HOW TO HELP WOMEN CANDIDATES
AND PRO-WOMEN CANDIDATES
The following are highlights from Winning Campaigns
a manual (and seminars):
CAMPAIGN PLANNING; STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE YOU
* Assess the strengths and
weaknesses of the candidate or cause.
* Make the case for your candidacy or cause.
* Decide on a campaign theme and messages and basic
campaign strategy before going public.
* Keep the theme strong, simple and short and related
to concerns of voters.
* Write the campaign plan including strategy, targeting,
research, calendar, communications, direct voter contact programs and budget.
* Work the plan.
* Change the plan only for a compelling reason and
after thoughtful analysis.
TARGETING... STEPS TO FOCUS THE CAMPAIGN
* Target likely, "undecided"
and persuadable voters -not the entire community nor even the entire electorate.
* Predict what voters will do in the future based
on their past voting behavior.
* Target geographically by analyzing precinct size,
turnout, performance and persuadability.
* Don't waste time or money on voters committed to
your opponent or to the other side of an issue.
* Focus all resources of a campaign - time, money
and people - on target voters.
RESEARCH: STEPS TO WINNING DECISIONS
* Research and know the rules
- campaign ethics and reporting laws, campaign practices, requirements
for filing, and deadlines.
* Research voter demographics and history, issues,
the opponent(s) and the candidate or cause.
* Use all available research tools - library and electronic
searches, review of public records, interviews, focus groups, polls and
* Use the results of research in shaping strategy,
determining target voters, crafting a theme and messages, raising money
and developing direct voter contact plans.
TAKING THE STEPS TO RAISE MONEY
* Ask - it's the most effective
strategy for raising money.
* Ask the big donors first.
* Ask for a specific contribution amount.
* Ask again - the best prospects for a contribution
are previous contributors.
* Remember that money equals commitment
* Involve others in the asking. Finance committees
of influential people who have successfully raised money for other candidates
and causes are critical to any major fund raising effort.
*Candidates should devote a significant amount of
their time to personal solicitation of donors.
* Give prospective donors a reason to give. Think
through and articulate the case for giving.
* Remember that 80% of the benefit comes from 20%
of the effort Focus on the most productive 20% - of donors and fund raising
* Thank donors five or more times; donors are seldom
* Budget for fund raising because it takes money to
* Keep costs of fund raising events at 10% or less
of the amount raised.
* Realize that campaigns with the most money (or other
resources) usually win.
* Work hard at raising money.
* There are no shortcuts to raising money.
STEPS TO AN EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION
* Good organization and committed
volunteers can compensate somewhat for lack of money.
* Develop a campaign structure with specific roles
and responsibilities spelled out. It need not be elaborate but should be
written down - even if the campaign organization consists of only the candidate,
her husband, children, and best friend.
* Recruit volunteers for specific jobs. Makes sure
that they have supervision, good directions and the materials they need
* Recruit more volunteers than are needed some always
fail to show up.
* Thank volunteers for their efforts. Show them that
their work counts.
CONTACTING VOTERS: MAKING EVERY STEP COUNT
* Contact voters repeatedly
and directly to identify and motivate them.
* Contact voters by mail, in person and over the phone
and identify their position on your campaign or cause. These are the only
methods for obtaining direct feedback from voters.
* Keep careful records of each voter's position.
* Follow up with undecided voters to persuade them
to your candidate or cause.
* Prepare maps, calling lists, walking lists, scripts,
instructions and materials in advance so that volunteers can be most effective
in direct voter contact programs.
*Adequately train volunteers to reap a benefit in
* Treat volunteers well; thank them for their help.
* Identify voters through direct voter contact programs,
persuade the voters who are undecided, and turn out your vote on election
CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS; STEPS TO GETTING YOUR
* Remember that most people
have little or no interest in politics and are exposed to thousands of
advertising messages each week.
* Advance the theme and messages through paid advertising
and free media.
* Break through the clutter with a compelling message
which touches voters' emotions and which promotes the strengths of your
candidate or cause while exploiting the opponent's weaknesses.
* Repeat, repeat, repeat your theme and messages.
* Send press releases and hold press events when you
have legitimate "news" - and only then.
* Remember that reporters are always on duty.
* Be sure that the reporter agrees that what you say
is "off the record" - in advance.
* Better yet, never say anything you wouldn't want
to see in print.
* Inventory the communications channels available
and determine the most suitable mix for your campaign.
* Get and use good photographs.
* Spend wisely. Don't use bumper stickers, signs or
any other medium just because other campaigns do. Use what fits your own
STEP UP AND SHAKE A HAND
* First impressions are important.
Dress for the job you are seeking.
* Give a firm handshake and smile when meeting people.
Let them know you are glad to see them and want their vote.
* Enthusiasm is contagious. If you aren't excited
about your campaign it will show and others will have a hard time getting
* Ask for the vote.
* Make eye contact. Don't be glancing over peoples'
* Go easy on jewelry, make-up and gaudy clothing.
Women should wear bright colors while remaining professional looking.
* Listen! People Will respect you if you really listen
and then respond intelligently to their comments or questions.
STEPPING UP TO THE SPEAKER'S STAND
* Write, practice and polish
campaign speeches and presentations.
* Learn to speak in sound bites, short sentences which
carry your message.
* Remember that people will form a first impression
of you within 24 seconds.
* An audience's impression of a speaker is based 55%
on what they see, 38% on what the hear and only 7% on content.
* Think visually - picture is worth a thousand words.
* Candidates and campaigners should develop their
listening as well as their speaking skills.
Winning Campaigns is a project of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas
funded through the League of Women Voters Education Fund with a grant from
the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Support for the project has come from
Southwestern Bell, Arkansas Business Publishing Group, and the Morris Foundation.
The project seeks to encourage people who are currently
under-represented in elective office including minority, women and low-income
citizens to become more involved in the political system. Workshops and
seminars teach candidates, campaign managers, volunteers, and anyone interested
in elective politics how to run a winning campaign.
For information on Winning Campaigns workshops
or a campaign manual published by the project, contact Mary Dillard at
(501) 663-1202, email email@example.com
or write to: Winning Campaigns, % League of Women Voters of Arkansas, 2020
West Third, Suite 504, Little Rock, AR 72205.
The much more detailed spiral bound Winning Campaigns
manual is $35, the 3-ringer binder copy is $40.
YES, the author of WOA attended the initial Winning
Campaigns workshops and has been singing its praises ever since. We have
watched woman after woman step into the political arena with more and more
confidence because of Dillard and the Arkansas League of Women Voters!
I have pointed a lot of women to the subsequent workshops
and everyone returns raving about what they learned. Posting this
information is our way of thanking the league and Mary Dillard in lighting
the way so that more women will step forward to seek political office.
Women CAN change the way our nation and society operates
but only if we take leadership positions. RETURN TO WOA
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