Political Campaign Metrics Every Campaign Needs

The more you run your political campaign like a business, the better. In case you haven’t noticed yet, this is a core tenant of NDTC’s philosophy. Your campaign should always keep an eye on your metrics.

Google, Apple, McDonald’s and every other successful business, big or small, is constantly on the look out to save costs and become more efficient. Campaigns should not be any different.

Another core tenant is that you should be tracking and analyzing everything you do. If you’re not keeping track of your strategy, how can you evaluate it? After all, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” said someone sometime somewhere. (It was actually George Santayana.)

Your goal is to determine what worked well and what did not. How much time, money and effort did you spend to get what result? Did this result meet, miss or exceed your expectation?Remember, your political campaign has very limited time, money and people. You should be using each as effectively as possible. Here are some examples of basic campaign metrics to get you started.

FUNDRAISING METRICS

Campaign fundraising may be the easiest to measure. There are thousands of ways to parse and analyze data, but here some simple starter questions.

  • How much was raised and how many contributions received for each fundraising event, mailer, call time session and every other source of funds (for the year, quarter, cycle, etc)?
  • What was the cost of each of the above?
  • How much money and how many donors came from each revenue stream overall: mail, events, call time, finance committees, PACs, social media, etc.?
  • In call time, how many calls per hour do you average? How many connects? What lists had higher connect and closure rates than others? What is your pledge collection rate?
  • For your mail, email and social media campaigns, how many people were on each list? What percentage made a contribution?

After you get through these easy ones, take it a step further.

  • How much is your average campaign contribution?
  • What is the average number of contributions per donor? (This should be greater than one or else you need to seriously think about a new re-solicitation program!)
  • Who gave the most often? Some people write a check each and every time you ask. Make note of the ones who gives most often and plan to keep them close for the future.
  • Who are the top 10% of your donors in terms of total amount contributed? Make a note of these people too.
  • What is the ratio of high dollar to low dollar donors? (You can define high and low dollar as you want. We usually call anything greater than $300 high dollar.)
  • Who raised you money and specifically how much? Rank them by total raised as well as by number of different donors. Someone who raises less money, but from many more people can be just as important as your biggest overall fundraiser.

FIELD METRICS

Similar to political fundraising, field can also be assessed a thousand different ways. If you have the most elections results by precinct, get cracking on how well your field program worked. If you don’t have the numbers yet, there is still data to be studied.

  • How many precincts were walked by how many people?
  • How many voter contacts did your campaign make? In person? Over the phone?
  • Were there higher number of volunteers on certain days or after certain appeals?
  • What was the average contact rate per volunteer?
  • Did certain groups bring you more people or volunteer hours than others?

SOCIAL MEDIA

What about your social media metrics? How often did you communicate with your community and what was the result?

  • When you asked your followers to reach out to others, how successful were those efforts?
  • Were people who lived in the district more effective than those outside?
  • Who were the most active and who were the most influential supporters? (You may want to make note of this last group and plan to get them more involved.)

VISUALIZE ON A CALENDAR

One of the analyses I like to do is to put all the campaign activities for the year on a calendar (as best as I can) so I can visualize how everything works together. Google Calendar is great for this. Then I look to see if I can find patterns.

  • If you sent a Facebook message on a Tuesday morning, did your email campaign on the Wednesday after do better or worse than your baseline?
  • When did your mail, paid phone calls and paid media start?
  • Were there increases in traffic to your website or an uptick in volunteers or contributions as a result?

WHAT TO DO WITH THE DATA

Now that you have all this, you can start to see where you are most successful with your time. Maybe you can even identify the areas where you did not succeed and avoid or approach them differently in the future.

Finally, all of this analysis should be used to craft your next campaign plan. After all, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it said someone sometime somewhere. (It was actually George Santayana.)

What metrics have we overlooked or do you find most helpful?