How to Write a Campaign Field Plan - National Democratic Training Committee

We are big on plans. Finance, field, campaign, press, social media plans and more. Every aspect of your campaign needs one. Of all the plans you make, your campaign field plan may be the most important — well, after the finance plan, of course! So how do you write a campaign field plan?

Your field plan should include a lot of information about your voters and how you plan to win, but most importantly, it needs to tell you:

  • How many votes you need to win.
  • Where these voters are.
  • How you will make certain these voters will vote for you.

Seems simple enough. After all, this is politics, not rocket science. You just need one more vote than your opponent to win. So, how do you go about building a field plan? We’ve created a whole suite of lessons, but here are five basic steps for how you’ll write a campaign field plan.

1. Determine turnout and your win number

This is how many voters you expect in your election and how many you need to win.

2. Determine your expected base vote and vote deficit

You need to know how many votes will you receive no matter what, just by the nature of having your name on the ballot. Does this number get you to your vote goal? Usually no, so you likely face a vote deficit.

3. Identify your persuasion universe

Your persuasion universe is the group of voters you want to convince to vote for you leading up to election day. These voters are not going to be casting their ballot for you unless you persuade them. They are not base votes.

4. Persuade your persuasion universe

Time to knock on doors. Make phone calls. Shake babies and kiss hands. (Kidding. We just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)

Your plan needs to tell you how many voters you need to contact and how often. It should also lay out how many volunteers you need to hit weekly targets to meet your overall goal.

5. Get Out the Vote — GOTV

This is the traditional vision of political campaigns. GOTV usually begins the weekend before election day. However, with so many different opportunities for people to cast their ballot early, it really starts the moment voting in any form begins.

If your race is small enough, you may have a full list of every voter you’ve targeted to win. On a larger race, it may be a list of groups who are in your base vote and identified persuasion targets. Either way, it’s all about making certain everyone who said they would vote for you will.

Remember: time is a finite resource for every campaign, well-funded and otherwise. Those final weeks and days are critical to getting the highest turnout possible. Take advantage of these tips from NDTC trainers who have experience managing GOTV leading up to Election Day.

These are the five basic steps for how to write a campaign field plan. Check out our lessons to learn more about how accomplish each of these goals.



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