What’s the hot topic with our K-12 education clients these days? It’s how to get a bond issue or operating levy passed in the current economic climate. The first thing I will tell you is that it’s not easy. It’s going to take a team of hard-working, dedicated people (insert shameless plug for SHP here) to make it happen. But it CAN happen.
Here’s a quick synopsis to get you started:
- Research – It’s important to understand your community. And we mean everything about your community. The best way to do this is to start with a solid master plan. This way you’ve already vetted options, with costs, and you have a good understanding of what your community will and will not support. This is the best want to build consensus BEFORE you go to the ballot. Also, your local Board of Elections is your friend. Remember last fall when you were inundated with calls, mailings, etc.? Were you wondering how they knew so much about you? Well, this is how.
- Message – Based off your research, you can now develop an appropriate message that will resonate with your community. You’ll first need an overall campaign theme. This will provide an overarching message to all of your constituents on what’s important and what’s at stake. It should be simple, yet powerful. For consistency, this message should appear on all of your campaign materials. You can target specific messages for specific demographics, or even precinct by precinct, but make sure it aligns with your theme too. After we help our clients with messaging, we often help them with material development. This includes a variety of items like yard signs, door hangers, brochures, billboards, etc.
- Stategize, Organize and Implement – How are you going to reach your voters? We have several successful strategies that we utilize. It is critical that you have a team assembled to help implement various tasks, because there are a lot them. (Don't worry, we'll be there to help you and keep you on track.) You will also need to have a campaign leader, someone who is trusted in your community, as your spokesperson. Often times it's your superintendent, but it doesn't have to be. Make this person available at a variety of events, such as community engagement sessions or a meeting at the local coffee shop. In addition, with the onslaught of early voting and absentee ballots it is now even more important than ever that you are well prepared and begin your campaign planning early.
There you have it; a very brief overview on how to craft a successful campaign. It’s all about working with the right people toward a common goal. Are you looking for more information on how to begin your campaign? We'd love to help! Please feel free to contact us for more information.