Field strategies for campaign success during COVID-19 and beyond

Field Strategies That Achieve Results During COVID-19

Field strategies are an important part of campaigns, especially for voter contact, data collection, GOTV and persuasion. Whether you’re running a public affairs campaign or a political campaign, field strategies will not produce the expected return if you do not have the right planning, preparation, and field strategies in place. Now, with COVID-19, setting goals is more important than ever. Make sure you have a complete plan in place before using field strategies or other political tactics.

Here are our tips on how to get the most out of your field strategies for your political and advocacy campaigns.

First, plan: Having a real field plan is important. Whether you’re running an advocacy, accountability, or political campaign, having a real-world plan for grassroots engagement will ensure your field strategies have the desired impact.

Do you have a budget: A field budget isn’t created overnight (believe me, I’ve tried); It comes from good strategy, planning, and really crisp numbers. Make sure you are spending money on the right tactic and strategy to get the results you want.

Know your numbers: Voting targets, swing votes in a legislative committee for advocacy campaigns, percentage needed to avoid a runoff, these numbers are important. Knowing where the voices are coming from and achieving your goal is both an art and a science. The right field strategies – door knocking, digital ads, phone calls, petition filings, and others – will help you get there.

Use data wisely: Data can contribute to the success of your campaign, but data alone without on-site knowledge can lead to a losing strategy. If a universe is too narrow, it can mean your recruiters are walking past too many houses. If your universe is too wide, you can talk to people who have no control over your campaign.

Hire the right team: Good field strategies are all based on a team of people who can work towards your goals. Making sure you hire the right people and hold them accountable for their work is a critical part of the win.

Measurement results: Having real goals for metrics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis can really show whether or not you’re meeting the campaign’s goals. Sometimes activists don’t want to know their results, but that’s a big mistake.

Think about your goals: Knowing what your goals are can help ensure that your field effort is actually helping to achieve your goals, or if you need other tactics to get the results you want.

Know your resources: A campaign has three core resources: people, time, and money. Each campaign has a different level of funding, and different field strategies require different amounts of these three resources. Keep this in mind when deciding which field strategies to use.

Choose the right tactic: Not every tactic will work to achieve your goal. Don’t just pick a tactic because that’s what we always do. Make sure you have tactics in place to achieve the goals and get a clear buy-in from your coalition.

Acquisition – why acquisition?
Sign-ups at the door, face-to-face meetings, long-term engagement, and fundraisers work (if it’s safe) However, the canvas is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It can achieve different goals and results.

Phones – Who Are You Calling?
The elderly are still answering the phone, and during COVID-19, more people are answering phones at home than before. Understand the rules of cell phone calling and build capacity accordingly.

Courtyard signs
Advertising signs are an integral part of campaigns and can be an important tool for voting races and voting actions. Make sure you have an actual strategic goal for your advertising campaign, like visibility, delivery and low turnout. Understanding your goals for advertising signs will help you order the right number of signs and allocate and build resources for volunteers and staff accordingly.

List creation
Telephone town halls, digital displays, tear-off postcards, emails, and user-generated content can all be part of a field list-building campaign. Define metrics to help you meet your larger listing goals and what you need for the return on each tactic.

Who can you reach by text? Understand the voter universe that you need to reach and decide if SMS is a good medium to reach them. Older voters are not easy to text, but younger and middle-aged voters are better. Members are a very good target because they have confidence in your organization.

Relational organization
Getting people in the community to reach out to their friends and family is a powerful way to really get involved organically. Relational organization enables your volunteers and staff to put their relationships into action.

For recruiting
Strong field strategies are a great way to find other people who can help your campaign and movement. You can recruit through petitioning to build your list or find people who create usage-generated content to help the cause.

Petitions, whether online or in person, are a great way to get follow-up action in your area.

User generated content
There are many user-generated content tools that you can use to create a compelling message. Your field sales team can reach out to people to get them talking about the campaign and help you connect with the community.

Timed coordination
Field strategies have different ramp-up times. For example, petitions and full canvas programs take a long time and gradually increase. Patch-through calls or GOTV calls can move much faster. No, no matter what, it will take a while to reach the maximum range. So don’t accept with the same contact rate every day.

Adapt to your community
Calling people on Shabbat or during a packers game may be tempting because you know most people will be home, but it’s not a good idea. You want to respect the time you use.

For politics
Understand who to reach out to and how to communicate with them. Ask if the medium is achieving your political goal. Visibility, signups, persuasion, and voter turnout all have field tactics that fit the goal – but not all tactics will fit your audience.

For the legal profession
Advocacy field tactics should be pretty clearly tied to goals – signups, patch-through calls, phone town halls, etc. But not everyone sets these goals and advocacy metrics in advance. Make sure you do.

Evaluate and plan for next time
Program evaluation is important and something that many organizations and campaigns do not have time for. Prioritize learning and your campaign will be better next time.

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