Guess what? You get the month of April off! No campaigning for you this month. Take a spring break. Go for a vacation.
…April fools! No, no, my friend, April is just the time to get fired up and serious!
- Fundraising! If you haven’t started in earnest, now is the time. You need to put that Rolodex to work! You know, if you still actually own one of those things, but you get my drift.
- It’s tax time! Sometimes candidates campaigning (especially for Congress or state level positions) will take the opportunity to send a strong tax message on or around April 15th. Make a fundraising or public relations event out of it! I knew one candidate that passed out flyers with his fiscally conservative campaign message close to the local post office (where everyone would be bringing their forms to mail in). He was sure to check local/state/federal regulations on how close he could actually be to the post office, as partisan activity is prohibited within a certain distance.
- Data. If you haven’t started planning your grassroots strategy, put pencil to paper and figure it out. Go to the courthouse or voter registration office and get past election results and voter files, and start planning where you plan to focus your voter outreach efforts. I will have a very detailed post on how to do this soon in my Running for City Council series.
- Door-to-door. If you haven’t had a chance to begin honing your one-on-one communication skills as a candidate, spring weather is perfect for strolling around a precinct and knocking on doors to talk to voters. Get your walking lists together for the first few precincts on your priority list and start talking. Face-to-face, one-on-one communication with voters is absolutely priceless.
- Get some goodies! When you’re going door-to-door, you will definitely need something awesome to leave behind so that your voters will remember your name and how absolutely enlightening it was to speak with you (hopefully). Name recognition will be everything come Election Day, so slap your name loud and proud on some campaign materials and be like a post-ghost Scrooge with them – generously give them away!
I hate it when campaign managers – knowing the cost of each notepad, t-shirt or bumper sticker – try to be stingy with them, only wanting to give them to people who’ll display the items religiously, wearing their campaign-themed apparel every waking hour. This is counter-productive! If people want your stuff, give it to them! Be generous and they will use and display your campaign materials appropriately. This is a key factor in increasing the reach and saturation of your name and message.
Need some ideas on what to buy? Here’s a list of my favorite (and least favorite) campaign materials – but keep in mind what works for your community, too. Maybe those canvas reusable bags are a good buy in your neck of the woods – by all means, get some made with your name, campaign logo and tagline emblazoned on it. I’ve outlined some tried-and-true winners, so pick a few of those must-haves and pass them out (or leave them on door handles if the voter’s not home) when you’re making your door-to-door rounds.