So, you think you can't afford a campaign consultant.
You think you can't even afford a consultation with one to find out what you need to know to at least have a fighting chance.
You think you need to save every penny in your meager bank account to print a flyer you and your army of eager volunteers will walk to every door in the district.
Let me let you in on a dirty little secret:
That is how to lose money and to lose your race too.
Because just like they tell you in business school, you have to spend money to make money, or in the campaign context you have to spend money to make the money you need to get the votes.
If this sounds like I'm turning campaigning into a crass commercial venture, I'm not. I'm just dealing
in reality-based reality. Why do you think they also say "Money is the mother's milk of politics"?
It will look like crap and it likely will be seen as crap by the people who get it.
It will cost more and be more hassle than doing it right.
Ink costs money. Paper costs money. Shoe leather costs money. Your volunteers are likely to flake out (Sorry, they just do, even those most eager and in love with your issues). You will go to homes where no one votes, or no one votes in your election.
Your message will not be read because it will be too long; believe me nothing turns off voters than too much information. It's counteractive, I know, but oh so true.
Campaigning by the stars.
Yes, it is possible to win your way, if a number of factors line up on your side. It's kind of like doing your horoscope. Were you born under the right sign? Are the stars lining up on your side? Like, is there no opponent? That would be a big plus and yes, one way to win. Don't count on it. Is your District 1000 homes or less? If so, I agree, get out there and door knock. You can meet every single voter, maybe twice. Most Districts are larger than this.
Are you a rock star; is your name a household word (and not a bad one)? If so, you probably don't need to do anything. But if so, you can probably afford to enhance your name recognition by hiring a consultant, a campaign manager, and the best printers in your area to craft your message and make sure the voters see it with your beautiful mug plastered on the front page.
Why not do it right and maximize your chances to win?
You need a print shop experienced with campaign mail (there are different rules and timeline than for regular bulk mail) and a mailhouse who can safely and quickly print and mail your material with the proper indicia in a timely manner to get delivered before election day.
You will need a list of frequent voters, not the list of all voters you can buy from your Registrar of Voters office. Unless one of your ace volunteers is a computer whiz and can sort the information into frequent voters and create the proper forms and keep the data base you need to keep track of everything.
You will need a kitchen cabinet, to advise you on the issues of importance in your race. Will these people also pound the pavement for you, hit the phones? Maybe some will. But you need to plan a carefully calculated field campaign so you are making the best of what volunteers you have.
Take a workshop.
At the least, spend a few hundred dollars on a worskshop with a seasoned consultant who will point out these things to you and your campaign team, show you the places to go for maximum impact, train you in field and help you develop your message.
Better yet, take a workshop with a campaign fundraiser, who can show you how to raise the money you need to do it right and win your race.
Mail is expensive. We recently consulted with a local candidate who had already spent at least a third more than he needed to for sending out a flyer (with way too much information in it) to every voter in his district. Besides being too early to register with the voters, with what he would have saved by targeting his mail, he could have paid for our time to help him deliver the right message and get it to the right voters at the right time.
Don't let this happen to you. Call for a consultation with an experienced consultant before you start your run. You won't regret it in the long run. Even if you lose, you'll know you did everything right and have positioned yourself for another run in the future.