Be sure to use your well-crafted message for all of your grassroots communications. Revisit Crafting Your Message before proceeding.
Many local jurisdictions send voter pamphlets to every voting household. They include pro and con statements, and are the one communication all voters will have at their fingertips. Be sure to know the deadline for including your carefully honed statement and adhere to any word limitations. Consider carefully your messengers signing your statement, if relevant, and make sure they represent a respected cross-section of your supporters.
Public presentations are a good way to start introducing your campaign and begin addressing any concerns. A special presentation can also kick off the campaign in the community and gain media attention. Pay attention to who will be speaking for your group and make sure they are appropriate and persuasive for the audience. Visual displays, such as posters or a short PowerPoint presentation, can be effective. Practicing the presentation with other volunteers in the group can help speakers prepare and make sure they are on message. See the public speaking talking points (also below).
When making public presentations, be sure to bring endorsement forms or volunteer forms for supporters to complete. These help ensure that you can make your list of endorsers public. You can also collect endorsements on your website.
Campaigning for a measure to finance conservation easements to protect working lands, water quality, and wildlife habitat in rural Ravalli County, Montana, a local dairy farmer gave a very persuasive PowerPoint presentation at 70 different venues to groups ranging from 5 to 40 people.
Sample resolution form, Cache County, Utah
Sample Individual endorsement form, Cache County, Utah
Sample organizational endorsement form, Cache County, Utah
Communication Through Your Supporters
All volunteers and supporters should be asked to reach out to their own networks to promote the campaign. Encourage volunteers to write short articles for local newsletters, websites or blogs. Always make sure to provide the message for people to use when sending out such postings and articles.
Email messages sent to supporters, who then distribute them to their own friends and contacts, are an inexpensive way to educate voters and gain supporters. Organizations that are part of your coalition can send out messages to their own members in support of the ballot measure. While this can be an effective means to keep supporters up to date and on the campaign message, it is not a substitute for voter contact since the email distribution list is not targeted or strategic.
The campaign itself can also send out regular communication to its supporters in a blast email. Blast email system providers such as MailChimp or Constant Contact can be helpful in streamlining the operation. This can be a useful tool to provide notification of events, supportive editorials, or campaign updates, or to correct misinformation that may be circulating.
The committee campaigning for a $100 million bond measure in Forsyth County, Georgia, used email very effectively. The committee sent a weekly email to a handful of volunteers active in local youth sports leagues, who then forwarded it, along with a short personal message, to their friends and contacts. Every week a short reminder about the measure, with a personal note, ended up in hundreds of email inboxes.
Fliers and Brochures
Printed information is useful in any situation where you need to get out your message quickly. Pass out fliers or brochures while campaigning at community events or popular locations. Have printed information available at public presentations and while canvassing. Giving people something to take home and read is one way to get your message across. All printed materials should use the campaign’s well-honed message and include the appropriate legal disclaimer.
On Friday night in Forsyth County, Georgia, the local high school basketball games are the place to be. Volunteers from the Envision Green Forsyth campaign were there to hand out push cards about the ballot measure.
Phoenix residents are outdoors nine months of the year and hiking is a very popular activity. So volunteers working to pass a 30-year extension of the city’s dedicated sales tax for parks and preserves passed out fliers at trailheads and during hikes.
Brochure from the Keep Buckingham Green, Pennsylvania, campaign
Doorhanger from the Phoenix Parks Initiative campaign
Although yard signs are a popular way to gain visibility for campaigns, put a priority on spending your limited campaign funds on communicating directly with voters. If you have money in the budget for signs, be creative and put signs where you think they will draw the most attention. If you place them strategically, you do not need to make very many, which will save money. Always get permission from the property owner before placing a sign. Hand-made signs can also reflect the grassroots support for your campaign. Again, don’t forget to stay on message!
Yard sign from Arapahoe County CO, Yes! on 1-A for Water, Wildlife, Open Space and Parks campaign
Yard sign from Quincy, Massachusetts, Community Preservation Act campaign