Political Campaign Strategy: Fundraising and Planning
Campaigning, Fundraising, and Planning
A campaign takes a great deal of preparation before it is launched. It is important to create a political campaign strategy to determine a plan of attack before jumping in and making signs. Before throwing your hat in the ring, you need to do some research. First, you need to figure out who is running so you can determine your chances for election. You should look at voter satisfaction with the current elected official as well as the competitor.
Once you’ve made the decision that you will be campaigning, you need to figure out a strategy. As you begin to make these plans keep in mind the amount of time and money it will take to carry out your plan. Will you have a group of volunteers helping you? Will you have a paid staff? There are a lot of decisions that will need to be made when determining your strategy.
Once you have the plan in place, you will prepare for your campaign. You will need to gather the people who will be working with you and start preparing your campaigning materials. When you launch your campaign, you will want to use social media to create a buzz. As time goes on, you will need to keep your name in conversations by planning events and maintaining a dialogue.
The Lockhart Group has extensive experience in every aspect of campaigning and will be a valuable resource as you develop, launch, and maintain your campaign.
If you want to have a successful initiative, you need to have a strong political campaign strategy. Most laws come to be because they are drafted in the House and Senate. However, when that is not an option, initiatives can be a successful way for citizens to get their concerns addressed. However, they take quite a bit of ground work before you get to the petition stage.
Before you even begin the process, first you need to ensure that your initiative is sound. You will want to get as much feedback as possible on your draft to ensure that it captures what you are trying to achieve. Keep in mind that the State of Utah requires that an initiative only addresses one issue that is clearly stated in the title of the initiative.
Once you have created your initiative and have received input from a large group of people, you will be ready to find your sponsors. In order to submit your initiative, you will need to have at least five sponsors. You will also need to include a detailed plan that identifies how you will circulate the petition and what the cost of the circulation will be.
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When your plan and other documents are ready, you will present the initiative to the governor. After the governor has viewed the petition you must hold seven public meetings around the state to get feedback. Then you will make modifications based on the feedback you receive at these meetings and from other stakeholders.
When you have edited and revised your initiative, then you will come back and submit it again with a report detailing how much the proposed initiative will cost the government. After you have completed all of these steps, then you may get permission to begin the petitioning process.
In order to be considered, an initiative needs a percentage of the total number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election. So in the state of Utah for 2022, in order to create an initiative, you need at least 137,000 signatures, Just having those signatures isn’t enough. You also need to meet the signature threshold for twenty-six of the twenty-nine districts to ensure that the signatures are representing the majority of the state and not a specific region.
Creating a successful initiative is a complicated process. If you are looking at creating an initiative, the Lockhart Group can provide valuable insight and feedback throughout the process.
Political Action Committee (PAC) Development and Management
When you have a clear purpose and campaign strategy and want to create a powerhouse to support your initiatives, you may need to create a Political Action Committee (PAC) to help fund and support your purpose.
Creating a PAC
First, you must determine the purpose of your group and the best organization type for your purpose. Just because you want to support a candidate, doesn’t mean that you automatically must create a PAC. It is most helpful to first understand what a PAC is not.
A PAC is described by the Federal Election Committee as a
- “Popular term for a political committee that is neither a party committee nor an authorized committee of a candidate. PACs directly or indirectly established, administered or financially supported by a corporation or labor organization are called separate segregated funds (SSFs). PACs without such a corporate or labor sponsor are called nonconnected PACs.” (https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/registering-pac/understanding-nonconnected-pacs/)
So basically, if you are a PAC, you must NOT be connected to any other organization. If you have a connection with political parties, corporations, or the candidate would mean a different type of committee.If you fit the criteria for a PAC due to your disconnectedness then you can prepare to register with the Federal Election Committee.
In order to register with the Federal Election Committee you will need the following:
- A Statement of Organization
- A Tax ID Number for your organization
- A bank account created using your Tax ID number at an approved bank
One of the most difficult parts of creating a PAC is all the specific requirements and identifying what your PAC is. Are you an independent, expenditure-only PAC or a committee with non-contribution accounts? If you are either of those, you will need to fill out a specific form. In addition, there are also Super PACS and Hybrid PACS.
Managing Your PAC
Then when you have actually been able to register your PAC, there are very specific rules and requirements about documenting your activity. You will need to submit receipts and disbursements and itemize expenditures. All of your spending and disbursements are carefully monitored by the EOC. When creating and managing a PAC, it is critical that you choose someone that has expertise in this area to help you ensure that you are on track and reporting as needed.
The Lockhart Group has experience with the creation and maintenance of PACS to help you make sure that you are meeting all of the requirements and staying on top of the paperwork.
Political Campaign Planning and Counsel
Running a campaign is more than just registering to run and then printing out a bunch of signs. A political campaign takes a large amount of strategic planning to get your name out there. It is logistically impossible to knock on every single door and meet every potential voter, so you need to find a method that will reach the most people without overwhelming your supporters or budget.
There are many aspects to running a political campaign and the Lockhart Group can help you every step of the way from planning to implementing the plan to troubleshooting and tracking numbers.
Political Vendor Assessment and Insight
When looking at political vendors, it can be overwhelming to determine which one to choose. You need to be able to look at the services offered to determine if it will meet your needs. Political vendors provide a variety of services from media design such as campaign webpage creation and administration to sign creation and distribution. As part of your strategic campaign plan, you need to determine which vendor’s services are the most important for your goals and which ones fit into your budget.
The Lockhart Group can provide counsel as you work to choose which political vendors. They can also help you interpret the data that you get from your vendors to ensure that they are reaching your desired population.
Event Development and Management
As part of your campaigning, you will need to plan events to help publicize your campaign. Just booking a venue, setting a date on your social media and planning the food isn’t enough. You will need to publicize and market your events to ensure that you get high attendance numbers. As you are planning, it is important to ensure that the cost of the event provides a significant benefit to your campaign. It is important to keep these in mind as you start developing your events.
As you plan the event, you need to ensure that you have the venue, the food, the agenda, and the guest list. You will need someone to help you run the event and make sure that things go smoothie and check off all the items on the list.
The Lockhart Group has extensive experience in successful event planning and management. We can help you ensure that your event is well attended and helps you achieve your goals.
Fundraising Advisement and Strategy
When you are running a campaign, be it for a personal election or for a larger issue, you will need to figure out how to fund it. Campaigns aren’t cheap and you will need to find people to support your cause. So you will need to create a fundraising plan. Fundraising includes everything from approaching associates about contributing to hosting large fundraising events to mailers asking for donations to social media campaigns. The important thing is to choose the right fundraising strategy for you and your needs.
The Lockhart Group has experience with strategic fundraising. They can help you reach your goals.
Message and Collateral Development
In order to ensure that you get the most support for your campaign, you need to create an accurate, compelling message. The process of crafting a message takes a lot of different drafts and trying to get to the essence of your goal. You also want to make sure that you present your message in a way that will not throw off or offend your audience.
Once you have the message, then you can work on building the collateral to help deliver that message. You should look at building collateral in print and digital media to deliver the highest return.
The Lockhart Group can help you develop your effective message. Once we have crafted the message, then we can work together to develop a strategic plan for the development and distribution of the collateral.
From congressional and statewide elections to local municipal races, the Lockhart Group has helped some of Utah’s greatest leaders win elections.
Stan Lockhart’s experience campaigning includes campaigning for his late wife, Becky Lockhart who was Utah’s first female Speaker of the House. Becky was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1999 and served for 16 years.
Stan has also served in elected roles including on the Provo City Council and as the chair of the Utah Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. Stan is very familiar with the election process having run for multiple offices and helped with numerous campaigns.
Sean Reyes, Utah’s Attorney General, shared how Stan got him started in politics in a podcast recorded in July of 2021:
“And if you are a listener and you’re not sure whether you should do it ,call, Stan, he’ll convince you to do it. If he could convince me as busy as I was to fold pamphlets and stuff bags full of tchotchkes and goodies, then you know he can convince anybody.”
The Lockhart Group will be with you every step of the way as you run for office. With experience in every dimension of winning a political campaign, we won’t leave anything to chance, guiding you through a focused field and targeting plan, rapid response needs, political outreach, fundraising efforts, press strategy, and direct voter contact efforts.
We provide customized political strategy, messages that move numbers, and Get-Out-The-Vote programs designed to get your voters to the polls.
- Campaign development, launch, and management for candidates, referendums and ballot initiatives
- Political Action Committee (PAC) development and management
- Political campaign planning and counsel
- Political vendor assessment and insight
- Event development and management
- Fundraising advisement and strategy
- Message and collateral development