School boards play a pivotal role in the success of a community. They decide the budget, direction of education an overall well-being on kids in the district. If you are planning to run for elections, I commend you for helping out your community.
School board elections are similar to political campaigns where getting yourself noticed is harder than getting your message heard. Most school board elections have a low voter turnout. This makes winning every single vote even more crucial. There could be a lot of people in your school district who would vote for you but don’t because they haven’t heard of you. Here are some ways in which you can make sure your supporters know of you.
Target your voters
Get a complete list of voters from your local elections office or from your party’s office. Use a physical map of your area or take the help of a canvassing tool like Ecanvasser to map out your voters. The map will help you plan your campaign strategy more effectively. Use a CRM like NationBuilder, ActionNetwork or CiviCRM to segment your voters into categories. The CRM will help you to easily find and target voters that meet specific criteria, so you can more effectively communicate your message. Once your voters are segmented, you can plan the message to be sent to them. Track the effectiveness of these outreach campaigns through your CRM. Remember, reaching out to a voter just once is never enough. You need to keep yourself in their minds constantly. CRM’s help you track all interactions, online or otherwise.
Plan outreach channels
Depending on your district and it’s voter population, identify channels through which you can reach out to them. That could be through both Online and offline channels. Common online channels are email, social media like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Choose the channel depending on the demographic. If most of your voters are older, you would do a lot more offline advertising. Yard signs and flyers are a great way to get noticed. Put up an ad in the local newspaper or hand out flyers around busy public places like at churches, supermarkets or local festivals. Physically visit each voter and talk to them. If that isn’t practical, call voters through your phone or a cloud calling tool like CallHub.
Create a budget and raise funds
Depending on the channels available to you, plan a preliminary campaign budget and organise a fundraiser. Without funds, it’s impossible to get your message heard. Contact local organisations that you align with and ask for support. Use their help to organise a fundraiser party.
Work on your campaign message
Your campaign message needs to have only one or at the most two main points of contention. This helps keep the campaign focused. A great school board member needs to work closely with other members to bring about change. That’s why voters seek out members who are team players. Show yourself to be a listener by attending local meetings and rallies. Physically meet parents and students to talk about your campaign goals. As voter turnout is low, talk to parents and encourage them to vote. Most school board elections organize debates. Before you take part, practice your speech and talking points to show all the above qualities.
Build a visual identity
A strong visual representation for your campaign will make you more noticeable. Get a logo or badge designed through an agency, a freelance graphic designer or even give it a try yourself. Tools like Canva and Adobe Indesign can help you design yard signs, flyers and logos. Standout yard signs have a better chance of getting noticed than one that is of a similar template as other campaigns.
You cannot scale a campaign without help. Start with your family members. Ask the help of your near and dear ones and encourage them to recruit more volunteers on your behalf. If you are using the online route, use social media to campaign. Supporters hear your message and come to you. You can then ask for their help to volunteer. Another great way to recruit volunteers is through calling your supporters. Organize a phone banking campaign to spread your message while at the same time asking people to help and raise funds.
Create a website
All of your campaigning channels need to draw your targets attention to one actionable place and that’s your website. Use your website to promote your campaign identity and to get your supporters to help you. Put up a donation form on your site. Many small donations are what keeps a campaign running. Don’t forget to ask them to volunteer. Get their contact information, email AND phone number.
Not just email
Email and social media are great and affordable ways to get in touch with voters. Unfortunately, they do not force any urgency. Calling and texting your supporters have a higher rate of response. If you want to learn more about the specific issues that your voters have, run a phone banking campaign to ask them what they care about most. Use the feedback from this campaign and apply it to your website and offline advertising messages. The day before elections are a critical time for campaigns. After all the campaigning, if the voter doesn’t go to the booth, you’ve lost. Use calling to run get out the vote campaigns, reminding people to go out and vote.