30 Apr Election Day 2014 – Are You Ready?
It’s hard to believe that in just six short months, Americans will be heading back to the polls, to cast their ballots in many pivotal races that will determine control of the U.S. House, Senate and state governments.
Every day that passes is one less day that your organization has to engage your stakeholders, whether they are PAC members, advocates, employees or association or coalition members. Many opportunities exist to build relationships with your stakeholders and educate them about the races. And if you get a head start now, there are creative and engaging ways you can encourage them to take part in their civic duty while advancing your PAC or advocacy goals.
Educating stakeholders around the elections isn’t about wading into partisan politics. You can develop a non-partisan platform about civic participation and taking part in your constitutional rights. Successful PAC and advocacy programs excel at linking the impact of issues and elections and their communities and jobs, for example. With a few easy steps, you can set your audience up to be informed and engaged voters while at the same time, generating interest in your programs. Here are a few recommendations to consider:
GOTV communications for employees, retirees and all other stakeholders.
Don’t wait until October to start implementing your Get out the Vote program. Primary and general election registration deadlines vary by state and sneak up with little warning. Research these deadlines for your key states and communicate around them via your regular communication tools (you are communicating regularly, right?). By developing an engagement calendar now, you will know when to communicate and what information to discuss. Communications can link stakeholders to your PAC or organization website where you can embed tools that allow users to register to vote, identify their polling place or learn about the candidates in a few easy clicks. If you have legislative action tools, you probably already have this content. By doing this, you are turning your program website into a virtual civic participation engine!
Develop a voter information toolkit.
Ramping up for the election early means you have time to get creative. You don’t have to endorse specific candidates. But you can help your members make informed decisions. Identify the key issues that you’re focused on and turn them into engaging materials. By identifying the issues your stakeholders should consider when they head to the polls and providing information on where the various candidates stand, you have empowered them to make informed decisions. A flier or issues pamphlet can be crafted to help stakeholders remember the issues you are focusing on this election. A poster in the break room reminding employees to vote (no matter who they vote for) is an easy way to increase engagement and drive traffic to your website.
Voter education video.
720 has found that one of the most effective ways to share information and drive engagement is through video. Video can be engaging and help to promote civic participation and your particular programs. When you start thinking about Election Day early, there is plenty of time to develop your own video message. Maybe you already have a Grassroots or PAC video that you use for recruiting and fundraising – based on its level of success, you may want to consider additional video content that promotes the value of your PAC and the importance of the elections.
Plan events or conference calls with members.
From tele-townhall meetings to “Pizza (or pancakes) and Politics,” staging a memorable event can help your members get excited about the process – and your programs. Is there an exciting race in the state where your company is headquartered? Reach out to the candidates and ask them to stop by and meet your employees. PAC members will appreciate value-added events and candidates are typically interested in direct outreach to voters. A conference call with a political prognosticator who can lay out what is happening in the political arena can be an easy way to generate interest in the election. Alternatively, you can have a leader in your Washington office hold a webinar or conference call to talk about their impressions of the coming election and what changes in political dynamics could mean for your issues.
So think about getting ahead of the game and being prepared for the upcoming elections. Planning early will help you to create value for your stakeholders, build a more informed voter base and benefit your programs via increased traffic.
Questions or comments? Contact us.
For more information on planning a successful GOTV program, contact 720 Strategies at 202.962.3955 or via email at [email protected].