Deep Dive Breakout 3

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Oh boy, will this election season be interesting! How can you stay relevant and active amidst the chaos? Maybe you’re considering an independent expenditure effort to really ramp things up. Our practitioner panel knows this territory well and can help you plan for success this fall.

Notes from session:

Effectiveness of GOTV

  • Expand beyond GOTV campaigns
  • Voter engagement is critical but very few people actually vote
  • It wasn’t until Dec 2015 that  organizations would actually brand GOTV campaigns
  • We started GOTV engagement when we saw a low turnout in rural areas between 2008 – 2012. When this happened, we needed to create hooks and messages on the importance of GOTV.
  • We asked our supporters to “Take a Pledge to Vote” that’s it
    • Result: The supporters didn’t like the “Pledge” language because it was too strong of an ask.

Partisan Communications

  • Corporations coordinate political communications internally but we should be coordinating with the candidate and work with them to sell the vote to our members.
  • Use ‘soft dollars’
  • Identify important races and convince member groups to get involved
  • Use a voter file to make sure they are eligible to participate (aka registered voters)
  • We organize photo shoots in member offices (we pay for this, have them shake hands with the candidate in the photo, and then use this is our direct mailings)
  • Why it works
    • Members may have strong ties to your goal – so it is in their best interest to participate
    • Members can rely on the communications because it comes from us, a trusted source
    • It’s impactful because the candidates remember. It’s an effective imprint.

Member Support

  • You may have a hard time convincing your membership
  • There may not be local support for partisan communications
  • You can keep your advocacy efforts tradition- but make sure it is also digital
  • It can be an issue when leadership has no interest in raising money for candidates (like in this election)

Effect of Voter Registration

  • Worked with your members (or co-ops) to create hubs where people register to vote and allow members to pay their bills – this presents a unique opportunity
  • Found success in working with the US Elections Project for our GOTV project (organization increased turnout by half a million)

Role of Independent Expenditures

  • Some organizations work closely with Congressmen for their videos
  • Ask them how your organization can help with their election and they may even offer you their office resources
  • Coordination is important when creating political content
  • Ads act as a campaign ad but they are really issue ads

Effective Independent Expenditure Campaigns

  • You run independent expenditure campaigns to show the candidates support on your issues
  • Find the issue that nobody was talking about but avoid the controversial and focus on what everyone would support
  • You can’t tell candidates that you ran the ads but they’ll certainly know about it