January 28, 2018
By Lindsay Fountain
You’ve got a committee name.
You have a kitchen cabinet.
You’ve got a fundraising plan.
You have a field plan.
You have a website and Facebook page.
It’s time to start hosting campaign events!
You’re going to host events for several reasons: meeting voters, building relationships, and raising money.
Tip: Make sure you know your goal before you start planning the event.
Some events can serve multiple purposes, and that’s fantastic! But you should plan the event with a single focus.
An event to meet voters (be it to identify them or persuade them) can be extremely valuable. In an average hour of canvassing you might knock 15–25 doors, and hopefully speak with 4–6 voters. However, at a single meet-and-greet event you may be able to speak to 40 to 50 in the same amount of time. Hosting a few of these events early in your campaign can help you reduce the number of hours you and your team will need to spend walking and dialing.
An event to build relationships is absolutely something you should consider in the early stages of your campaign — especially if you do not have deep roots in your community. This type of event can help you build authentic, two-way relationships with validators in your district. Ideally, this kind of event will help you create opportunities to have more in-depth conversations with these folks. Do you want to invite them to a meet and greet so they can see you with supporters? Or would you prefer to plan a smaller event like a dinner with a very targeted guest list?
An event to raise money will almost certainly be part of your campaign plan. Events provide a great environment to ask for donations, and your event date helps create the urgency. Make sure you explicitly state your event’s fundraising expectations in your invitation. This might be a ticket price, a suggested donation, or tiered donation levels.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to say no to a holding an event. If it looks like an event would be a drain on a valuable campaign resource (time, money, and/or people), say no. Go back to the drawing board.
For more guidance on throwing successful campaign events, head over to our online school and take the full Campaign Events course.