One month in
As hard as it is to believe (time is a flat circle, etc), Run for Something officially launched one month ago on January 20th. Let’s take a moment to step back and review how things are going, what’s next, and how you can help.
How it’s all going:
Incredible. Overwhelming. Inspiring!
CANDIDATES: More than 6,000 people have signed up to run for office — folks from all across the country, every state, every kind of background. Their stories move us to tears. We’re not generally sappy people, but my god, these folks will make you feel a feeling. These people give us hope!
Fun fact: At least 15 people who signed up with Run for Something have told us they’ve filed to run for office in 2017. Win or lose, their candidacies will make a difference in public debate, in expanding what a politician looks like, and will help create a new generation of leaders.
Let’s keep that number growing.
So far, nearly 1,000 of those folks have joined a conference call, and almost all of them have opted in to have a 1:1 with a Run for Something volunteer.
Those calls are intended to help both the potential candidate and help our organization. The candidate talks to someone who’s got some campaign experience and can help guide them to the right next steps, and we get more detailed, qualitative info on potential candidates to help determine who we should talk to next.
VOLUNTEERS: The volunteers are amazing — and their feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Check out snapshots from our volunteer Slack:
PRESS: We’ve gotten pretty great press, too. Anything that helps us reach even more people and get people coming to us to talk about running for office is good, so we’ll talk to almost any reporter who wants to chat — email email@example.com.
FUNDRAISING: We’ve raised $70,000 in one month, entirely in grassroots donations.
Our average gift is hovering around $25. More than 2500 people have chipped in. We have donors from every single state, all willing to do more than just tweet about building a bench.
INTERNAL OPERATIONS: That money is going toward a few different things…
- Candidate recruitment: We’re up with Facebook ads in particular doing targeted ads asking people to run in some specific Virginia House of Delegates districts. Our targeting is structured to make sure we’re reaching diverse communities and women. We’re also doing a lot of traveling, speaking, and outreach to individuals recommended to us — we spend 80% of our day on the phone.
- Legal fees and a compliance firm: We’re not risking any FEC violations or skipping any steps on paperwork. Setting up a 527 is tricky. Setting up the state-specific PACs we’re going to need is even trickier. We’re trusting the experts on this.
- Organizational tools, like NGP VAN, ActionNetwork, Maestro, and more: We’re using free software wherever possible, but sometimes you have to spend a little to get this right.
- Grassroots fundraising: We’re running direct response advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Google to make sure we‘ve got an email list of people who want to help build a bench. We’re hoping to be around for a while. This means investing now for a return later.
- Staff support: We’re bringing on experts who can help us. Welcome our newest consultant, Brian Zuzenak, a Virginia expert with a long resume in supporting local candidates. He’s beginning the process of working alongside the state caucuses to fill in gaps in candidate recruitment along with going through the list of potential candidates we’ve got for 2017 municipality races. We’re also working to bring on a finance consultant, who will help us plan out a long-term fundraising plan and make sure we’re able to keep up with the interest.
CANDIDATE RECRUITMENT: Our recruitment efforts are ramping up. We’re working to find the candidates already running who we want to support plus a few we want to run in the Virginia House of Delegates races this fall — the filing deadline is March 31st, so we don’t have too much time.
We’re also looking at municipal races all across the country where we can plug people in for this November. Filing deadlines vary on those. Stay tuned; as we develop a list of people, we’ll be very loud and proud about them.
STAFFING: We want to make one of our first “real” permanent hires: An Organizing Director. We have amazing volunteers and incredible people who want to run — we want to support their campaigns with volunteer energy, a digital organizing program, and more. We also want to operationalize a volunteer mentorship program so the hundreds of campaign staff who’ve said “I want to help a race!” can do so in a systematic and strategic way. This is a job for someone who’s got digital and field experience, and who can think creatively about how to channel the energy.
A lot of people ask us: Why give money now when you don’t have candidates to support?
Well, we’d love to hand off a list of candidates right now and tell people to donate directly to their races — but we can’t find those candidates and get them on the ballot without a team in place. It takes time, money, and concerted effort to talk with the scores of people who want to run for office, figure out where they fit in, navigate the political reality of each election, and determine filing deadlines and mechanics.
(It’s worth keeping in mind: The time and money needed to do it right is why most groups don’t do candidate recruitment.)
What you can do to help:
A few things:
2. Help recruit candidates. Never forget that if Donald Trump can be president, someone you know can be a local elected official. Find them and ask them to run — just send them to our website at runforsomething.net and we’ll help them.
3. Keep spreading the word. Every person we reach is someone who might know the next state senator, or city councilman, or school board member. The wider and more diverse our network, the better people we find. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.
Questions, comments, concerns, hopes, fears, dreams? Just email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We try and answer as much as we can.