Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Changing Our Campaign Style - Leadership, PayPal, and Lawnsigns
There are a lot of take-aways from the Obama campaign that we liberals/Liberals up here can learn from. Many of us volunteered to help in some way, down South, and the buzz and excitement one could feel was incredible - even by-standers, or "un-political" persons couldn't help but feel involved... It's good to bring some of those great democratic/liberal ideas back North of the border.
Fundraising on the web is something that many of us have spoken about - for years - maybe even decades. We can pursue better ways to do this, and must, in order to survive as a viable election machine. Paypal was the reason I contributed to Garth Turner, and not my own candidate. Why? Well, I was on Garth's site, and it was pretty easy to just do a few "clicks", and donate. I didn't have to pull out my wallet, grab my credit cards, fill out any forms, phone anyone, etc. Paypal is great because it taps you into the huge community that uses eBay and many other dynamic websites. Imagine all those young eBay users being able to quickly click and donate to your campaign?
Dialer messaging and phone polling are not used enough by individual ridings. It is actually very cost effective to have a bold riding presence, with just a few dollars. There are organizations which can help deliver an effective riding presence - with easy to maintain, cost-efficient modes of contact and ID. Messaging is cheap, and doesn't have to come off as a "telemarketer call". There are Liberal-owned political consulting companies which do this... Ask around.
Lawn signs are something one RARELY sees in a leadership campaign. Look South of the border. The GOP and Democrats were using lawnsigns from BEFORE the primaries. How do you build excitement about a new name? See what happens if you post a couple of hundred lawnsigns around your town during a leadership contest. Being one of the few people out there with signs, and the only party, will result in TREMENDOUS publicity. Why keep our leadership candidates hidden from the public, and visible only to the membership? Get a lawnsign on your lawn. Wear your Liberal colors with pride. Who says a new entrant into a race doesn't have a chance to win? We saw many Seattle and Bellingham supporters come from "outside" the Democratic Party. They were often motivated by the "visuals" of the campaign early on (lawnsigns, posters, etc.). We Liberals tend to keep our contests "internal". Let's get them out there! Watch as your neighbors ask, "who is this Leblanc guy?" (note: that was not an endorsement for any candidate). Get your neighborhood talking about your candidate.
Call your leadership choice, and ASK them for a lawnsign to identify you as a supporter. If they don't have one, ask them why?
T-shirts are always an effective communication tool. Swag is well-loved, but under-estimated for it's fund-raising potential. We make up t-shirts, and we hand them out to volunteers for free. We also hand them out to pretty much anyone who asks for one. Why? Why not even take in $5 per shirt? $10? Leadership campaigns take on debts, but why? If you make up 10,000 $15 t-shirts, then just give them away, you are often just burning your cash. Make some money off of it. At a rally, when everyone is excited, it's pretty easy to convince people to toss you $10 for a t-shirt. Just "give" shirts to your key organizers and some "seed" people, then watch the bucks roll in. Hint about t-shirts: If you want one that people will pay for, make it cool. See the Obama shirts out there. Get a catchy slogan, and some nice graphics. Create a recognizable logo. The Ignatieff campaign had a very "Warhol-esque" t-shirt in the last leadership. Many people from other camps wanted them. Iggy COULD have sold these, or bundled a t-shirt for a donation. Ditto the "Dionista" shirts. Very Che' Guevera.
Don't forget to ask for memberships. Set up a membership table BEFORE the even ticket table. Check everyone for current membership. I have been to 4 major Lower Mainland events, and have YET to be asked to renew. I have been a Liberal all my life, have been a member since the 80s, and a member in both Sask. and AB. I am going to continue to go on this way, and see who will be the first group to approach me about renewing. This will be my first sign that the Liberal Party is getting a clue.
Someone call me, quick!
Posted by WesternGrit at 2:31 pm