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Raising money is a challenge for many candidates. This will get you started.
- You should ask for money. Raising money will help you gauge support and prove you are a serious candidate.
- Ask people close to you first. Start with your friends and family. Practice your “ask” on your friends, if you make a mistake or get embarrassed it is not a big deal.
- Consider asking your local or state party. They may ask you to give a quick speech and the contribution limit is much higher for a party.
- People you meet are just going to offer. Say yes! Know your contribution limits.
Raising money can be hard at first but you can do it. People want to help so ask. Asking for money will get easier every time you do.
Voter contact is the most important element of your campaign. Every candidate must balance talking and listening. It is important for voters to learn about you but only talking about yourself will not win many votes. So what is a candidate to do?
- Start with a simple introduction, “Hi, I am Sandra, I am running for _______.”
- Ask what concerns the voter has about your community, city or state. LISTEN to the answer.
- Briefly mention your position on their issue or issues. Offer your literature for further information.
- Ask voter to join your campaign community for coffee. “We get together Wednesday mornings at local coffee shop if you want to talk more.” Remember building a community will benefit your campaign more than simply recruiting volunteers.
- End every conversation with THANK YOU.
Where should you go to talk to voters? There are several options.
- Local political clubs are a great place to start. You will get a warm reception and meet people more likely to support you.
- Fairs and community events are great. You do not need a booth or table. Just wear a name tag and start shaking hands. Parties will often have space at these events so that may be a good place to start meeting people.
- Knock on doors. Get a map of your district and start going to people’s houses. For best results be considerate and brief. Be sure the take voter registration cards just in case.
Voters are all around you. During your campaign you should be a candidate all the time. Always have literature or business cards with you. Be willing to talk to anyone, as your campaign takes off you voters will approach you while you are getting gas, buying groceries and even at church. Be prepared to talk to them where ever they find you.
Talking to voters is the best way to win votes. Talking to voters can be invigorating, enlightening, and fun. On the other hand speaking with voters can be frustrating, infuriating, baffling and even terrifying.
Imagine knocking on a door to meet a lovely young mother and her adorably sweet toddlers only for the next door to burst open with a sparsely dress extremely intoxicated college student offering refreshments. It happens.
Be prepared for the anything when you talk to voters. The best way to be prepared to talk to voters is to practice. Have your “pitch” for door knocking memorized completely before hitting the doors. You may still be stunned into momentary silence but if you are prepared you can recover gracefully.
Make every voter conversation count. Every time you talk to a voter you should have three goals: listening to and understanding the voters concerns, introducing you “the candidate”, and turning the voter into a volunteer.
- First and most important you should be listening. A good candidate listens first; you have to understand people to represent them. Asking questions is a great way to prove your interest to anyone speaking with you.
- Second, you should introduce yourself as the candidate. Be brief, tell people who you are and why you are running. Before anyone can vote for you they have to understand why you are running.
- Finally, you should ask every person who took the time to speak with you to volunteer. If they were willing to voice their concerns and listen to you, they care, and a person who cares wants to get involved.
Voters love to vote for someone they have met and talked to. Take your time; make a great impression with every voter by listening even when you don’t agree.
Voters are going to brush you off, slam the door on you and someone is going to yell. It happens to every candidate. So how do you make a good impression with these voters? Do not take it personally, say thank you and move on. Do not waste time being upset or angry. No one wins them all.
What do you do if a voter is yelling at you? If he is not asking you to leave wait it out. Hear what he has to say, it is really important to him. When he is done yelling say thank you and ask him to your weekly campaign coffee, offer him a chance to change your mind. He may say no but remember just because he is yelling at you does not mean he loves your opponent.
Take your time with voters. You cannot win them all but every vote counts so make every voter contact count.
What is your secret to voter contact? Crazy stories?
Your campaign needs volunteers. A candidate probably could win an election all by himself. I see two problems doing it all yourself. First you will not be able to do anything else. Your job and family will suffer if you do it all alone. Second and more important volunteers are proof of a campaign’s viability and potential success.
The secret to recruiting volunteers is to ask. Ask everyone you talk to and everyone you know to volunteer. So, every voter is a potential volunteer.
The best way to recruit volunteers is ask voters to volunteer.
- Listen. First and most important you should be to listen to what the voter has to say. A good candidate listens first; you have to understand people to represent them. Ask “What concerns you about our community?”
- Connect. Connecting with a voter is the key to turning him into a volunteer. After listening address the voter’s concerns. Explain how your values and goals will improve your community, specifically directed to the voter’s concerns.
- Ask. Ask every person who took time to talk with you. If they were willing to voice their concerns and listen to you, they care about your community. This is the type of person who wants to get involved.
You should not feel anxiety about asking people to volunteer. You have already asked for their vote and they are still talking to you. If you have converted a voter what is stopping them from volunteering.
I have made hundreds of volunteer recruitment calls (phone calls are not a great recruitment method). During my first campaign I had was making the calls and became so accustom to hearing no, the first time a lady said yes I was shocked. “REALLY?” was my response. I was so embarrassed but she did come in and turned out to be my best volunteer.
Most of the people you ask are going to say no. If you build a community around your campaign you will recruit more volunteers. Add a social component to your campaign week, a coffee house meeting for example. Take time to get to know your volunteers, a personal connection will endear you to them. If volunteers like you it will they will want to volunteer again.
How are you going recruit volunteers? Why should people volunteer for you?
The best way to contact voters to knock on their doors. Emails are easy to delete and phone calls are easy to ignore but all of us answer the doorbell. Here are a few basic tips to a successful day on the doors.
- Do think about safety. Watch for traffic and knock with a friend to be on the safe side.
- Do NOT put campaign material in mail boxes. It is against the law!
- Do leave campaign material if voters are not home. Use rubber bands to hang literature on the door handle.
- Do Not forget to train volunteers how to knock doors the right way. Volunteers should knock together, only knock assigned doors and keep good notes about voters they meet.