Tools for a Better Organized Campaign

Back in December, I posted Organizing – The Foundation of Progress, the most basic rules of organizing.  I also promised to begin posting some forms and other tools to assist in organizing campaigns.  I’m going to start with a basic fundraising spreadsheet, based on what is used on my December 7th post on fund raising: Conventional Un-Wisdom: Fund Raising and an event request form that will be involved in a future post on basic event execution.

Basic Fundraising spreadsheet in OpenOffice format

Basic Fundraising spreadsheet in Excel format

On this spreadsheet, as described in Conventional Un-Wisdom: Fund Raising, you find a simple setup for collecting and tracking fund raising.  This spreadsheet is not a replacement for a full featured fund raising database, like NGP, and certainly not an alternative to a qualified finance staffer.  Across the base, you will find four worksheet tabs, Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4.  These tabs are for use in this exercise, start from Phase 1.

Phase 1/2 is the first steps, as detailed in Conventional Un-Wisdom: Fund Raising, it is the first step of listing everyone you (the candidate) know, are related to, went to school with, worked with, shared a cab with or saw pass out at 31 flavors.  Focus on the names and how you know the people at this point, friends, family, volunteers, interns and later finance/campaign staff can help fill in details.

The immediate focus is creating a list that will help determine whether or not your candidacy would have the necessary support in the first 90 days to push forward.  Unless you are a self funding candidate or some form of “rock star” candidate, there is no need to send mail or email in this first phase, except thank you notes.  As such, mailing addresses shouldn’t be fretted over during “call time hours”.

As you flip to Phase 2, you see the addition of phone numbers and email addresses, and first ask/pledge tracking.  Phase 3 adds more ask/pledge/collection data, and in Phase 4, you have a complete process sheet.  There are notes columns for each fund raising quarter, and you will note that the first two donors are given a red background as they have maxed out and can no longer contribute to the campaign.

Some of the terminology / codes used:

1st Contact – M – Ask

= First contact – Method – how much is the ask

1/11/2011 – F2F – $1000

= the date of first contact – face to face – asking $1000

Other Methods of contact: Ph = Phone, Ev = Event, S = Surrogate (You might use S# to indicate a particular surrogate, ie S1 for the candidate’s wife/husband, they might be keyed as “S1 Ph” for instance.).  At later stages of the campaign you will have contributions come in through methods that are not instant-direct contact, ie letters, the interwebs, etc.  Of course, don’t expect this to be significant – roughly 80% of your fundraising will come from direct solicitations by the candidate via call time.  That is, if you are raising money effectively, efficiently and on a level to compete in six and seven figure races.

I think all the other abbreviations/terms are understandable, but please feel free to post in the comments if you seek further clarification.

The second tool is an Event Request Form, a basic form identifying the who-when-what-where-why and how for events that the campaign is requested to appear at.  The use of these forms will help campaign management triage the candidates schedule as well as the schedules of staff and surrogates.  The more you know about an event in advance, the better prepared the campaign can be to properly execute the event.

This is a sample of a completed event request form using a fictional event hosted by the Fredonia City Democratic Party.  The request is for the candidate, John Dough, the time, date and location are given as well as a contact number for the venue itself.  The candidates arrival and departure times are provided, this is very important given that in some cases a candidate may have a very narrow window to appear at event, or may need to attend the entirety of a 2 or 3 hours event.

The event description identifies the event as a Pig Roast and that the MC will be the local party chairwoman.  The keynote speaker is identified as well as the subject of the keynote speaker’s remarks, the program is vaguely described, though more information is desirable.  Often at the times these forms are initially completed, some of the details are still in flux and thus follow up is needed.  Before the day of the event, the campaign should ascertain where in the speaking lineup the candidate will appear, any additional information on appropriate attire, and more information about the audience composition.

We also note who is filing the request, in this case it is a campaign field staffer named Kelly Marks, and her contact information is readily available.  Below, in the box, we have the contact information for the host organization.

As with everything else, the best thing you can do is hire high quality professionals to run your campaign, implement efficient processes and of course, bring in the best trainers.  Before and after that, I hope tools like these will help your campaign deliver the results needed to advance progressive values.