public office. Even if you aren’t politically experienced or well known, your eagerness to serve, combined with your passion for an issue or desire to make a difference, is your calling card. Before You Announce Your Candidacy The best thing you can do as early as possible is talk with a sitting or past Democratic officeholder from your district such as a state representative, select- man, or town clerk, or the chair of your local Democratic Committee. Then seek out community leaders to ask for their input or advice. Ask what issues are impor- tant to them and just listen. Personalized “Thank You” notes show respect for the people who gave you their time, and you’ll get positive feedback. Start Your Calendar After you have “interviewed” a legislator or political officeholder, find out the dates for filing your candidacy from your town/city clerk. Stop by the clerk’s of- fice in advance and ask for a copy of the filing document so you’ll know what in- formation you’ll need when you formally file in person. Sign Up for Candidate Trainings Sign up for all the candidate trainings you can find. They’re often free or have a small fee, and are priceless. In addition to opportunities your state party provides, there are several other activist organizations that may be offering training sessions. Family of Candidate Make sure they have a specific task (e.g., fundraising, walking specific districts); otherwise, they will be looking for things to do and will be more of a distraction to the campaign than an asset. For more information on becoming a candidate, see Addendum II: “A Race Well Run: A Guide for First-Time Candidates Running for Public Office.” GFA Root Camp™ – 13 – Core Training 101
  • 14. Campaign Organization: How to Do It All Campaign Daily Structure The daytime is used for preparation for the field campaign and to make fund- raising calls. Calls can be made to seniors if you pull a targeted phone list. Re- member that a campaign is full of long days and nights, so make sure you don’t wear yourself out early. Office hours can be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., to allow for a little sleep. Typical Campaign Structures I. Campaign Manager structure—smaller, local campaigns a. Manager runs the show b. More tightly integrated to Candidate II. Consultant structure—larger campaigns a. Campaign manager executes day to day; Consultant makes all decisions b. Consultant crafts message and strategy i. General Consultant ii. Mail/Media Consultant iii. Field Consultant A winning campaign has a winning field plan. A field plan is an amazing thing. It tells you exactly what resources you need and when. Things To Consider When putting together campaign operation field plans, you must consider and be familiar with the campaign’s Theme, Message, Objectives, Tactics, Outreach, Cal- endar, Timeline, Budget, and Evaluation Benchmarks. GFA Root Camp™ – 14 – Core Training 101
  • 15. SAMPLE ELECTION CALENDAR (2006) (JUN 2006) (JUL ’06) (AUG ’06) -5 Months -4 Months -3 Months • Internet outreach net- • PURCHASE EARLY • Order lawn and store working and group VOTER FILES signs list building; inter- • Voter registration • Materials to printer active media releases • ESTABLISH MEDIA • Begin early walking • Organizer training GOALS • Produce voter outreach • Obtain and review • Establish GOTV goals Materials and inter- campaign baseline • New release topic II active media pieces polls • Begin ad placements • News release topic I • Set voter contact plan • News release III: voter awareness efforts (SEP ’06) (OCT ’06) (NOV ’06) -2 Months -1 Month ELECTION MONTH • Begin distribution of • VOTER AWARENESS • GOTV—Get Out the Vote message pieces; roll VISIBILITY EVENTS • ELECTION DAY! Be- out roadside signage; • Voter awareness letter- gin door knocker deliv- release yard signs writing campaign ery at 5:00 a.m.; activate • Volunteer training • Contact early and ab- Election Day plan. • Begin MAILINGS sentee voters—GITV • Study election results; is- and SENDING of di- • GITV phone banking sue prepared statements; rect media and elec- • Flyer key neighbor- conduct winner press tronic distribution of hoods with literature conferences, and cele- October interactive • Confirm volunteers for brate! media voter awareness work- • Submit evaluation re- • Yard and storefront shops ports to Precinct Cap- signage distribution • Hire Election Day staff tains and Team Leaders • GITV—phone bank- • Election Day training ing and voter aware- kits to Precinct Captains ness GFA Root Camp™ – 15 – Core Training 101
  • 16. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Volunteer Management • Recruiting and Developing Good Volunteers • Putting Volunteers to Work Sandra Ramos, Aldon Hynes, Marsha Moody VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT Recruiting and Developing Good Volunteers Putting Volunteers to Work GFA Root Camp™ – 16 – Core Training 101
  • 17. Volunteers and Outreach Volunteers: The Invaluable Campaign Resource You can spend thousands of dollars on mail and TV—which are helpful—but nothing will win a campaign more than your ground work. That means you need volunteers. People The campaign is about talking to voters. Every part of the campaign uses resources (people, time, and money) to support the conversation the campaign has with the voters. Since paid media and fundraising consume over 75% of the campaign’s budget, the rest of the campaign is forced to rely on the people to compensate for the lack of money. These people are called volunteers. Why do people volunteer? Volunteering fulfills some need for the volunteer. Recognizing that need will make us better managers. Volunteers are Donors. Volunteers are like donors. They give us their time, instead of their money. They should be treated like donors: Targeted Educated Solicited Thanked Re-solicited GFA Root Camp™ – 17 – Core Training 101
  • 18. Remember what happens when we substitute people for money. If volunteers are used to accomplish a task in place of money, it take more time to complete the task. Volunteers are not free. It costs the campaign resources to recruit, train, and manage its volunteers. The campaign must decide what tasks are going to be done by volunteers and which are going to be paid for with cash. Field operations are volunteer-intensive. In the field communications model, the campaign recruits volunteers to deliver the campaign’s message to voters. The proper recruitment, training, and management of the volunteers are, therefore, critical to the delivery of the campaign’s message. Poor volunteer management will mean poor message delivery. Volunteers are necessary in all parts of the campaign to support paid staffers and sometimes even to manage parts of the campaign. It is typical in major campaigns to have volunteers act as assistants to paid staffers. The campaign cannot perform well without the services of volunteers. They may be looking for a paying job and see volunteering as a step toward the payroll. GFA Root Camp™ – 18 – Core Training 101
  • 19. Election Day Assignments You will need the following to run a good Election Day operation: GOTV director • Office staff • Precinct captains (precinct leaders) • Phoners • Poll watchers • Passers • Drivers • You will get a flood of folks who are used to showing up for Election Day. By then, you will have won the election, but it’s OK to get them to work anyway. So what do you need volunteers to do? 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 immedi- ately of any potential problems. They must not get bogged down doing any one particu- lar thing, such as passing out palm cards. Specific responsibilities for the precinct cap- tain 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 positive voters get to the polls to vote. It is absolutely critical that your precinct captains be reliable. You must test them at various intervals throughout the campaign to find out which ones will perform and which will not. You cannot simply make assump- tions based on their history of support. 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 who 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 suspi- cious activities. They must start the day by making sure that the ballot box is empty be- fore 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 GFA Root Camp™ – 19 – Core Training 101
  • 20. 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 re- sponsible 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 should be widely known and persuasive because they 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 at each polling place to guarantee there are no less than two on duty at any given time. Drivers At least one—preferably two—people 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 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. GFA Root Camp™ – 20 – Core Training 101
  • 21. Training Your Volunteers To make the best and most dependable use of volunteers, you must train them. Frequently. Every volunteer must be trained to accomplish the task he or she is assigned. Training means teaching adults the proper way to accomplish the task. Teaching adults is hard. Most adults respond poorly to lecture and worse to written instructions. You want to in- sure that the task at hand is done well. It is part of your campaign’s conversation with the voter. Quality control is critical. The best way to train adults is to have them learn the task under your instruction and su- pervision in a way that gives them hands-on experience. In the example of the envelope stuffing, volunteers should be shown how the labels are applied, how the letters are folded and inserted into the envelope, and how the postage is applied. These seemly triv- ial steps will matter when the recipient of the letter ascribes the slipshod application of the label or the multi-creased letter to a poorly run campaign. Every volunteer must be trained. Training insures quality control. Adults learn best by doing. Use role-playing in your training. Demonstrate techniques. Observe execution. Demonstrate again. Good management requires that volunteers understand why what they are doing is important. Only when you are satisfied with the volunteer’s abilities do you allow him or her to represent the campaign—whether that representation is stuffing an envelope or knocking on a door. Every time a volunteer comes back, he or she is trained again. Subsequent trainings will take less time. Quality control demands that everyone is trained every time. After you have trained your volunteers, be available in case they have questions or problems. A volunteer should know to whom they report and whom they can ask for assistance. GFA Root Camp™ – 21 – Core Training 101
  • 22. Never set up a system where the volunteers are unmanaged and then expect timely, quality completion of the task. Volunteers are the lifeblood of every local campaign. A good volunteer is worth his or her weight in gold. Make sure all your volunteers are treated with respect. Post welcome signs around your campaign office, hang photographs, and do whatever else is necessary to keep your office friendly and open to volunteers. Try not to run a sweatshop. Make volunteering fun. Feed your volunteers. Schedule time for breaks. REMEMBER: You cannot thank your volunteers enough! Thank volunteers as soon as they arrive. ◊ Be aware of how they will be greeted. Thank them when they finish. ◊ When the task is complete, thank the volunteers again. This is the begin- ning of the crucial re-solicitation. If their task has been enjoyable, recruit them to come again on the spot. Do not use the hard sell, but as you thank them make sure they know how much they are needed and appreciated. Thank them with special recognition. ◊ Give superior volunteers recognition in the campaign. You can have a vol- unteer recognition in the office. A little candidate attention goes a long way. ◊ You can send personal “Thank You” notes from the candidate and senior staff. You can never thank them too much. GFA Root Camp™ – 22 – Core Training 101
  • 23. MANAGEMENT Good management requires that your volunteers understand how what they are do- ing fits into the campaign’s plan. Training means not only teaching adults the proper way to accomplish the task at hand but also explaining how that task is part of the campaign’s conversation with the voter. Simply telling 34 volunteers “We have to stuff 10,000 in three hours” is not very motivating. Instead, Let them in on the plan. Tell them: “We have to stuff 10,000 envelopes in the next three hours so that they can be in the mail by 10 p.m. We are stuffing letters to known Democratic do- nors with information about our candidate and our issues. Beginning next week, our candidate and fundraising committee will call all these donors to solicit contributions. Our getting their letters in the mail tonight means that the donors will have the information in front of them when the candidate calls and will be more likely to contribute. Our goal is to raise $50,000 from these calls in the next three weeks so that we can go on television be- fore our opponent. You are critical to this effort. Please take your job seri- ously.” Now they are part of the campaign. They know that they are important. CLEAR COMMUNICATION “I don’t know” and “I have a problem.” Everyone should learn and use these phrases. The bottom line is that you’re work- ing on the campaign because you want to win, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help and let people know when you don’t know something. It’s called “team- work.” If you’re a manager, you should listen for these phrases; how you address them can make the difference between the success and failure of your campaign, between winning—and losing! Some campaign workers do not know these phrases; their campaigns are disasters. Ignorance spreads, problems metastasize. GFA Root Camp™ – 23 – Core Training 101
  • 24. Food You cannot expect workers to be on their feet for 16 hours straight without food, drink, or rest. ◊ All Election Day workers should be fed and rested, if only briefly. ◊ Food should be delivered to poll watchers and poll workers. ◊ A poll worker who is not delivered food may have to leave the polling place to eat, and there is a chance they might not return. ◊ Nothing is more disheartening for a worker than to see the opposition workers being brought food and a drink during the day. ◊ Election Day food varies from region to region and can get quite interesting, so be sensitive to where your workers are from! ◊ The campaign should at least provide coffee and doughnuts in the morning, sandwiches at midday, and dinner in the evening for workers on Election Day. ◊ Organizing Election Day food is a good task to give the volunteers who do not like to do voter contact. You must pass out perks to the best volunteers from time to time. ◊ This may mean a free pizza or the chance to shake hands with a VIP who comes to the district to campaign for the day. ◊ Some campaigns also post the name or photograph of the volunteer who has worked the most hours that month. ◊ This will either create loyalty or jealousy among your volunteers, so let your volunteer coordinator do as he or she thinks best. You must set regular schedules for all the volunteers possible. ◊ This makes the volunteers feel more important and allows the campaign to schedule work for them to do. ◊ Volunteers will come to think of the campaign as a regular part of their week. Wednesdays can become “Suzie’s Day” to go help out at the campaign, etc. Use volunteers wisely. ◊ If someone shows up ready to knock on doors, get that person some materials and get them out on the street. ◊ If volunteers feel that you do not need them, they will not come back. On the other hand, if they believe there is always important work to do, they will start showing up regularly at the office. ◊ Do not send a volunteer that speaks only Spanish into areas where no one will understand them. Don’t send English speakers into Spanish-speaking areas. GFA Root Camp™ – 24 – Core Training 101
  • 25. KEEP YOUR VOLUNTEERS OUT OF DANGER! Make sure that your volunteers also receive some basic training to stay out of trou- ble. They should be warned not to engage in any illegal or provocative behavior. You never want to find yourself going on television to explain that your campaign was indeed responsible for some disaster, but “we cannot control the actions of a few over-enthusiastic volunteers.” The opposition is working hard enough to cause you problems, so there is no reason to cause your own. What do you need ? Let’s make a list of things you might need. And remember, you are going to need these things for every day your office is open! Food o Coffee, sugar, tea, sodas, water, doughnuts, pizza, cups, plates, nap- kins, spoons, forks Paper products o toilet paper, hand towels, copy paper—reams and reams and reams Cleaning products o Got a toilet? Need cleaning products. Office Supplies o Light bulbs, pens, pencils, computers, desks, tables, chairs, filing cabi- nets, markers, highlighters, in-boxes, phones o Calendar What else? o o o o o GFA Root Camp™ – 25 – Core Training 101
  • 26. Management Exercise List some tasks you will need to have your volunteers do. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) Now, how many hours will you need to get those tasks done? HINT: Break each task down into its smallest unit and then calculate how many volunteers it will take given the time allocated. Remember: Total Units/ Units per Hour = Hours Needed 10,000 Units/ 100 per Hour = 100 Hours Needed Hours Needed/ Hours Allocated = Number of Volunteers Needed 100 Hours Needed/ 3 Hours Allocated = 33.3 or 34 volunteers Who will help you, and how will you organize them? GFA Root Camp™ – 26 – Core Training 101
  • 27. If you need 34 volunteers to accomplish a task, how many do you recruit? A) 34 B) 50 C) 68 The answer is: it depends. The answer is certainly not 34. You should always plan on fewer volunteers showing up than committed. Will 50 do? Perhaps, but they ought to be volunteers whose reliability is proven. It is better to figure your recruitment goals at twice the need until you get a better idea of the reality of the volunteer pool. Suppose you have 117,000 absentee ballot voters in your county with phones. This is a non-duplicated number, which will be the target of phone banking. How many phone callers will it take for you to call all these voters, and how long will it take? Let’s make it simple. For example…………… How many calls can a person make in an hour? Q or 20 How many hours will a caller call in a day? H or 8 Q times H = C or 160 (total calls per phone per day) OK, so how many callers do you really have per day? P or 25 P times C = X or 3900 (the total number of calls per day) D or 30 (Number of days it will take to call) = 117,000 divided by X This is the number of volunteers (P) that you need to feed and care for during the next thirty days (D). See how this works? Where are you going to work? Office location It’s got to be free or donated. Attached to this training manual is an in-kind contribution form. o Everybody who gives to this campaign must fill out a form. You will need to keep a copy and give them one. That means you need a copy machine, right? GFA Root Camp™ – 27 – Core Training 101
  • 28. VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT 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 an thor- ough 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 efficiently. Working With Volunteers: Key Principles 1) Volunteers should feel valuable. - Volunteers should be greeted upon arriving, never left standing. - Volunteers should always be given CONTEXT for their task. - Volunteers should feel that you have a task waiting just for them. - Give them something appropriate for their experience. 2) Give specific tasks and set clear goals. - The goal will give them a sense of purpose and direction beyond the big-picture “win the campaign” goal. - Achieving a challenging goal gives volunteers a sense of accomplishment. - Volunteers are more efficient when you are nearby, working or supervising. 3) Treat them well. - Feed them. This is especially important on E-day. On E-day, deliver the food yourself. - Pass out perks (eg, picture with the candidate) to your best volunteers. 4) Lead by example - The second most inspiring sight for volunteers is to see staff roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work alongside volunteers. - The most inspiring thing is when the candidate joins in. 5) Before they leave . . . - Schedule a time for volunteers to come back again. - Better yet, work out a schedule for the month. - Make sure you do a quick debriefing 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. 6) Work out a good volunteer tracking system. - Know what they did, what they’re good at, and how to reach them again. GFA Root Camp™ – 28 – Core Training 101
  • 29. 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. Objective: Identify 500 voters’ preferences in the next three days Tactic: Phonebanking 1. List of tasks a. Calling voters 2. Calculate time requirements a. You know (or we’ll assume): i. 30 calls/hour ii. 33% avg. contact rate iii. 80% response rate iv. 8 voters ID’d/hour v. 500 voters ID’d = 62.5 hours of calling 3. You have call hours arranged for three shifts, 5:30–8:30 p.m. a. One person calling for one shift = 24 voters ID’d. b. You need 21 (20.83) shifts filled. c. 7 volunteers calling on 7 phones for 3 hours each in the next 3 days accomplishes your objective. 4. Assign volunteers a. Do you have 7 scheduled to come in? Will you need to recruit them? A good campaign does 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 train- ing). If you do the math, you’ll be able to predict and troubleshoot any potential problems or shortfalls (if, in the above example, you only had five phones, you would realize you could have a problem and fix it before it’s too late). GFA Root Camp™ – 29 – Core Training 101
  • 30. 1:15–2:20 p.m. Data and Data Mining for GOTV Banking the Vote with GITV Sandra Ramos, Sarah John DATA AND DATA MINING FOR GOTV BANKING THE VOTE WITH GITV GFA Root Camp™ – 30 – Core Training 101
  • 31. Data – Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! The key to a successful campaign Lets face some real facts! All politics is local. Most people look at the Blue and the Red in terms of the whole nation. This is a terrible mistake. Do you know your state? GFA Root Camp™ – 31 – Core Training 101
  • 32. Take another look at America! Make your message clear to the parts that matter! What can you expect in terms of output from your county? The Electorate The foundation of any campaign is an accurate vote count. The first step in that process is determining registration and probable turnout for the race. Check with the elections department or registrar of voters for the county in which your elec- tion is being held. How many voters can you expect to be working with? GFA Root Camp™ – 32 – Core Training 101
  • 33. So, How Do You Do It? First you will need to contact your County Registrar and get the voter file (“WITH HISTORY”) from them of all persons who have requested absentee ballots for your election. Find your Registrar. Get to know her/him; s/he is your friend. Find a Data Person. You must find the data person who will get you the data you need. Tasks to be done: 1) Get the Voter File from your County. Local County Central Committees have a free copy that you can get, or you may need to make arrangements to buy it by getting an in-kind contribution of the file. 2) Then you must get the copy of the Absentee Ballot Request List, which is a separate file, and it will cost. The file type will depend on the county data system. You must find out how often this absentee file is renewed with data. 3) Your job is to identify the cost and get the files donated in-kind or buy them yourself and submit an in-kind contribution form to the campaign. The cost of the files will vary from county to county. 4) When you get the Voter File, first dump all members of opposing parties from the file (keep Independents and “Declined To State Party Affiliation” voters). They are not in your universe. Keep the dumped file in an archive; you will need it later. 5) When you get your absentee file, run it against the cleaned-up Voter File and dump all members of opposing parties from the file; again, they are not in your universe. Remember that your county may or may not have the resources to do calling of all voters. Your job is making sure that you have a list that is usable. Remember, 78% of all absentee voters will vote. THIS GROUP OF VOTERS ARE THE PRIORITY. Your job will be to update the file and keep the callers and walkers with the most current data. 6) Check the dump against the archived file to make sure that you purged all the members of opposing parties out. 7) Next set up your absentee file in whatever database program you are using for a call walk sheet. GFA Root Camp™ – 33 – Core Training 101
  • 34. Get-In-The-Vote (GITV) Data: the lonely, thankless job. Do Absentee Voters Vote? The answer is yes— when they are asked! The reality is that many absentee voters return their ballots as soon as they get them. Why are they not being pulled out of the robocalls and GOTV mail? The answer is simple: somebody will lose money! Mail and media con- sultants are not paid to win the election; they are paid for their products. Voters make up their minds and vote when they want to! GOTV begins when absentee ballots are received. Not on Election Day! GFA Root Camp™ – 34 – Core Training 101
  • 35. Working with Data for GITV and GOTV Eight Weeks Before Election Get the Voter Files and set them up. Prepare the initial absentee ballot walk/call lists. Run the Voter File against the Absentee File to fill in missing phone numbers. o If you have a reverse directory available to you, run the missing voters and get the missing phone numbers. Get the call/walk lists to the Volunteer Coordinator. Get the total voter number list by precinct to the Campaign Coordinator. Establish a spreadsheet by precinct of absentee ballots to retrieve campaign targets in each precinct. Six Weeks Before Election Get the new absentee file from the county and add all new persons who have requested absentee ballots. Four Weeks Before Election Get the new absentee file and add all new persons and remove all persons who have voted. Print new call sheets for each precinct or print a list of all who have been added and voted so that volunteers can add or remove voters. Two Weeks Before Election Get the new absentee file, add all new persons, and remove all who have voted. Print new call sheets for each precinct or print a list of all who have been added and voted so that volunteers can add or remove voters. One Week Before Election Get the new absentee file, add all new persons, and remove all who have voted. Print new call sheets for each precinct or print a list of all who have been added and voted so that volunteers can add or remove voters. Election Day Get the new absentee file, add all new persons, and remove all voters who have voted. GFA Root Camp™ – 35 – Core Training 101
  • 36. Print new call sheets for each precinct noting the outstanding absentee ballots and all identified and targeted voters for Election Day. GFA Root Camp™ – 36 – Core Training 101
  • 37. Get-Out-The-Vote GOTV is the culmination of all of your campaign’s work. You have conducted an ongo- ing conversation with the voters. Your campaign plan identifies how many votes you need to win. Through targeted, direct, and personal voter contact you have identified each of your supporters. You have run an aggressive absentee/vote-by-mail/early vote effort. Now it is time to get your supporters who haven’t voted to the polls. GOTV is not the time for persuasion. Now is the time for get- ting your supporters to the polls. On to Election Day! Election Day Assignments Remember what we discussed earlier when we covered election day assignments? You will need the following to run a good Election Day operation: GOTV director • Office staff • Precinct captains (precinct leaders) • Phoners • Poll watchers • Passers • Drivers • You will get a flood of folks who are used to showing up for Election Day. By then, you will have won the election, but it’s OK to get them to work anyway! GFA Root Camp™ – 37 – Core Training 101
  • 38. MAP MADNESS! Cutting Turf is Not Mowing the Lawn! Sarah John Why Map? Resources are limited: Time, People, Money! • Good maps save Time! • Good maps save People! Increase volunteer efficiency and improve their experience of being on the street: they’ll come back for more! • Good maps save Money! Get the job done the first time = less mail, fewer calls, more votes! Good maps increase turnout! You win! Nuts and Bolts • Goal: provide canvass teams with quick, efficient, accurate means to reach voters. • Use for ID/persuasion canvass, lit drops, GOTV, candidate walks, registra- tion drives. • Some folks are geographically challenged. Make it possible for them to help you by mapping and routing for them. • Tool Kit: Map Point, MapQuest, Streets and Trips, Google Maps, ADC Book Maps, AAA. Swiss Army Knife. • Most campaigns work forwards: Sort out voters, make a map, find how to get to them. Must redo with every new set of voter ID’s or change in uni- verse. • Must redo with every new campaign. Many last-minute hours staring at maps to find locations and sort voter lists. • Often canvassers are just given a list and a county map—the “do it your- self” method. • Don’t do this! • Time, People . . . GFA Root Camp™ – 38 – Core Training 101
  • 39. Tool Kit • Nice maps! • Can easily shift map area with mouse. • All streets named. • Can’t export image. • Can’t import large files, pins addresses 1 by 1 only. • Must search set address. • Hard to read. • Unnamed streets or lost perspective. • Can’t import files. • Poor magnification, less detail. • Can’t import large files. • Directions can be inaccurate. • Easy to find given address location. • Tool Kit. Streets and Trips $50 software must be installed. • Entire country! Enlarges as desired with dragpoints. • Shows one-ways, obstacles, street breaks. • Can import large pinpoint files and locate them easily. • Can export list of voter names and addresses onto map as data im- • port file. • Multiple locations can then be routed visually. • Can be routed using buttons on program for limited routes (yard signs), but this feature is not very useful for voter ID routes. Swiss Army Knife combination tool. GFA Root Camp™ – 39 – Core Training 101
  • 40. Precincts or Districts? Working a District where you will cover the entire territory is different from indi- vidual precinct work. You will hit every street at some time. However, your organiza- tion will be improved by using precinct maps for both efforts. • Overlay the boundaries of the precinct, and draw boundaries clearly on the map. Label the top with precinct name, number, ward, CD, magisterial dis- trict, other identifiers. Multiple copies. • Verbal descriptions can be challenging! But they can help when schematic is confusing or area is complex. • Divide area into natural groupings: by neighborhoods, by street groupings, by geographic barriers, by highway barriers. This requires a good look at the map with thought to travel connections. Use S&T to locate travel obsta- cles (one-ways, frontage roads, streams, etc). • If possible, drive the area! Kindergarten es Gut! • Color each split to help it stand out on the map. Provide multiple copies, at least one per team, no less than two. • Stay within the lines! Don’t send a team outside of the precinct boundary except in very rare circumstances ( e.g. road doesn’t connect within its own precinct). • Make master list, alphabetical, every street or road in precinct. Excel is very nice for this! • Make separate list of streets for each grouping or “split” or “cut.” Mark the “split” number on master list as well. Print one sort as master, one sort by split number, then alphabetic. Keep It Simple! • Obtain the registered voter file from the electoral board, auditor of elec- tions, state party, or county committee. Data should include name, address, birth date, primary voting history. • Tag the voter file with information from phone banks, earlier campaigns, and events—support, volunteer, yard signs, issues. GFA Root Camp™ – 40 – Core Training 101
  • 41. It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over! • Beat Feet on the street or drive to voters as most efficient for your area. • Return to office and retrieve all maps, routes, markers, pens, info from teams. • Debrief for any problems or problem areas. • Feed and water your teams. Thank them! After the Ball… • Capture your data after every canvass! Do not rely on “the Precinct captain knows everybody”! • Data entry of all new ID’s, all changes to household information (deceased, moved, new voters). • Capture any info re: issues that matter to the household. Yard signs? Absentee? Will they volunteer for you? Swiss Army Maps • Routes can be permanent if you will be covering an entire district, every door. • If only going to ID’d doors (may be only your voters and/or only persuadable voters), then routes themselves may vary as ID’d households are added during a campaign, and will vary again with next campaign/election. But….. • The maps and splits never change until there are new streets, new boundaries. • No last-minute all-night sessions to cut turf. • Once it’s done, it’s done. • This will save you many hours during each election campaign, which adds up over a ten-year districting cycle: People, Money, Time! Rules of the Road • An average canvas team can cover 75 houses per hour for lit drop. Slower if more rural or voter contact. • Never, ever, send out a lone canvasser. • Teams can do odds/evens or leap frog, but members stay in sight of each other and don’t enter homes. GFA Root Camp™ – 41 – Core Training 101
  • 42. Walking Precincts In this campaign there will be little time, if any, for walking precincts, but assum- ing that there is some (you always have to be ready), the data person will be re- quired to produce a precinct list that includes all voters registered to your party as well as Independent voters with the walk list based upon the phone exemplar. Each walker will be given a precinct that is set up to be walked. The script is simple: Hi. Is Mr./Ms. ___________ at home? I am campaigning for _________________. Have you made up your mind yet? [If they say “no” then say . . . ] I am voting for __________ [or issue campaign] because s/he has the best chance of beating ___________ and has always been the only candidate who has demonstrated fiscal responsibility by balancing the budget while providing health care for everyone. Can I count on your vote on Election Day? [Mark the household on your list with yes, no, or undecided. Keep walking.] Thank you for your time. If it is early in the campaign and you have more time to talk, the contact can grow into a longer conversation with a swing voter. If you have such a luxury, take a minute to review the “Talking To Swing Voters” guide, prepared by Todd Smyth, included in the Addenda. GFA Root Camp™ – 42 – Core Training 101
  • 43. Phone Banks You are already behind! You need to hit the ground running. The phone bank is one of the most commonly used forms of voter contact for voter identification and voter turnout. These can also be used to recruit volunteers, raise money, and build crowds for events. The field director should determine which precincts or which voters are to be called each night. The phone bankers should make the calls in priority order. Once you decide what part phone banking is going to play in your overall voter contact program, you then need to determine: how many phone calls you need to make, the number of identification phone calls and GITV calls, how many phones you will need to complete the calls, and then calculate the number of phones and hours it will take to do the job. Once you’ve calculated the number of calls and number of phones you need, you should decide whether you want to make the calls through volunteers on your own phone bank or use volunteers phoning at home. Let’s face it: this is going to be a cell phone operation. The cheapest way to make calls is to use volunteers making calls from home or at a central location using cell phones. “At home” phoners are the least reliable of all phoners. o Volunteers phoning from home require a lot more supervision, and it is un- likely that all but the best volunteers will complete all of their calls. A good strategy is to use paid phones to call your most important target areas or voters, and then use volunteers to call the less crucial areas. GFA Root Camp™ – 43 – Core Training 101
  • 44. Phone Bank Location The location should have room for a separate break area. The phone bank coordinator should be present when the phones are being put in to make sure they are installed in the correct location. Phone-Bank Location Checklist Is it safe? Does it have adequate heating and air conditioning? Does the building have enough phone lines and cable pairs? Are the acoustics good in the room where you are putting in the phones? Is there a rest room available? Is there free or accessible parking? Can you get there by public transportation? Is the building accessible to the disabled? Are there tables and chairs? What else can you think of? Phone Bank Coordinator: Supervision Is Critical! The phone bank coordinator or volunteer coordinator should listen to each phoner as he or she makes the first few calls. Not everyone is suited for phone calling. The phone bank coordinator is responsible for making sure the phone bank is full. The coordinator should schedule two to three shifts a day. Remember to recruit twice as many volunteers as you have phones. It is the job of the volunteer coordinator to make sure that each phone bank location and volunteer has the right phone lists to call. Clear instruction should be given on the method used by the campaign to mark the phone lists. The marking systems should be displayed promi- nently on the walls in front of each phone. GFA Root Camp™ – 44 – Core Training 101
  • 45. Phone-Bank Kit Sign in sheets Script Instructions Voter list on paper or computer list on computers Tally sheet Fact sheet Cue cards Volunteer cards In-kind contribution cards Phone Rules: Make sure you understand what you are doing. Smile—they can tell. Make calls in priority order. Stick to the script. Use a uniform marking system. Don’t get into prolonged discussions; move on. Allow for five rings. Ask to speak to an adult. Leave the sheet blank if the phone was busy or if no one was home. If you get a wrong number, don’t cross the name off. Try to find the correct number elsewhere. IMPORTANT: Most phoning should take place during the evening hours (6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.) and all day Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.). Sunday calling is acceptable in some areas, but not in others. Also, daytime phoning during the week is an option, particularly if you are falling behind schedule. You will have to concentrate on voters over 65 during the day, as they are the ones at home. What do you say when you call a voter from a phone bank? In a normal campaign a script for a straight identification call is used. But we don’t have time for that. In GITV and GOTV we know that there will be thousands of vot- ers with ballots in their homes. Your job is to harvest them. GFA Root Camp™ – 45 – Core Training 101
  • 46. Sample Phone Tally Report Sheet: Item Today Cumulative Number Hours Called Total Calls Placed Busy – No Answers Total Calls Completed Total Yes Total No Total Undecided Total Voted Supervisor’s Instructions For Phone Bank As supervisor of the phone bank, you will be responsible for all phoning activity and the general productivity of the phone bank. You will be calling from lists of registered voters in the targeted pre- cincts. o The phone coordinator will give your phoning lists to you. You will be responsible for keeping your phones filled during all phon- ing hours. You will need to hold a training session for your phoners the first night. o This need only last about one-half hour. o Rehearse the phone message with volunteers, instruct them in marking the tally sheets, etc. Run shifts for 4 hours. Assign phoners on a shift basis each day. Be pleasant and courteous. Encourage your phoners constantly. Reward good performance. Be watchful for trouble areas with phoners. It is your responsibility to total all tally sheets and compute the statisti- cal evaluation sheets. Do this at the end of each shift. Collect special request forms periodically. o Don’t let them pile up. o Refer them to whoever will do follow-up with more information about your candidate, issue, or campaign. GFA Root Camp™ – 46 – Core Training 101
  • 47. Vote by Mail Script Callers, remember: you are the voice of the campaign; you must sound courteous to the rude, apologetic to the angry, and bring a smile into the house that you are calling. Think of being on the other end of this call yourself at dinnertime. Make sure that you rest every twenty calls. If you are tired or upset, it will show in your voice. If you have any questions, stop and ask your team leader. Reaffirmation script: Hi, my name is________, and I’m a volunteer with the ______ Campaign. I am sorry to bother you. May I ask, have you sent in your mail-in ballot? (If yes, say thank you and hang up, mark your call sheet “voted,” and go on to the next voter. If they say they haven’t received it yet or if they haven’t mailed it in yet, say….) I need your help; I am calling you to ask you to join me and other voters in choosing ____________________. Have you made up your mind on who you are voting for? (If they say anything really negative, apologize for bothering them and hang up and mark your call sheet “no.” If they say they are a supporter, you say…) It is important to make sure that all the ballots are postmarked by _________. Is there anything I can do to help you cast your ballot? (Mark your sheet “yes” and say thanks for your support, and keep dialing.) (If they say they are undecided, say…) One of the reasons I am voting for ___________ is that s/he was the first __________ to ____________________. S/He is the only candidate who has balanced a budget, created thousands of jobs, and provided health care for all of the residents of his state. He has inspired the largest grassroots organization in the country, forever revolutionizing the American political process. (If they say they still haven’t made up their mind, say…) OK, but remember to vote by [Date]. We need for you to show the [the Other Guys] that we are focused on _______________. (Mark your sheet “undecided” and say thanks for taking the call, and keep dialing.) GFA Root Camp™ – 47 – Core Training 101
  • 48. Typical Election Day Schedule Be there at 5:00 a.m. on Election Day. Continue Mail-In Ballot Drive through GOTV. Drivers begin distributing doorknock- ers, and precinct captains arrive at polling place. Captains 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 every- thing 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 buys lunch for volunteers. 2 p.m. Second Run Poll watcher gives precinct captain the index cards for all positive vot- ers who 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 vot- ers who 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 vot- ers who 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. GFA Root Camp™ – 48 – Core Training 101
  • 49. Volunteers clean up signs and other campaign literature around the polls. GFA Root Camp™ – 49 – Core Training 101
  • 50. Sample Election Day Scripts To identified supporters only: Make sure that you have the polling place for this precinct in a clear place for you to see. First Call (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) “Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms.___________? This is _________. I’m calling for __________. The election today will be very close and _____________ will need your vote. Can we give you a ride to the polls, or help you vote in any other way?” (If an absentee voter, say…Please take your ballot to any polling place and turn it in.) IF YES: (Fill out service slip / Q slip and give it to the appropriate person.) IF NO: “As you know, you vote at ________ and you can vote until ____________. Please do vote today, Mr./ Mrs. / Ms. ____________. Goodbye.” IF VOTED: “Thanks for voting.” Mark on the sheet. Second Call (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) “Hello, Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. ___________? This is __________. I’m calling for _______. We called this morning, but since then we have found out that not many people have voted yet, so your vote is doubly important. Is there anything we can do to help you vote? A ride?” IF YES: (Fill out service slip / Q slip and give it to the appropriate person.) IF NO: “As you know, you vote at ________ and you can vote until ____________. Please do vote today, Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. ______________. Goodbye.” IF VOTED: “Thanks for voting.” Mark on the sheet. Third and Last Call (5 p.m. to Closing) “Hi, Mr. / Mrs. _____________. This is ____________. The voting looks to be very close, so ____________ really needs your vote. Can we give you a ride to the polls?” IF YES: (Fill out service slip / Q slip and give it to the appropriate person.) IF NO: “OK, but please vote before ________ . There are only _____________ min- utes left to vote. You vote at____________. Thank you, Mr./ Mrs. / Ms. ____________. Goodbye.” IF VOTED: “Thanks for voting.” Mark on the sheet. GFA Root Camp™ – 50 – Core Training 101
  • 51. 2:30–3:30 pm Workshops I // 3:40–4:40 pm Workshops II (choose one session per period from the following) • Earned Media for Grassroots Activism Bill Moyer and Brett Heath-Wlaz • Activating Your Base Quintus Jett and Megan Matson • Maximizing Year-Round Visibility and Productivity Nathan González GFA Root Camp™ – 51 – Core Training 101
  • 52. Earned Media for Grassroots Activism Bill Moyer and Brett Heath-Wlaz EARNED MEDIA FOR GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM GFA Root Camp™ – 52 – Core Training 101
  • 53. The Communications Model Campaign Message PRESS CAMPAIGN VOTER Feedback What is your campaign about? Theme and Message Theme The overarching rationale for your candidacy—the answer to the question, “Why you, now?” Races with incumbents are about the incumbent! The challenger must argue change. Reagan,1980: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” The incumbent must argue continuity. Reagan, 1984: “It’s morning in America.” Lincoln, 1864: “...Best not to change horses in the middle of a stream” Carter vs. Ford Change • Carter vs. Reagan Continuity • Mondale vs. Reagan Change • Dukakis vs. Bush Change • Clinton vs. Bush Change • Clinton vs. Dole Continuity • Kerry v. Bush Change • GFA Root Camp™ – 53 – Core Training 101
  • 54. Message: The message is a set of facts that reinforces your campaign theme. Your campaign plan is a series of communications. • Each message should reinforce a larger theme. • Each message should be as personal as possible. • You are trying to build a bridge between the candidate and the voters; each message is one support of that bridge. The Message Box Think and anticipate “SWOT” (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). What we say about us: What we say about them: What they say about us: What they say about themselves: Our theme: Our message: GFA Root Camp™ – 54 – Core Training 101
  • 55. Now that you know your campaign’s theme and message, it is your job to repeat that message in every communication with the voter. 27–9–3 Now that you have an idea on how to develop your campaign’s theme and mes- sage, how do you best best convey your message to the people? In 27 words in 9 seconds to make 3 points. 27 – 9 – 3 The 27-9-3 rule forces you to use clear and concise language and allows for easy and consistent repetition. Give it a try. Develop for yourself a 27-9-3 message for: What do Democrats stand for? What’s so great about Social Security? Why do you deserve a raise? GFA Root Camp™ – 55 – Core Training 101
  • 56. Why are you totally justified in getting a new _________? (e.g., pair of shoes, new car) GFA Root Camp™ – 56 – Core Training 101
  • 57. Message in the Field The Five “C”s: Concise, Clear, Consistent, Convincing, and Contrastive A campaign will spend the majority of its resources trying to get the candidate’s mes- sage out to the right set of target voters. You must know what the message is and be able to restate it. Remember, in many communities you are the campaign. Local press will look to you for advice and input into the story. You have to know what is going on if you are going to be quoted. Good Messages are CONCISE. 27-9-3. Go directly to the point. Avoid the complicated syllogisms. A good message can be expressed in a few phrases. Good Messages are CLEAR. Use stark language. Leave no doubt about whose side you are on. Earned Me- dia must complement and reinforce what is being said by the candidate and paid media. This can only happen if you are clear. Good Messages are CONSISTENT. Repeat, repeat, and repeat. Voter are barraged with a steady stream of conflict- ing information every day. You have a very small window of opportunity to reach the voter. Having multiple messages dilutes your ability to deliver a con- sistent theme. You must stay on message and repeat that message over and over and over again. Your message must be consistent and reinforcing. Good Messages are CONVINCING. Never, never, never lie. No short-term advantage gained through lying is worth the loss of credibility that occurs when caught in a lie, but truth is not enough. Voters must believe what you are saying; you must be credible. You risk credibility trying to convince voters of something they do not believe or care about. Is your message about something they care about? Good Messages are CONTRASTIVE. Your goal is to draw a distinction between you and your opponent. Voters need to have a basis on which to decide between you and the other(s); your job is to provide favorable contrast. Remember that you are battling for the moral high ground, so your message should be based on values. The practices, policies, and history of the candidate are there to help you reinforce your message. Campaign communications in the field involves public policy issues and positions. Your job is to clearly establish in the voter’s mind a clear impression about your GFA Root Camp™ – 57 – Core Training 101
  • 58. candidate or issue. Your candidate or spokesperson must be seen as sharing voters’ values and beliefs. What is “Media”? A mediated mode of communications. For our purposes, the media is an amplifier, a tool for getting out our message. Your Press Secretary or Communications Director should be the only person who handles press inquiries, writes press releases, and frames issues for the speechwriters. It’s all about the message! Control the Middle Box Who’s in the middle box? ♦ Reporters ♦ Editors ♦ Publishers and Owners Nine Steps to Controlling the Middle Box 1. Be honest and straightforward, and stay on message. 2. Keep the message clear. 3. Speak to your issues. 4. Speak with one voice. 5. Funnel questions to the candidate. 6. Refer appropriate questions to experts; help the Media get the story. (And don’t forget the VNR if you can afford it!) 7. Let humor evolve naturally; don’t force it. 8. Remember that everything you say will be used against you. 9. Be prepared; become a trusted resource. Think Out of the Box! GFA Root Camp™ – 58 – Core Training 101
  • 59. Press Relations Your job is to communicate with the voters. The reporter’s job is to communicate with the voters about you and your race. Controlling the middle box requires an understanding and appreciation of the reporter’s job. It also means that the cam- paign must actively seek out and nurture a relationship with the reporters, editors, and news organizations that will cover it. Earned Media is the campaign’s attempt to deliver its message to the voter via a credible third party: the news media. As with all communications where a third party is interposed between the sender and receiver, success depends on our ability to control the middle box in the communications model. Earned Media Is Credible! (Third-Party Validation) What’s news? Your news items should be: ♦ Relevant—People have to care about it. ♦ Quotable—Think 27-9-3. ♦ Sensory—You understand the story beyond just the words. ♦ Innovative—Find a unique focus to set the stage for your message. ♦ Timely—News is Now! Earned Media Includes: ♦ News articles/segments—any reported story in the paper or on the air ♦ Letters to the editor (LTEs), op-eds, and editorial endorsements ♦ Radio and TV interviews and appearances ♦ Talk radio call-ins ♦ Public service announcements (PSAs) GFA Root Camp™ – 59 – Core Training 101
  • 60. ORGANIZATIONAL CHARTS FOR TRADITIONAL MEDIA TELEVISION Owner AND RADIO Manager Community Affairs News Director Assignment Anchors Reporters Producers Desk Editor Publisher PRINT (newspapers) Managing Editor Columnists Editorial International City Editorial National Desk Editor Page Desk Board Desk Editor Editor Members Editor GFA Root Camp™ – 60 – Core Training 101
  • 61. Know your story to target your contact. Should you call the Assignment Desk Editor or the City Desk? All stories are local – even if they get national media! No matter how big the story, always find the local angle. Working with the Press Managing Relationships Do you have to like the reporters who cover you? No, and they do not have to like you. Your relationship is based on a mutual need to communicate with voters and readers. Develop and manage your relationship with the press based on a mutual understanding of your roles and professional respect. Do it early in the cycle – credibility takes time to build. While you should always be friendly, rarely if ever think that reporters are your friends; or if they are, they are chatty ones! Don’t give cause for a misunderstand- ing, don’t try to force a reporter to take a partisan bias in your favor. Yours is a relationship of mutual benefit. But only if you work at it. Understand that and de- velop it. Reporters may become your enemy if they feel slighted, if they think they are being lied to, or otherwise dealt with in an unprofessional manner. Undertake a concerted campaign to develop and nurture a relationship with the most important reporters. Rules for Working the Press Never lie. Even shading the truth can come back to haunt you and open up your character as a question on the campaign. There is no “off the record.” If you want to say something off the record, don’t say it. Find another way to get it into the dialogue. Stay on message. Strategy demands that you engage your opponent on issues that favor your candidate’s election. Do not get moved onto the opponent’s is- sues. Meet deadlines. Reporters work on deadlines. Know and honor them. Be prepared. Anticipate the reporter’s questions. Figure out how you are go- ing to state your message when a reporter tries to move you off of it. GFA Root Camp™ – 61 – Core Training 101
  • 62. Be quotable. This may mean being clever, insightful, or witty. It always means being brief. Remember that in campaigns, as in life, truth is an elusive concept and an elusive target. Understand that any issue can be framed in multiple ways. Framing is a small part of the larger skill of messaging and communicating with the media. All our communications with the media should keep in mind that the whole cam- paign is telling a story. All our communications should reinforce that story. Frame the truth using your language, your points, and your quotes. Press Tools A reporter’s job is to cover the news. You can’t help them do their job if you are not making any. Not everything you submit will get covered. You increase your chance of coverage if your news is relevant, quotable, visual, innovative, and timely. Relevant. Does your story matter to voters? Is it connected to current news? Quotable. Is there a quote that carries your message? Is it witty? Visual. Does the setting of your news tell a story? Does the candidate look natural in the setting? Innovative. Is the event new and unusual? Is it easy for the press to cover? Timely. Does your news speak to what is happening now? Read previous articles written by reporters assigned to your campaign. Listen to political talk radio and call-in programs. Get an idea of how you think the reporter will cover the race. Media Advisory Media advisories are informational statements of the candidate’s schedule of up- coming events. They are a “heads up” to the media, so that they can prepare to cover your campaign. Advisories should follow the same format as the press re- lease, but clearly state “Media Advisory” at the top center of the page. Statement A comment attributed to the candidate about a news event. Press Release GFA Root Camp™ – 62 – Core Training 101
  • 63. This is the basic tool of the press operation. It must be newsworthy, well-written, and concise. The press release is your message written the way you would like to see it in the press. The press release should include: Campaign name Contact person with phone number and email address Dateline (e.g. September 12, 2003—Las Vegas, NV) Headline—a succinct statement: message of the release The release should be printed on campaign stationery and should be no longer than one double-spaced 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Use legal-size stationery if you need more space. —SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joe Smith, 802-555-1234 Friday, April 1, 2005 Democracy for Vermont Fights to Protect Social Security Local Group Urges Congressman Sanders to Reject the President’s Plan BURLINGTON, VT – Today, members of Democracy for Vermont (DFV) delivered individual testimonials of the impact Social Security has had on the lives of local 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 programs in our country’s history,” said Joe Smith, Head of the Democracy for America Burlington Meetup. “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 Meetup 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 local and state representatives to voice their opposition to the President’s privatization plan. GFA Root Camp™ – 63 – Core Training 101
  • 64. For more information, please contact: Joe Smith at (802) 555-1234 or ### —SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE— GFA Root Camp™ – 64 – Core Training 101
  • 65. Activating Your Base Quintus Jeff and Megan Matson Activating Your Base Building the Base through Branded Actions Myths about Outreach: Can We Build Rainbow Coalitions? GFA Root Camp™ – 65 – Core Training 101
  • 66. Building the Base through Branded Actions Megan Matson Building your base through strategic, branded, bite-size, and open-source actions around common-ground issues to get more new people hooked on localized participation on a national level. Focus is given to the urgency of establishing systematic outreach to un- registered likely progressive voters through the maximum leveraging of volunteerism combined with strategies from the for-profit world of marketing. Concluding with the imperative of energizing while informing, and the utility of distilling overwhelming, generalized issues down to tangible, specific actions. Myths about Outreach: Can We Build Rainbow Coalitions? Quintus Jett Miniature breakouts (2–4 people each) to verbally share experiences, interactively de- veloping a collection of these experiences into a public list in real time as well as a larger group discussion and summary to conclude. GFA Root Camp™ – 66 – Core Training 101
  • 67. Maximizing Year-Round Visibility and Productivity Nathan González MAXIMIZING YEAR- ROUND VISIBILITY AND PRODUCTIVITY GFA Root Camp™ – 67 – Core Training 101
  • 68. Maximizing Visibility and Productivity Nathan González The Democratic Party is losing market share. This is clear. Over the past twelve years, we’ve seen a steady decrease in the percentage of voters registered and vot- ing as Democrats. Even before losing control of the House, Senate, and Executive, traditional Democratic others were growing increasingly alienated from the formal Party Structure. But we must hold onto our base, in both the red and blue areas, and create a reason for others to join and work with us. Maximizing Year-Round Democratic Visibility and Grassroots Productivity We must be visible in order to promote the Democratic agenda twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred sixty-five days a year in every state and county in the nation. Activists need to work in concert with the Democratic Party’s national, state, and county committees; district committees; and Dem- ocratic clubs in ways we have never done before. By doing so, we will be able to integrate the new grassroots dynamic that has so invigorated the political scene since 2003 with those who have been there through thick and thin and have the wisdom and knowledge to guide us to those goals in 2006, 2008, and beyond. Newfound progressive activism gives us the passion to reach new heights. Groups such as Democracy for America, the Progressive Democrats of America, and other organizations, constituency groups, and gender and sexual rights organizations— all are now a part of the organization we call Democrats. We must open our arms and welcome everyone to the Democratic Party table so that we can harness our energies—not fragment them—nor duplicate our efforts or put our time, money, and other resources into efforts to reach goals that are unattainable. In other words, we must set our priorities straight and learn to maximize our productivity by accepting the reality of our present—facing it head on and with courage and con- viction. In order to enact this Greater Vision for Democracy, we must work to find ways to incorporate both Democratic politics and all the other aspects of the progressive movement. It takes a plan of action that includes allowing each of us to discover our niche or purpose, empowering our purpose through support in building our communities, and then integrating our communities in a peaceful and practical manner. By networking and connecting groups across the country, both those po- litically entrenched in the Democratic party and those that may not be, we can cre- ate the larger community movement that will ultimately change the direction in which our country is headed. By learning from each other how we can enhance all GFA Root Camp™ – 68 – Core Training 101
  • 69. our efforts, we will ultimately create one powerful and polished package. All the pieces of this movement, however diverse and different as they may seem, are equally important to the fabric of our society. They are the foundation of our na- tion. By working together in a spirit which embraces the ideals we have in com- mon and uniting through our communities by sharing our connections and our re- sources, we will not only elect more Democratic candidates and have a say in the political system; we will also create a more citizen-powered America. GFA Root Camp™ – 69 – Core Training 101
  • 70. 4:45–5:00 p.m. Q&A, Wrap-Up Sandra Ramos, Pam Paul, Ralph Miller GFA Root Camp™ – 70 – Core Training 101
  • 71. ADDENDA I. About Root Camp™ II. A Race Well Run: A Guide for First-Time Candidates Running for Public Office III. Talking to Swing Voters GFA Root Camp™ – 71 – Core Training 101
  • 72. Root Camp™ Root Camp™ is an activist collaborative training initiative. Root Camp™ evolved from a shared vision to empower activists and share resources and concepts in a manner that ulti- mately fuels the citizen community by self-creating educational teams across the country. The Root Camp™ program transforms the political spectrum by offering tools, resources, training materials, and one-on-one connections that are citizen inspired, help curb the dupli- cation of efforts, can be tailored for local communities, and save time and energy for those who are new to the process and are looking for immediate support. Our focus is on local empowerment, and the direction we want to head is toward connecting individuals and groups across the country so they may share their branded training concepts and experience and empower each other through support. We help Root Camp™ leaders work together to cultivate ways to develop the concept so all those involved have ownership in a process that allows them and Root Camp™ to flourish. This session will also demonstrate how Root Camp™ engages activists in the process by using them as Mentors and how mentoring ties into a national network of trainers, issue groups, supporters, resources, tools, and sharing of best practices. Root Camp™ can only grow through your active participation in promoting the Mentor network in a well-grounded manner, which can ultimately build a national activ- ist-empowered community. Root Camp™ sessions cover core subjects required to organize, fund, manage, and promote campaigns and political advocacy efforts in your community. This will include an overview of Campaign Basics; Fundraising; Volunteer Recruitment, Management, and Training; Data Mining for GITV and GOTV; and Media. Our goal is to give you tools for activating your base voters and maximizing your year-round visibility and productivity. We will do this by sharing experiences along diverse and unique perspectives. Root Camp™ concepts and processes are designed to be adapted to your local area and po- litical landscape. Root Camp™ encourages the organic growth of activist empowerment through team collaborative and activist engineered—and championed—ideas! By continuing to share our best practices and resources, whether they be Root Camp™ tools and connec- tions explored during these sessions, or those not yet discovered, Root Camp™ will serve as a launching pad to push ahead your own activism at home. All of us are passionate about what we are doing. The better we do it, the more effective our efforts will be. GFA Root Camp™ – 72 – Core Training 101
  • 73. A RACE WELL RUN A Guide for First-Time Candidates Running for Public Office By Marcia Moody with Tom Buco, Claudia Chase, Eileen Flockhart, Laurie Harding, Suzanne Harvey, Charlotte Quimby, Cindy Rosenwald, and Steve Shurtleff [Note: Although some of these materials may refer to a particular party, the materials were in- cluded because they are equally applicable to any party's officeholders and campaigns.] Introduction Congratulations! You’re thinking about serving your community by running for public office. Even if you aren’t politically experienced or well known, your eagerness to serve, combined with your passion for an issue or desire to make a difference, is your calling card. This brochure has been developed by a group of Democrats who recognized the need to provide practical information for first-time candidates. We have included many of the issues we faced that either were not typically addressed in various organizations’ candi- date trainings or are not spelled out in election laws. Before You Announce Your Candidacy The best thing you can do as early as possible is talk with a sitting or past Democratic officeholder from your district such as a state representative, a selectman, or town clerk, or with the chair of your local Democratic Committee. Then seek out community leaders to ask for their input or advice. Ask what issues are important to them and just listen. Per- sonalized “Thank You” notes show respect for the people who gave you their time, and you’ll get positive feedback. Start Your Calendar After you have “interviewed” a legislator or political officeholder, find out the dates for filing your candidacy from your town/city clerk. Stop by the clerk’s office in advance and ask for a copy of the filing document so you’ll know what information you’ll need when you formally file in person. Sign Up for Candidate Trainings Sign up for all the candidate trainings you can find; they’re often free or have a small fee, and are priceless. In addition to opportunities your state party provides, there are several other activist organizations that may be offering training sessions. GFA Root Camp™ – 73 – Core Training 101
  • 74. The following are questions about some of the decisions you will have to make and an- swers that address your possible determinations. Q: What is the first thing I need to do? A: The very first thing you can do is call your Secretary of State and ask for the Manual of Election Laws. Also ask for a map of your district if you don’t have one, the political calendar, and your state constitution. During the filing period, you can file your candi- dacy with the Secretary of State through your town./city clerk’s office. You must do this within the time period announced or you name will not be on the ballot. The clerk might be able to provide a map of the district or at least the boundaries, or look at your town/city website for district maps. In a multi-town district, you usually can obtain excel- lent maps from each town’s Public Works Department. Then drive the district. Get a feel for the various neighborhoods and note which ones, if any, are walkable for doorknocking, where the condominium communities are, and if they allow access. Also, find out what other Democrats have filed for races in your district, and meet with them. Some of them may have run for office before and can offer valuable experience. This will be much easier if there is no contested primary. Q: How do I start my campaign? A: The first thing some candidates recommend, after you’ve had that “interview,” is to ask a small group of local people you trust if they would serve as your campaign advi- sors. A good friend might serve as your campaign manager, but it’s not necessary to have one. Call a meeting, have an agenda, and start with such things as a list of potential sup- porters and volunteers (who do they know in the district?), a list of new opponents, and incumbents’ records. Then try to create your campaign slogan, or something you’ll use on your printed materials. Don’t let the group leave without an assignment and a date, time, and place for the next meeting. Many training programs recommend that the candi- date not run these meetings, but rather have one of the advisors do it. Q: What is a fiscal agent, and do I need one? A: Candidates for most public offices and especially for a state legislature must identify the name and address of a fiscal agent when declaring their candidacy with the town clerk. You can be your own fiscal agent or appoint someone else (spouses, relatives, and friends are all acceptable). A fiscal agent is responsible for reviewing and signing all the financial reports that must be filed with the Secretary of State during the primary and general election campaigns. In addition, if you do name someone other than yourself, you must include that information on all your campaign material. If you choose, your fiscal agent can have check-signing ability on your new account and can handle all vendor payments and record keeping, or you can open a joint account. GFA Root Camp™ – 74 – Core Training 101
  • 75. Q: What are the pros and cons of being my own fiscal agent? A: Having a fiscal agent helps you keep track of campaign contributions and expendi- tures and allows you to stay somewhat removed from the contributions. This person is your first public supporter, since his or her name must appear on all your campaign mate- rials. A fiscal agent is also someone with whom you can brainstorm campaign strategies. On the other hand, if you plan on needing very little money for your campaign, you can be your own fiscal agent. Ultimately, YOU are responsible for all your reporting, and forms must be signed by you and your fiscal agent, if you decide to have one. You must file receipts and expenditures reports on time; there is no margin for error. Q: Will I need a separate campaign bank account? A: It is recommended that you keep campaign funds separate from your personal ac- counts. If you plan on asking people for contributions, it’s more professional for the checks to be made out to “John Doe for State Rep.,” for example, than just to John Doe. Many banks will insist that you have an employer’s identification number (EIN) in order to open a campaign account. You can obtain one over the phone by calling the IRS. Other banks will open a business account for you or your fiscal agent using one of your social security numbers. Ask about bank fees. We also highly recommend opening a PayPal ac- count. This allows people from out of state and all over the country to easily make depos- its into your campaign account. If you have out-of-state relatives or friends, it is a con- venience for them. PayPal only charges a nominal fee of just a couple of dollars at the most for the transaction. They will also notify you by email of all deposits, which makes record keeping simple. Such an account also allows you to make payments to vendors for your expenses. Q: How should I name this bank account? A: Examples: “John or Jane Doe for______ (name of office you are seeking)” or “Com- mittee to Elect John or Jane Doe.” Some states require you to register a formal campaign committee with the Secretary of State’s office. Q: How much money will I need for my campaign? A: Campaign finance rules vary with each state and office. Check the election laws for your area. Go to your state’s website and read the rules and regulations. There are often different allowances and caps for the primary and the general election. Any expenditures over and above the cap will have to be declared. It is important that if you expect to spend more, then you need to indicate on your filing form that you will not accept the state’s spending cap. If it is likely that you won’t have a contested primary, you can aim to raise less money; however, getting your name out during the primary period is a sound investment, particularly if you don’t have name recognition. GFA Root Camp™ – 75 – Core Training 101
  • 76. Q: Where will the money come from? A: According to Emily’s List, the successful Washington, D.C.–based organization that raises money for female pro-choice candidates, you should ask your family and friends for contributions before you ask anyone else. Why? Because they love you and want you to succeed, even if they’re not of the same political persuasion. Then make a list of eve- ryone you know in town and get on the phone. You might also tap into political action committees (PACS) that look for candidates to support. Since we are here at Democracy- Fest, we emphasize that Democracy for America has as one of its major goals a mandate to support fiscally conservative and socially responsible candidates for all offices throughout the country. That organization is an invaluable resource for information, train- ing, and financial support. Last year it supported over 700 candidates who, as a group, enjoyed unprecedented success in last November’s election. Don’t forget about asking supporters to hold house meetings for you: these give voters a chance to meet you and ask questions, and for you to ask for contributions. Fundraisers are also a way of generating support for your campaign. Friends and neigh- bors in your district are likely people to hold house parties for you. Work with your local Democratic town committee for more ideas. Do consider whether raising a lot of money out of your district (not including PAC con- tributions) would be a political advantage or liability. The newest resource for raising campaign money is the internet. I can attest to the success of raising money over the internet. Three quarters of my own campaign funds came from friends and acquaintances I met through the internet connections we had while working on the Presidential primary campaign. Q: What kind of financial reporting is required? A: After you file your candidacy, your state will probably send you the first campaign finance report form. Your reports must show funds raised and funds spent. Each state will vary on the number of reports required and when these reports are due. Write these dates on your calendar and DON’T BE LATE. As soon as you receive the form, make several blank copies before you fill it out. Also, make sure to keep copies of your completed re- ports. It would be a good idea to make two—one for your files and one for your fiscal agent’s files. Q: Where will I find volunteers? A; As with fundraising, you should begin by asking your family and friends. Asking peo- ple to volunteer for you is just like asking people to vote for you or give you money: you have to ask. Once you have spoken with your friends and family, ask everyone that you talk to about your campaign to volunteer for you. Getting people to volunteer the first time is the hardest thing. Once they come and volunteer, assuming they have a good time GFA Root Camp™ – 76 – Core Training 101
  • 77. and like you, more likely than not they will return. In the best scenario, they will have had such a good time that they will bring someone with them. You just have to get them to take that first step toward volunteering. Never hesitate to ask someone to volunteer. If you come across someone while phone banking, for example, who is very excited that you called, ask them to come to your next phone bank, sign-making party, or envelope-stuffing event. The worst thing they can do is say no, and the best thing is yes! Make sure that you always get all their contact infor- mation, especially phone number and email. Once you generate this list, DO NOT LOSE IT. It will come in handy during your re-election campaign, fundraising, or any other campaign event you may have once you are elected. Always follow up with a “Thank You” email, note, or phone call to your volunteers so that they know you appreciate their help. It goes a long way, and people remember these acts of kindness. Everything you do as a candidate could be considered a volunteer activity. Whether you are canvassing, phone banking, doing a mailing, or holding a sign, it’s always better when you have volunteers. Not only will it demonstrate to others that people support you; but it’s also great to have others help you reach more voters. Make sure that you and your team are on a first-name basis with your volunteers. Nametags and introduction ques- tions, such as “What book are your reading now?” are a great way for people to remem- ber names and faces, and they also break the ice. The most important thing about volunteers is to always ask them to volunteer and thank them when they do. “Volunteers are not paid . . . not because they are worthless, but because they are price- less.” Q: When should I start campaigning? A: This summer is not too soon to start getting to know the voters in your district, par- ticularly if you don’t have name recognition. You can get your district’s voter registration list for a fee from your town clerk or ask your town or county Democratic committee if it’s planning on purchasing one. Also ask your state party. Its list is probably more spe- cific. For example, which voters are most/least likely to vote in elections? Another good resource is the voter lists prepared by ACT (America Coming Together). After you’ve studied your district’s map, it’s efficient to divide the area into smaller sections by streets and print out sections as you need them for walking and/or driving. Although some people will tell you that no one pays attention to politics until the fall, many of us found it very informative and worthwhile to take out lists and knock on doors early to introduce ourselves to voters. But first, buy a pair of really comfortable shoes! Starting early gives you an opportunity to hear what voters care about, which can help define your positions. Some candidates develop a biographical leave-behind piece as an introduction. This is not the same as the position piece you’ll use in the fall. If you’re al- GFA Root Camp™ – 77 – Core Training 101
  • 78. ready well known and have a particular position on an important issue, you can campaign on that issue relentlessly. Take notes on your discussions with the voters and refer to them when you knock on the same doors or lit drop in the fall. If you’re highly motivated, drop those folks a note that they’ll receive within a day or two of speaking with them. If you don’t have a heavily Democratic district, do not neglect reaching out to Republican and Undeclared voters on your list. Every vote counts. Most trainings will cover door knocking at length. Be sensitive to how early/late you ring voters’ doorbells. Be aware on weekends when games are broadcast. It may not be wise to interrupt. Tip: Even though it’s awkward to knock at dinner time, that’s when people are home. Attend local meetings and other events that focus on issues you’re concerned about: e.g., housing, healthcare, and the environment. Take the time to introduce yourself to people who share your interests. Be sure to mention that you’re running for office. These are great opportunities to hand out your campaign cards and literature. Be prepared: know your issues. We cannot emphasize enough how effective going door-to-door is. Knock on every door. Face-to-face discussions are so valuable. Take the time to listen. Know what concerns your neighbors. Let them know what concerns you. Q: When does the campaign get into gear? A: After Labor Day weekend. (Don’t forget to march with your supporters and with signs in any Labor Day parade in your district.) Be prepared to spend as much time as possible campaigning during this very short six-week period of time, particularly on weekends. Over the summer you created your post–Labor Day plan, so: You know what events will be held in your district that you want to attend or be • invited to speak at. They are on your calendar and you’ve contacted the event planners. You have made a week-by-week schedule that includes what you’ll accomplish. • You have stayed in contact with your city/town/county Democratic committee • and found out what resources it can offer your campaign. Take full advantage of this, and help out the whole ticket in return. As soon as you identified a supporter, you asked if they’d put up your lawn sign, • so now you have a head start on that list. Keep adding, and decide when to put them up. If you see signs for other Democrats on a lawn, ask the homeowner if you can add yours. Don’t forget to read the rules of sign placement on the Secre- tary of State’s website, and be a good citizen and collect all yours within a few days of the election. You can use them again if you run for re-election. GFA Root Camp™ – 78 – Core Training 101
  • 79. You have identified dates early for an event or two for which you might have • people assist you in preparing a mailing or in fundraising. You have checked out opportunities to be interviewed on your local public access • TV station and your local newspapers. Q: What campaign materials will I need? A: It’s up to you and your budget and what makes sense to you. The first thing you need to do is pick your color scheme, design a logo (which might be no more than picking a typeface), and develop your slogan (which might be as simple as “Vote for John or Jane Doe for_____”). The following is a list of materials, in order of importance, for consid- eration. 1. Campaign literature (e.g., trifold, pocket card, palm card, door hanger). These are your most important materials. They should have a brief bio of yourself and where you stand on important issues. Include a picture of yourself, your email ad- dress, and phone number. Try to give your literature a hook that makes people keep it around, like having key municipal phone numbers printed on one side (emergency numbers, city hall, schools, etc.). 2. Business cards. An easy way to give someone your phone number and email so that you may give them more detailed answers to their questions. 3. Lawn signs (with stakes or wires). Be conservative in your estimate of how many you will need, and remember that they’re more effective on people’s lawns than on the side of the road. 4. Election Day handouts at the polls. These can be overruns of your campaign ma- terial. I found that a 1/3-page summary printed on cardstock that I used as a door stuffer and handout worked very well. It was compact. People could put it in their pockets and take it with them into the polls. It has the advantage of having your name on it and reminds them of whom to vote for. Be sure, as you hand the lit to them, that you politely ask them not to leave it in the voting booth. 5. Printed adhesive name tags or buttons. Buttons and stickers (bumper or lapel) are only a good idea if you are able to raise enough money to easily pay for your other materials. More tips on campaign materials: Get a professional color photo of yourself for your literature. Some candi- • dates include a photo of the whole family. If you’re going to use a profes- sional printer, try to furnish them with a digital copy of the photo,. Which you’ll also need if you have a website. Remember to use a union printer. Organized labor is an important ally of • the Democratic Party, and the right to organize is one of the key tenets of being a Democrat. Decide on your slogan, your typeface, and your message. Carefully craft • your handouts so that voters know what you stand for. Your issue bro- chure is the most important piece in your campaign chest of materials. Keep it simple and brief. GFA Root Camp™ – 79 – Core Training 101
  • 80. Don’t forget to factor in how many mailings/lit drops you plan when you • consider quantity for your print orders. Order more than you think you’ll use and have copies on hand everywhere you go. The more you order at once, the lower the per-piece cost will be. Choose only one color to be printed on a white background with reverse • letters for your yard signs. It accomplishes two things: It saves printing costs by making it only one print run, and it makes a bold statement. I per- sonally used a big bold sans serif typeface (white letters on a red back- ground). My yard signs were very visible and stood out among all the oth- ers when in a cluster of signs with other candidates. Q: How do I get the media to cover me and my campaign? A. You must have a media strategy if you want to get on the radio or television and in the newspaper. Do you know who writes the local political column in your weekly newspa- per? If not, find out who does and introduce yourself as a candidate. Attend local events where you know TV and print coverage will be taking place. Introduce yourself to the reporters and photographers and let them know you are seeking office. The best free print coverage is to ask your friends to write letters to the editor in support of your candidacy. This helps you get name recognition and lets people in your community know who is supporting you. Write an op-ed piece on an issue that is important to you and your com- munity. If you have local access TV, have someone tape your campaign events and have them aired on cable access television. Call in to public affairs radio shows in your area and bring up issues that concern you. Q: How do I reach voters in inaccessible housing (condos, apartment buildings with tight security)? A The best way is a mailing. Use the voter registration list. Make sure you budget for this and find out if your local Democratic committee has a stamp for bulk mailing. Note that in large condominium complexes, mail may not get delivered without an apartment num- ber, which some voter lists do not include. If you include a return address on your mail, you’ll know how many did not get delivered. One thing I learned by getting so many re- turns is that historically voter lists are notoriously out of date. Even lists provided by ACT were inaccurate. One way to avoid wasting postage, to limit mail returns, and, best of all, to reach new voters is to add after the name of the addressee “or current occupant.” Even though this seems impersonal, it will ensure delivery of your literature. To reach condo dwellers and apartment residents whose homes are inaccessible because the only entrance is by way of a locked central entrance hall, you may want to devote a Saturday morning to greeting people in the condo community’s parking lot. Also, if you know someone living in that stairwell section, you might ask them to distribute your lit- erature in their unit. Don’t forget to meet and greet people at grocery stores and local farmer’s markets. Q: What about sending mail to other voters in my community? GFA Root Camp™ – 80 – Core Training 101
  • 81. A. Yes, don’t stop just at apartment and condo dwellers; you should mail to all Democrats and undeclared voters in your district, as well as knock on their doors. Have a mailing schedule planned. You should send out at least one mailing, but send out as many pieces as you can afford. Think through the logistics of a mailing: How long does bulk mail take to be delivered? How will I get the voters’ addresses onto labels and the labels onto the mailer? (Think volunteers.) For more information on bulk mail, check out the U.S. Postal Service online at Q: Should I campaign with other Democrats running in my district? A: If you are in a district that has more than one seat, you may want to run as a team with the other Democratic nominees. But first, check out your state regulations concerning shared campaign expenses. In a national campaign for Congress or the Senate, it is pro- hibited. Some states allow state and local campaigns to have candidates share expenses and campaign literature. Studies show that team candidates fare better than loner candi- dates. A team approach can offer economy in terms of campaign supplies and allow you to spread out your campaign vision. Volunteers get excited when they work for the entire “ticket,” and a well-managed team approach can assure that the Democratic message reaches all parts of the district. Many state Democratic parties support the concept of running as a team. And donations from county committees are often made to candidates who run as a team. However, this does not preclude you from doing some personal cam- paigning and having your own campaign literature, by any means. If you campaign as part of a ticket, you can play on each other’s strengths. You can make event appearances together and prepare joint campaign literature that urges voters to vote for your ticket while at the same time personalizing what each of you stands for. It’s im- portant to spend some time together talking about the issues that you can agree on so that you can be clear on what you stand for in promotional materials. It’s also important to identify and respect what differences you do have and to not misrepresent each other’s stand on issues. It can be very effective to do a sample ballot as a “team” prior to the election. You can canvass in pairs, but more than that is too confusing. It’s great to canvass with a candi- date in their neighborhood so they can introduce you, and vice versa. It’s very important to have your own campaign literature stocked in the Democratic office as well as to hand out and mail. If you do team lawn signs as well as individual ones, it increases visibility for the Democratic candidates. One of the valuable aspects of team campaigning is the opportunity to get together and share ideas, problems, issues, and tips from trainings. Some teams consider a single bank account if the candidates are not planning separate efforts. Agree ahead of time on if and how much you will jointly spend. If one or more of the Democratic candidates are incumbents, you have their experiences to draw on. Team visibility, both in person and with placement of team signs on main thoroughfares, is helpful, especially the weekend before the election. GFA Root Camp™ – 81 – Core Training 101
  • 82. Talking to Swing Voters by Todd Smyth When talking to a swing voter, ask about their family and people they care about. 1. Who do you care about the most? Memories of close relationships are stored in a different part of the brain than the part that is defensive or aggressive. Follow up by asking: 2. Do you have children, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers? Do you have any relatives who are seriously ill or disabled? This will break any conservative pattern of thought and activate the more liberal side of their brain, which will make the rest of your conversation easier. Now ask them: 3. What issues are most important to you? They will give you a better answer after first thinking about those they care for. MYTH: I have to persuade more than half the people I talk to. REALITY: The number of people you actually need to persuade with direct voter contact is usually not very big, but you have to talk to a large number of voters to reach that small per- centage. For example, if your race is even and there are 10% of persuadable voters, you only have to persuade 5% + 1 vote to win with a majority. That 5% is crucial, but the point is not to get discouraged if a large number of voters don't respond to you. The key is to make a per- sonal connection with as many voters as possible. Speak with calm, conviction, and confidence. Show no doubt or hesitation. • “What convinces is conviction. Believe in the argument you’re advancing. If you don't you’re as good as dead. The other person will sense that something isn’t there, and no chain of reasoning, no matter how logical or elegant or brilliant, will win your case for you.” —Lyndon B. Johnson “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” —Bertrand Russell Ask more questions; listen and learn from the people you talk to. Listening builds trust, • respect, and empathy. If you listen to others, they are more likely to listen to you. Use attentive body language to show you are focused on them. Don’t interrupt. • Pause before you respond to show you are thinking about what they said. • GFA Root Camp™ – 82 – Core Training 101
  • 83. Summarize what they have said in fewer words. Try to give some positive feedback. • Disagree with the argument, not the person. Be respectful, not angry or condescending. • Smile; be articulate, polite, outgoing, friendly, concerned, sincere, and humble. • Avoid a shouting match. If they raise their voice, lower your voice. • Don't waste time on stubborn or argumentative people. Avoid them and move on. • Don’t waste time on someone who already agrees with you but wants to debate the • finer points. Encourage them to help you reach out and talk to more people. Seek out nice, open-minded people who are undecided. They are usually shy and less • willing to talk about politics, but they are your target audience. Ask questions (this is the Socratic Method). Don't force your issues on people. • Frame your points with your language and context. • quot;Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.quot; —Paul Wellstone If they regurgitate sound bites, which will usually be about wedge or hot button issues, • be prepared to re-frame your response back toward values and core issues of poverty, healthcare, education, and the environment. Be prepared to answer questions with good research. • Don't ad lib or make stuff up. If they ask a tough question, use it as an excuse to get • their contact information. Say you don't know and ask them for their name, email ad- dress, and phone number. Research their question and get back to them. Stay focused on the person you are talking to; do not go off on tangents. • Don’t try to convince everyone you talk to. You won't be the only one talking to each • person. Make a good impression, but don't push it. Wrap it up and move on to someone else. Let them think about what you have dis- • cussed. Have fun. The first few people you talk to will be the hardest. Don’t expect great suc- • cess right away. You will become an expert if you stick with it, and that will be ex- tremely rewarding. “Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives. It's about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and the world.” —Paul Wellstone “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” —Mother Teresa This quick reference guide was written, compiled, and edited by Todd Smyth, 2005. Please reproduce and distribute for maximum positive impact to establish and preserve democracy. GFA Root Camp™ – 83 – Core Training 101
  • 84. For more information on persuasion, go to: For more information on framing, go to: P.S. The Greek origin of the word quot;idiotquot; means one who is not political. No joke—look it up. GFA Root Camp™ – 84 – Core Training 101