Political Campaign Field Plan Template
May 16, 2019
A Field plan is a comprehensive blueprint detailing the exact goals, targets, deadlines, and tactics needed to meet your vote goal and win. It is one of the most pivotal components of the larger campaign plan.
This plan outlines your campaign’s strategy to contact voters in order to persuade them to vote and then to actually cast their ballots.
Your political campaign Field plan is broken down into five parts;
- Vote Goal
- Ballot Access Plan
- Voter Targeting
- Voter Contact Plan
Megan’s Campaign Field Plan
To demonstrate how to use the campaign plan template to develop a Field plan were once again going to use Megan Hammond as an example. Megan is our imaginary candidate running for School Board in Bear County, New Mexico.
To create your own Field plan you’ll want to use both our campaign plan and our Key Field Numbers Workbook to help you with your calculations.
Every field plan is unique to its district, so while the numbers in Megan’s plan may look different than your own, the concepts are the same and can be helpful as you create your own plan!
Calculate Your Vote Goal
The first step of any campaign field plan is to calculate your vote goal. This is the number of votes you need to win based on projected voter turnout and number of registered voters. There are many influences that might affect your vote goal; corresponding elections, hot button issues, and historical turnout to name a few.
This might seem a bit difficult at first, but don’t worry! Take NDTC’s course “Calculating Your Vote Goal” for a guide to the entire process.
Take Megan—she took the course and did her research on Bear County’s previous turnout rates, corresponding elections and issues, and the number of registered voters. All this info led her to a total vote goal of 1,811 votes.
With a solid idea of the number of votes that she needs to win her election, Megan can plan how to reach voters and work towards her goal!
Ballot Access Plan
For every public office, there are specific forms that must be submitted in order to declare your candidacy. Depending on the office and district these forms will look different. So for your own Field plan, it’s important to research which forms are necessary, when they’re due, and who they are due to.
Megan’s candidacy for School Board requires a Declaration of Candidacy, a Candidate Committee Registration Form, and Nomination Petitions.
Many positions require nominating petitions where a candidate must collect a certain amount of signatures in order to get their name on the ballot. The number of required signatures is typically provided by an election official. But if not, you may have to calculate the number based on the population of past voting figures.
Megan’s plan requires 49 signatures, but her goal is to get 100. In order to achieve her goal, she includes a proposed schedule of events where she plans to ask for signatures.
If you’re unsure of what your district requires in order to declare a candidacy make sure to contact your local election official or check out our compilation of state resources for help!
Voter targeting allows you to focus your time and resources on the right voters.
But who are the right voters? Targeting is all about persuading those who are not in your base vote to vote for you come election day. So the voters you’ll most likely be targeting are low-frequency voters and swing voters who are persuadable.
If you’re a Democratic candidate running in a predominantly Democratic area then you probably don’t have to worry about too much voter targeting. But if you’re like Megan and your area isn’t predominantly Democratic then you should consider who you’re going to target and how.
The best tools for determining both your number of base voters and your vote deficit are local election history and Votebuilder, a software that helps gather voter data. Megan used these tools to discover that she has 1,149 base voters, or registered Democratic voters, which leaves a vote deficit of 662 voters.
Take NDTC’s course, “Votebuilder 101,” to learn the basic features of Votebuilder, and how it can support your Field campaign.
In order to ensure she gets those 662 votes that will win her the election, she multiplies her deficit by 3 to get 1,986 voters that she will work to contact. This number is known as her Persuasion Universe which is further broken down into 3 types of voters:
- Low-Frequency Voters
- Anti-Voucher Program Voters
- High-Frequency Independents
Each of these groups has an estimated conversion goal which Megan will aim to achieve before the election. The next step is to devise her plan to reach these voters!
Voter Contact Plan
The most important part of a voter contact plan is outreach. How, when, and where are you going to get in contact with your persuasion universe?
Activities and events such as meet and greets, canvassing, and phone banking are great ways to meet potential voters.
Your Voter Contact Plan is a prioritized plan of all the different outreach activities/events planned over the course of your campaign. For every planned activity record your conversion goals and number of hours you intend to spend on each. This will help you keep track of your progress towards your vote goal.
In Megan’s field plan she prioritizes high-density precincts for her door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. This allows her to allocate her time and energy efficiently so that she can reach the most people in her persuasion universe.
The final element of the Field plan is a comprehensive fieldwork timeline. This includes all the voter contact activities, goals, and major deadlines. A timeline with all important dates and goals will keep your campaign organized and ensure you’ll achieve your vote goal!
Megan’s timeline begins in January and runs through her election on November 3rd. In order to be as efficient as possible Megan’s timeline is divided into different phases of outreach/voter contact by month.
Looking for More?
NDTC’s Field Tactics course goes beyond what we’ve already covered in this post. Taking this can help you build a timeline and learn best practices for your Field plan. Here’s a quick preview of what it has to offer:
Alongside Field Tactics, our courses on Calculating Your Vote Goal, Targeting Voters, and Votebuilder 101 are all great resources that will help you develop your own Field plan and your larger campaign plan.
NDTC’s Field plan template will also help you start planning your Field operation today. You’ll see examples of each of the components of a Field plan, as well as sample numbers and calculations to aid your campaign’s Field planning.
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