Listening is better than yard signs

Running a political campaign is all about money and votes. You’ve got to get 50% +1 on election day, and in order to get there you’ve got to be able to pay for signs, swag, ad time, full/part-time staffers, etc. Money. Votes.

One of the best ways to get both is to listen. If you ask me, this is a more reliable strategy than putting up yard signs, even. Definitely in the long term, but even in the short term.

People need to know your name, sure. But when people feel listened to — really heard — they’re much more likely to remember your name (and write that name on a check and fill in the bubble next to that name on election day).

Here are a few ways to use online and offline tools to listen:

  • Send out an interest survey to determine who cares about what.
  • Read what supporters are saying on social media to understand what drives them, what skills they have and would be willing to put to use for the cause, and how comfortable they are advocating for their beliefs.
  • Hold regular small events (e.g. in person or online town halls) to get a chance to understand what people are willing to show up for and what topics are most engaging for them.
  • Track attendance, combine that information with your survey results and your social media interactions, and in short order you’ll have a comprehensive view of who cares about what, which folks are likely to show up in person, which people can help in person and which can help online, and a whole host of other useful data points.

You’re probably already doing a few of these ideas. Give another one of them a try, and see if your constituents and potential voters don’t respond positively.

Originally published at

Download the author’s book from Amazon: Digital Community Organizing: Why Political Power Must be Shared, Not Stored

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