5 Election Planning Tips

Unless you’ve been on a long term digital detox, you have likely noticed it’s an election year. Although we are more than 6 months away from the general election, many campaigns are in full swing.  Below are a few tips for your electoral organizing efforts.

1. Get some counseling. While you made need some therapy after the elections, you’ll definitely want legal counsel before you start. First, last and many times in between, check with your legal counsel about what is and is not permissible for your organization when it comes to the elections.  There are also a lot of great resources to get you started from the Bolder Advocacy Initiative of the Alliance for Justice. Check out their resources to help you navigate the rules of electoral activity here.

2. Consider your impact. Yes, 2012 is a presidential election year. And yes, the media will be blanketed in coverage of the race. But there will also be initiatives, referendums, school boards members, state legislators, and more on the ballot. These will also have lasting impact and receive state and local media and blog coverage. Consider where and how your organization might have an impact or be a key player.

3. Make it mobile and social. Do you have a resource that might help your constituents on election day? Whether it is a polling site locator, candidate guide or any other type of resource that is good to reference on election day, do your best to make it mobile friendly. People will be waiting in line at the polls, checking facebook or twitter on the bus or train and you want your information to be quick and easy to read.

4. Make the most of your resources. Making a voter guide? Send it in the mail, highlight it multiple times in e-mail (if you have capacity, customize your content based on districts), add it to your volunteer orientation kit, tweet a tidbit and link to the full guide, bring it to your major donor meetings, have it with you when you table, schedule time for volunteers to hand it out at a public event.

5. Check the mail. Vote by mail is required in WA and OR. Be sure to adjust your communication calendar in these states to reflect the ballot in hands date and deadline for return. In addition, many states offer the option to vote absentee with no excuse and mail in options continue to grow, especially in CA, CO and HI.  Keep these folks in mind while drafting your GOTV plans as well.