The Secret to a Standout Campaign

Jennifer Green, Co-Founder

14 April 2018

It’s simple. When you want to stand out from the competition, your strategy can’t be the same as everyone else’s, or “the way it’s always been done.”

You can’t be a special unicorn if you do what all the other horses do.

What makes you better than the other candidates?

There are more women running than ever before, and it’s important to differentiate yourself. The number of resources for women candidates is growing, but it can be hard to keep up! We’ve collected a few campaign strategy success stories and resource organizations that could help you stand out in your campaign.

As part of their political leadership training for and by Black women, Higher Heights for America recently put on a candidate training webinar called The Chisholm Effect: #BlackWomenLead in collaboration with VoteRunLead. Their guest speakers included NC Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisor Danielle Adams, CO State Representative Leslie Herod and Lea Webb, former City Council Representative in Binghamton, NY who now does community organizing, speaking and consulting.

Take a tactical risk

Webb was the youngest and first African American woman elected to City Council in the history of Binghamton and even though conventional political wisdom says to focus outreach efforts on known voters, she also invested time and energy during her campaign to reach out to people who had never voted before. In a race that would typically see only an 8% turnout, voter turnout was over 20% and she won her race.

Try something no one has ever done

The Run for Something PAC launched January 20, 2017 with a plan to “help recruit and support young diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future.” Thinking they might recruit “maybe 100 potential candidates in the first year, [they] recruited more than 15,000 millennials who want to run for local office for the first time” in 2017. Who would have guessed young people might be interested in politics?

Be Yourself

Although transgender people have run for and won public office in the past, 2017 saw six openly transgender candidates win their offices for the first time: Danica Roem, Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham, Lisa Middleton, Tyler Titus and Stephe Koontz. Don’t underestimate the appeal of being real and authentic. In spite of “The sky is falling!” articles on the ineffectiveness of traditional campaigning from The Atlantic and Vox, a 2016 study showed that an issue-focused door-to-door campaign to reduce transphobia was effective at changing the minds of Miami residents. So keep your focus on the issues you’re passionate about instead of partisan politics.

Victory Fund is “the only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government.” You can apply for endorsement here.

 

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