You’re Fired!

You’re Fired!

Come November 7th you will either have a job as a politician or you and your staff will be, well, fired. Back to your regular lives. Are you prepared for that? Will you get to make the impact you wanted to if you don’t get elected?

“But, wait! I want to win my, fill in the blank here, school board seat, city council, mayor…”

It’s full court press time and here are the things you can do to make a positive impact on your campaign.

1. Canvass, Canvass, Canvass

KNOCK ON DOORS! This is no time to be shy or feel like you are imposing, this is GO time. We’ve covered canvassing in previous posts but this is one of the most effective tactics to use. When someone shakes your hand or that of you supporting volunteers they will remember you. Particularly if your opponent isn’t canvassing.

ASK FOR THEIR VOTE! Many times when canvassers go door to door they only talk about what the candidate will do and forget to ask for the vote. “I appreciate your time Mr. Smith, can we count on your vote for our candidate?”

2. Make those phone calls

Are you using a system that will allow you to easily make phone calls and track the outcome? Was it a “no answer”, “left voicemail”, “disconnected”, “no longer at that number” or “talked to them – yes vote”, “talked to them – no vote” or “talked to them – undecided”.

With the exception of “talked to them – yes vote”, you should call back everyone else, particularly this week, one week before the general election.

By now, the system you are using should easily be able to deliver a report of the people and numbers you need to call so you don’t have to spend time sorting paper or spreadsheets.

3. Run Social Media Ads

This should have been a tactic early on but if you didn’t jump on this bandwagon months ago now is the time to get in there.

When you run your ads you get to pick the budget, $50? $500? $5,000? All depends on how large your voter base is, demographics of your voter pool will determine which channels you use and which audience in those channels you will target.

When you run your ad be sure to include a call to action! Many people make the mistake of running ads but forget to ask for what they want – for the voter to make a commitment to vote for them.

The call to action can be clicking a button or asking for their email address so you can follow up with them on the issues.

4. Emailing Works

Think email marketing is dead? Think again. It’s highly effective.  If you have permission to email your constituents you should be emailing them. As with calling, canvassing and ads, there needs to be a clear, concise message coupled with a call to action.

5. Poll Watch

We talked about poll watching in last week’s blog and the importance of that.  Having a representative at each polling place can make the difference between winning the election and losing it.

Getting the data of who has voted and who hasn’t is quite valuable on election day.  This information allows you to know which doors to knock on, who to call and ask if they need a ride to the polling place or simply sending them a text.

By knowing who to not reach out to is just as important as knowing who to reach out to.  If someone has already voted you clearly do not need to spend your time talking with them on election day, when time is of the essence.

Remember, most offices have a minimum number of votes they need to even be voted into office. Which means, even if you run unopposed if you don’t get the minimum number of votes, you still may not win your election.

It’s time to put on your walking shoes, headsets and take a seat at your computer to get the last votes you can get.  Using Handraiser software can help you manage all of these tactics from canvassing to email to calling and most important those last few votes using Poll Watch.






Poll Watching Can Win Your Election

Poll Watching Can Win Your Election

You have spent a lot of time campaigning by knocking on doors, making phone calls and sending out mailers. It’s a lot of hard work and with election day only 15 days away you can’t let up now.  Matter of fact, you are probably increasing your outreach efforts.

What are you going to do on election day?  Are you going to continue to call voters, knock on doors or even text them?  Yes, you should.  The bigger question isn’t who you will call, you should have that list by now from your electoral office. It is knowing which voters to call because they haven’t voted yet.  Spending time reaching out to voters who have already voted isn’t going to help you win your election.

Reaching out to those voters who haven’t voted yet can help you win your election.

This is where poll watching can benefit your campaign.  By definition, a poll watcher is a representative of a political party or of an organization running a candidate who is assigned to the polls on an election day to watch for violations of the laws that regulate voting, campaigning, etc. Their main purpose is to ensure voting laws are being complied with, that intimidation or voter fraud isn’t happening and to challenge voters on their identity if needed.

If you do have a poll watcher at the voting precinct then you’ll be able to get the information on who has voted that day.  This information can then be relayed to the campaign or candidate office so they know who to reach out to.  This is usually done by having poll runners collect the data on paper and taking them back to the campaign office.

Depending on the state will depend if you can have your phone with you or not as a poll watcher.  If you can’t, you might be able to petition the electoral office.  If you can or you get permission, you can use technology to help you mark off who has voted.


Let’s enter into the 21st century and use the technology available to us. Why use poll runners and pen and paper when you can use an app? Even if your polling precinct doesn’t allow electronic devices you can still tally the information and then walk outside and send the information electronically.

Voter-marked as voted in Handraiser app.


Handraiser has an app that will help you track this data and it automatically reports it back to your voter database.  Handraiser allows you to upload your voter file that typically has name, address, phone number and a place to mark if they have voted at the polls or not.

This is a very efficient way to work with your volunteers to let them know who to reach out to on election day.  When time is of the essence on election day, your volunteers will now know who to call, what doors to knock on and even who to offer rides to the polls.

Every vote counts, you owe it to your campaign to give it every chance to win that you can.

Canvassing Wins Political Races

Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk

It’s GO time for every candidate, three weeks out from election day and every voter contact can be a vote for you.  This week, we are going to focus on good old-fashioned canvassing.  That’s right, get your walking shoes on, your bottle of water and your walking list…it’s time to hit the streets!

handraiser iphoneCanvassing is as old as campaigning and is very effective.  Matter of fact, most candidates don’t do it enough.  Voters will remember the candidate more if they have personal contact with the campaign whether it’s the candidate or a volunteer. Your candidate or cause will have a higher probability of winning if you outwork your candidate.

There are some basic tactics to use when canvassing to improve your chances of talking with voters.

  1. A good walking list is imperative. This is where your voter file comes in handy. At Handraiser, we even load this into an app so it easier to track supporters, supports or opponents, not home, moved, etc. Maximize the time you spend canvassing by working smart. Written sheets or even spreadsheets are ineffective and archaic.
  2. Knock on EVERY door, even if it looks like they aren’t at home. Once you knock or ring the door bell, wait 45-60 seconds and take a big step back to give the resident personal space. The average for doors being answered is 30% so don’t get discouraged, just keep moving on to the next door.  Leave information in the door but never in their mailbox (that is illegal – only the postman can leave information in the mailbox.) Spend no more than five minutes per door.  You are trying to reach as many voters as possible and still provide great information.
  3. Three points! Be ready to talk about your three main campaign points. Be able to answer why they would vote for your candidate, what will they get if your candidate wins and be prepared to concisely review the three main campaign points.
  4. Pay attention to neighborhood demographics. People are more at ease if they are talking to their peers, similar age and gender. Go in pairs, ideally a man and a woman.
  5. Water, snacks and dog treats are all important to take with you. It’s important to stay hydrated, particularly since you’ll be talking a lot. If you wear sunglasses, be sure to remove them before knocking on the door.
  6. When someone does answer the door follow your script and deliver the three main points of the candidate or cause. Your goal is to get a verbal commitment from them and they will vote for the candidate or issue you are canvassing about.
  7. SMILE and be polite if they don’t agree with your candidate or cause.
  8. Record every stop. Did someone answer, did you talk with the voter? A different voter? Do they support your cause? Do they support the opponent? Can they get to the polls? Do they need a ride?

It’s important to know the outcome of each door canvassed, particularly for election day. Handraiser can track a lot of information when canvassing.  One of the most important things to track is if the voter supports the candidate or if they are indifferent.  This will give you the opportunity to canvass them on election day if you receive real-time voter updates from the polls (which Handraiser can track as well.)

Here’s a one-minute video on how to use technology to canvass.


Would you like to see a demo of how Handraiser’s canvassing app can help you win your election? Click here to schedule a time or send us a note.


Printed and Designed Materials

Running a campaign comprises more than just registering as a candidate and letting your friends and family know you are running for political office.  It involves putting up a website, social media pages, fundraising and canvassing.

Canvassing is a huge part of campaigning but what do you leave behind when you speak with your constituent?  There are a number of items you can handout.  Let’s take a look at effective political campaign materials.

  1. Postcard – multi-faceted in its use.  You can mail them and hand them out when you go door to door canvassing neighborhoods.  You can also use them at rallies or when you are talking with neighbors. Inexpensive and effective in getting the word out about your candidacy.

    Postcard from
  2. Posters – posters are an effective means of promotion of your candidacy and can be put up in libraries, local coffee shops, festivals, etc. Of course, you will want to get permission before hanging up your political poster but it’s a good way to get exposure and your message out at the same time.
  3. Brochures – like postcards they are inexpensive to print and can have a big impact.  These are items you should carry with you at all times so when you are talking with potential voters you can hand them information about you and your platform.

If you are on a tight budget, and most candidates are, how will you get your printed material (and logo for that fact) designed?  You actually have some inexpensive options.

  1. Most print companies have designers on staff.  Vistaprint will design material starting at $5 and if you order the design they apply the design fee to the purchase.

    Template from
  2. is a free tool that allows you to easily design postcards, brochures, posters, etc.  You can download print quality files and have a printing company print them for you.
  3. and are sites with freelancers that will do anything from design a website to graphic designers. Look for freelancers with 5-star ratings and 90%+ re-hire for the best talent.

What should go on your printed material is of utmost importance when designing your printed material.  Make sure your message is clear and concise, it is uncluttered and it is easy to read what you stand for and why.  You won’t have a lot of time to grab someone’s attention, you will want to make sure that your message stands out.

Want to know how Handraiser can help you win your election? Schedule a live demo here!

Show Me The Money!

Show Me The Money!

Running for office is not only a decision of time but certainly of money. Regardless if you are running for local office like the school board or national office like senate or congress you need to raise money to run your campaign.  Typical places to raise money for your campaign are by asking your family, friends and voters who support your platform.  But, what happens when you’ve tapped all of those resources?

You need to expand your area of ask, if you will.  You will have to ask people to donate to your campaign that you don’t personally know.  The good news, it’s easier than it used to be with the advent of social media and digital marketing.

When running a local race, time is money.  A lot of people announce their candidacy 30 days out and typically, don’t spend time on fund raising. Which, is unfortunate because if they had just $5,000 it would make a big difference in the amount of votes they could connect with about their platform.

One of the problems candidates run across is how do they raise money.  You can go to online payment processors like Stripe but the problem is they usually ask for an EIN or corporation documents.  But, you’re not raising money for your business, you’re raising money for your candidacy, so now what?

Paypal! You can certainly use Paypal, you will want to make sure you keep track of all of your donations.  Who donated, how much they donated, when they donated, etc.  You will need this information for the election office, particularly if you get audited.

Another option is to use Raise The Money,, to help you with your fund raising efforts.  Raise The Money has a number of benefits to help you in your fund raising efforts.  First and foremost, you can be up in two days, not two weeks as with other payment processors and they offer marketing tools to help you raise more money.  Matter of fact, candidates who use them have found they raise 17% more money from previous platforms they’ve used.

Given that Raise The Money started in 2014 and they have put over 5,000 campaigns on their platform they help a significant amount of candidates raise money for their election.

One of the ways they do this is by optimizing your fundraising ability at the local level.  They accomplish this by helping you put a “Donate” button on your social media and your website.  It is very important to give your supporters an easy way to donate to your campaign. Raise the Money is the only fund raising company that has the ability to put a “Donate” button on your Facebook page.

$5,000 may not seem like a lot of money for a campaign but that could go toward sending out post cards, running Facebook ads or using software to help you manage your campaign all in an effort to reach, engage and activate voters.

Another factor to consider is to test your fundraising options.  Create different forms that have different colors, different amounts, etc. and track them.  You will see marked results. Take a look at the fundraising example with notorious politician “Frank Underwood” (played by Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s House of Cards.) You can see how easy it is to donate to a campaign and to test different elements.

Adam Burris, Chief Technology Officer for Raise The Money, says the top three tips for raising money are:

  1. Have an easy platform to raise money – find a platform that is more than a payment processor. Find a company that specializes in campaigns.
  2. Use your data – know the name of your donors, you are required to collect data on your donors. Chances are everyone who donates has a circle of friends that think like them. (Handraiser actually has a feature in our software that lets you easily identify and reach out to your family and friends.)
  3. Put a call to action in every single post you make, give an easy way to donate to your campaign. Keep it simple.

Raise The Money isn’t just for local campaigns.  Gov. Hutchinson of Arkansas uses this platform to raise money for his campaign.

I asked Adam what is his top tip for winning a campaign and he said, “Take time to prepare the right way, if more local races took time to prepare their race before the race it would work out better for them.”

Adam Burris is currently the Chief Technology Officer for Raise The Money.  Check out their blog to get even more tips on running your campaign.


Five Elements Every Campaign Website Needs

You’ve made the decision to run for office.  You’ve registered as a candidate. How are you going to engage with your voters?  Of course, social media plays a big part, but, not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter.  You should definitely have a website to educate your voters, collect donations and to recruit volunteers.

Shane Daley of Online Candidate gave us some great tips on what should be on your website.  Shane and his partners have been designing websites for 14 years and have designed over 2,000 websites for political candidates.  We had the honor of talking with Shane about his vast experience with regard to what works for candidate websites.

Shane was kind enough to share five major tips on website elements for candidates.

First and foremost:

  1. Begin with social media

Starting to build an audience before you have a campaign website. Many successful candidates begin their online campaign long before they announce their intention to run for office.

Social connections can help build relationships and get yourself better known. The earlier you start this, the more time you can use to build online support. Ultimately, those social followers will be the first to know about your campaign and be more likely support you with initial donations of time and money.

  1. Start your website early

Putting up a website and slapping on a donation button a few weeks before Election Day is not a winning tactic. It takes time and effort to build support.

Starting a political campaign website as early as possible provides more time to raise campaign seed money. A website set up for early donations makes it easier for initial donors. Someone is more likely to quickly click and donate than to write out a check, put it in an envelope, and mail it out.

Finally, Google does not tend to ‘rank’ new, unknown websites. To get a site to show on Google takes both time and the existence of links from other sites pointing to the website. If you want voters to find you through search engines, you need to take control over what exists about you online.

  1. Your domain name is important

Every campaign website needs a domain name. Most candidates use their name, often with a variant of ‘vote’ or ‘elect’, such as or The .com extension is your best bet. Avoid using a year or position title in name if you plan to keep the domain throughout your political career.

Unless your own campaign is high-profile or particularly contentious, it doesn’t make sense to register every available domain extension and variant.

Think for the long term. Remember that you are renting your name from the registrar company for as many years as you pay for it. If you stop paying your domain registration fees, anyone else can step in, register that name and point it to another website. That happens often, sometimes with embarrassing results.

  1. A little SEO goes a long way

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of building your website pages to make them more attractive to search engines and have them rank higher for related searches.

A search engine cannot know what a web page is about if there isn’t enough relevant text on the page. We often see local campaign websites say ‘Candidate X for Mayor’, but don’t actually mention the state that the municipality is located in. If you are running for office in Montgomery, is that Montgomery, New York or Montgomery, Alabama? Don’t leave it to chance.

Some candidates like to write website copy in the first person. A search engine doesn’t know who “I” is. It’s better to write the website copy in third person and include the candidate’s full name.

  1. Use your site as a campaign hub

Running your online presence from a Facebook page is possible, but not everyone is on social media and not everyone wants to join. Putting up digital barriers only excludes voters and potential supporters.

The campaign website is critical as a central place to reference in your online and offline advertising. A website lends credibility to a candidate or organization. Many people will not donate through a Facebook post or a Twitter link. A campaign site provides a fixed place to send donors and provide information to supporters and voters.

A few other key points with regard to your campaign website is to start early.  Candidates now start about a year prior to their campaign, remember, it takes time for SEO to work and it gives you time to recruit supporters and endorsements.

Make sure your website is responsive.  A responsive website will automatically size to the screen size.  For example, your website will automatically scale to a smart phone, tablet or website, which is what you want.

Keep your website after your campaign is over and your domain.  Domain’s are about $12/year so a $1/month is worth keeping your domain name.

Getting your message out to your voters is key and having a website is a very effective tool in campaigning, without it, your constituents won’t have a place to get informed about your message, donate or volunteer in one central place.

Shane Daley is a partner of Daley Professional Web Solutions and Online Candidate. He has over 15 years of experience as a web developer, with a focus on search engine optimization and online marketing.

Online Candidate provides political candidates and organization with affordable campaign website packages. The platform, built-in tools and resources helps hundreds of candidates every election cycle.

Schedule your live Handrasier demo today to see how we can help you win your election.




Top Political Consultant Shares Five Proven Steps To Win Your Election

Top Political Consultant Shares Five Proven Steps To Win Your Election

Running for local office can be daunting and overwhelming.  After you register to run for school board, city council or mayor then what? Do you tell all of your friends your running (yes, of course), do you buy yard signs (maybe) or do you put on a spaghetti dinner (probably not)?  But, how do you know what are the most effective steps and where to spend your time?

We sat down with political consultant and author of “How To Launch A Great Campaign…And WIN”, Phil Van Treuren, to find out what are the five areas you should focus on to win your local election.

Phil ran for City Council in Amherst, Ohio after he finished Officer Candidate School in the Army National Guard and won on his first try.  Not only that but he was the top vote-getter in the election.  He focused on these steps and it worked out for him.  He has also used the same strategy as a political consultant for over ten years with great success, Phil knows a thing or two about winning elections.

I asked Phil what it’s like running for local office. Read on to see the steps that are vital to execute in a campaign.


“It’s a very lonely enterprise, you have to expect you will do the vast majority of work yourself. You never get as much financial and volunteer support as you think you will.”





  1. Candidates have to be willing to put in a lot of their own time and money into the race.

That’s really important to know if you are expecting 20 of your closest friends and family to help and only three do, that significantly impacts the reach you can have.

  1. You need to personalize your campaign.

What used to work doesn’t work anymore – yard signs, spaghetti dinners and billboards don’t work as well, mostly because of the digital age.  If you take advantage of new tactics, software, Facebook ads and emails to voters you will be ahead of the game.  

You can easily personalize emails and ads but more importantly, you can see the interaction of digital campaigning that can direct how, when and where you campaign.  Meet voters in person. Door knock, personally drop mail, do it multiple times to your core voters.  Knowing who those voters are is integral so you can personalize your campaign.

As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power” and campaigning is no different.  Know your voters, win the race.

  1. You have to tell your own story…WHY are you running, what value will people voting for you get when you’re elected.  

You need to have three primary points you hammer home.  Tell them about yourself, about your life and why you believe what you do. Voters don’t care about your resume, voters want to relate to you on their own level – story points, family, hobbies, military service, etc. – focus on three and hammer them home.

  1. Provide value to the voters.

Keep in mind whatever you offer should be something that you love or enjoy, the sincerity will come shining through.

If you have a strong sense of community, deliver American flags or go door to door handing out large postcards with a flag on it so people can put it in their windows. Every time they see that they will think of you and your commitment to your community.  

If you love to cook, provide a family recipe with a picture of you cooking with your family.

Do you have a hobby you love like building ships in bottles? Show that too and tie it to how you will use that when you are elected.  “Building ships in bottles requires patience and attention to detail. I will use these skills when I’m elected to office.”

  1. Don’t do stuff that makes you feel good, do stuff that works.  

Feel good campaigning is a big danger for first-time candidates. By buying billboards, radio ads, newspaper ads, you are wasting 95% of your budget on things that make YOU feel good.  Focus on steps that work, having a compelling reason as to why you are running, what value will your voters get when you win, get personal and get to know them.  Seeing your picture plastered on a billboard doesn’t guarantee the right audience will see your billboard, it just guarantees you will spend a lot of money on something that doesn’t work.

Here’s a bonus for you, Phil also shared some other quick insights.  

Facebook is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to political campaigning, ever.  You can target people based on location, demographics, interests, etc. to make sure you’re reaching the right audience.

Having a good voter list and knowing who your voters are is vital.  (You can get this list from your local electoral office.)

“Campaign software is an incredible tool in your arsenal.”  He had to put together his own spreadsheets to track voters, canvassing, calls, etc..

“Having a good tracking system to track who you talked to, what you talked about and who you should talk to next is invaluable.”

Phil’s parting words deserve repeating, “Prepare yourself, decide you’re going to do it and work as hard as you can at it.”

Phil Van Treuen is a political consultant, blogger and author.  You can visit his website at and find him on Facebook at

To see how Handraiser political campaign software can help you win your next election schedule a live demo here.