It is good to talk with people who agree with you, isn’t it?
During a campaign, you’d enjoy meeting supporters who associate with your cause with little need for persuasion. They are easy to communicate with over any policy you wish to address or any changes you hope to make. It would be great to be able to win an election just by gathering the like-minded supporters.
However, winning, be it in a town election or a national one, does not come that easy. The voters who are of one mind would flock to your side as the ones opposed would to the side of your opponent.
There would still be active voters left who do not commit to any side. These are the swing voters who do not vote for the same party every election cycle and are on the fence on important policies.
So what do you do to ensure the swing votes are yours come election day?
The best foot to put forward here is reaching out to these voters through your grassroots network. There are some good practices you should observe here so that your grassroots effort is able to communicate with swing voters and bring them onboard in due time. It is a gradual process and you’d have to stick with it. Here’s how.
Plan before you move
For swing voters, your approach has to be thought out in advance. It goes without saying, you’d need to know your voter base to plan the message for different types of voters. Figure out the swing voter areas and the issues that affect these groups.
Find volunteers who can relate to these voters over their concerns and let them make first contact. Grassroots organizing is not just sending droves of volunteers out to knock on doors. Using data from past elections, you need to figure out the areas to focus on and the message to hook those voters’ attention.
Targeting through data
Voter data is your guiding light to know swing voters better. Track demographics and previous election turnout to find clusters of similar voters across your electorate. Through this, you can form a targeted campaign to win over the swing votes.
The data can help you understand the mindset of these voters on certain issues within the community. Conduct surveys and polls through volunteers to record voters’ responses on important policies. Plan events and activities in these areas with persuadable voters to address their concerns directly.
Train to personalize
Your staff and volunteers have to be trained to deliver the precise message based on the voter they approach. This means that they have to take the voter’s perspective into account and place the campaign message accordingly.
This would not be easy for new recruits. Set up training sessions and let experienced volunteers guide them in their initial tasks. Give them scripts to carry out better conversations. Train them to use voter lists for reference and improve the list with new data on the voters.
Order and re-order
Set up a hierarchy of positions for your grassroots members. Your volunteers should know who to report to or who to go to for information. There should be a steady flow of information both ways within the organization.
Let grassroots workers take up the responsibility to get the candidate out among persuadable voters. They should organize events and set the campaign trail based on the responses they collect from voters. Data collected on the ground is to be used to plan upcoming activities among voters.
Let the voter decide
Most importantly, you have to let the voter arrive at the conclusion that you deserve their vote over your opponent. This may take a while for swing voters.
Do not attempt to force the candidate or the ideology upon the voter. Instead, show them that people they know and trust are aligned toward the candidate. Let them see people who face similar issues being involved in the campaign. Reach into their circle and have positive conversations with their close ones. Conduct events for outreach in swing areas even if the voters do not participate at once.
As we mentioned, it is a gradual process and requires proper organization and planning to show result. If you do get all these steps right, your grassroots work would secure all the swing votes on election day.Tags: campaign, campaign management, campaign message, campaign strategy, GOTV, grassroots, Grassroots Advocacy, How-To, Political Campaigns, swing voter, volunteers, voter data, voter engagement