Election day is now in sight and it is time to start preparing your campaign for its final push into November. Though it is easy to say that your campaign simply enters overdrive during this time frame, this idea ignores so key activities that, though they don’t ensure victory, certainly can cause defeat if they don’t take place.
During this time your foundations should be solid, allowing you to focus on the most important part of any campaign: talking to and listening to the people you hope to represent. If not, you are going to start to see the painful effects of a poor internal structure.
The majority of your time will be spent knocking on doors and being seen - but don’t neglect your finances - you are going to need as much money as possible as you prepare for the final push.
When to start: 1-2 months prior to the election (September - October)
Aside from ensuring that reports are being made and everything is in order, your administrative activities should be fairly quiet as you get closer to election day. Shift focus to whatever other areas need the most attention at any particular moment.
Historically, campaigns see a surge in donations as you get closer and closer to election day. Voters are excited and it is easy for candidates to make their pitch for a few more dollars to go towards lawn signs or literature.
On the flip side, most of your organizational money should have come in, so don’t spend an excessive amount of time chasing additional PAC/Corporate/Union dollars - odds are good that you are spinning your wheels if you do.
Continue to keep an eye on your budget as you are going to want to start preparing for your Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities - nothing would be worse than trying to make ends meet as you go into this vital time.
By this point you should be finishing up the second, or possibly even starting the third, pass on walking the district, making sure to identify as many voters as possible so that you know exactly who you intend to target when it is time to turn to GOTV activities.
Be as visible as possible during this time. Voters are starting to make up their minds (and in some areas receiving ballots through vote by mail programs) and it is always helpful for voters to put a face to the name and your platform positions.
You are also probably seeing an uptick in volunteers to the campaign. Whenever possible, send these volunteers to knock on doors with you - but be sure you have the supplies to do so.
Ultimately, the most important activity you can be doing at this time is making sure that voters know who you are and are able to connect with your campaign.
Your communications activities should be in full gear during the final few months of the campaign. You may have bought ads in local publications and on the internet, and odds are good that you have been invited to a debate or two.
Though the one-on-one communication that comes from knocking on doors and attending events is ideal, the reality is that you won’t be able to reach everyone, so make sure that you are using mass media as much as your budget will allow during this time so that voters know who you are and how to get a hold of you.
Check out all the phases of a campaign below!