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In a modern political campaign, the campaign database is the single most important tool. The right database system will allow your campaign to run more efficiently and effectively. A good system will save time, increase the amount of funds raised, improve voter contact and may just make the difference between winning and losing.
With these stakes, the decision regarding a campaign database needs to be made carefully and with a full analysis of the risks involved.
Consider these top 10 mistakes campaigns make in choosing their database system:
In the 2004 election cycle, websites, email and online fundraising assumed a growing prominence. In each of these areas, new high marks were established in both volume and audience-reach.
However, 2004 also saw the emergence of a powerful new set of web-based tools that I have come to call Distributed Campaigning. While these second-generation Internet tools could eventually prove even more valuable than on-line fundraising, they also have the potential to inflict serious damage to a campaign.
While good campaign management software can make it easier to file FEC reports (see
A few simple checks will help keep you out of trouble and avoid the need to file amendments of FEC reports.
Let's say your opponent is bringing a big shot in from out of town. It's a last minute event, a rally designed to drum up support and raise money. He's a big figure with your opponent's base, but he's also a polarizing figure in your district.
If your campaign has the right tools in place, you can use this.
You don't have much time, the event in a couple days. You need to rally your own supporters and get them motivated to protest the event. Email is a great way to get
Picture your volunteer walking through a neighborhood in your district. He's going door-to-door for you, telling people about your campaign, trying to turn them into supporters. Are you preparing that volunteer to get the job done? Does he know anything about the people who live in that next house or is he just knocking on the door and hoping for the best?
Now picture him with a simple clip board, on it are only the addresses of registered voters you want to target. He's coming to 24 Maple Street and knows that Janet Smith lives here. He knows she's 53 and isn't registered to
While some politicos still cling doggedly to their well-loved clipboards and broken pencils, those items deserve a more appropriate interment in the Museum of Campaigns Past. Today, you simply must use a database system. It is the lifeblood of your campaign, the one place (ideally) where you will plan events, track fundraising, catalog volunteers, and manage your budget.
There are two things you should keep in mind about database systems. First, you need a good one. Second, you need to use it right. A good tool poorly used is no better than no tool at all. Imagine using your