By now your campaign should be in full swing, and hopefully your family isn’t missing you yet, because it’ll be a loooong time before you can sit down and have a regular meal with them again. July and August are fun on the campaign trail because summer is often full of fun events and lots of opportunities to meet people, which is pretty much the singular purpose of a campaign in summer. You’ll need to be laser focused on voter contact while the weather is amiable.
- Door-to-door. I hope you picked some really fun campaign tchotchkes, because this is when they’ll get the most use! You’ll knock on hundreds of doors this summer, and run through at least two pairs of walking shoes, but think of how awesome your legs will look at the beach! (Just kidding! You don’t have time for the beach, unless there’s an event there where you can mingle with voters!)
- Events! Parades, fairs, and festivals are my favorite summer campaign activities! Tossing candies to the little children? Love it! Be sure to make the most of these, but don’t just attend everything for the sake of being seen. It’s about actually meeting and greeting and discussing the local issues with voters. If an event doesn’t give you much opportunity for that, ditch it and go back to door-to-door.
- GOTV groundwork. As you go door to door, make your best effort to recruit volunteers, record which voters are supportive, and ask people if they’re willing to put a your sign in their yard. You’ll need all this data in the future when you implement your 72-hour GOTV plan.
- Plan your communications. You’ll need to make a concerted effort to raise your name ID and spread your campaign message through a formal paid communications and public relations strategy. Are you going to do TV or radio? What newspapers or other periodicals do you need to be seen in? Should you buy print ads for that or initiate a letter-to-the-editor campaign?
- Plan to spend some money. Along with planning what you’re going to do, plan what it’s going to cost, and when. Make sure to plan ahead with your fundraising. I like to pay early if I can, just so that the important things are locked in, and I’m not left with empty pockets when the bill comes due. Knowing what you’re paying for next gives you a selling point in your fundraising efforts as well. Saying “We’re planning to make a large placement in radio on WTOP next week and we need your help,” plays very well with donors. They know exactly what their money is doing, and they like that (I do, too).
Now go get ’em, Tiger!