The Campaign Is Never Over

Election Day is finally behind you. All votes have been cast, victories have been celebrated and defeats have been mourned. Whatever the case for the Green Party, the campaign is not over. It never is. Preparing the next campaign Regardless of the results on Election Day, you need to start focusing on the next elections as soon as you’ve caught up on that sleep you’ve been craving for. The first step in preparing your new campaign is making an honest and thorough evaluation of the one that just ended, thus enabling yourself to clearly identify your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you also talk to journalists who covered the campaign and with academics that have a more distant look at what you’ve done. They will point you to flaws or successes in your strategy and communication that you yourself might not see. Continue reading

Working With Volunteers

What does volunteering mean? The result of self-initiative and free will, volunteers are not oriented towards material gain. Volunteering is usually a community activity focused on the common good. Why should volunteer work be a cornerstone of every campaign?Volunteering shapes and forms societies and is key to successfully accomplishing certain objectives. People who do volunteer work contribute a range of individual competencies: know-how, social skills and the ability to motivate people. Furthermore, they serve as opinion multipliers within a campaign. The diversity and creativity of volunteers can add to the value and success of every campaign. The broader the supporter base, the higher the credibility with the target group. Why do people engage in volunteer work and what do they expect from it? Continue reading

Campaign Strategy

‘Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.’Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland The strategy is the compass for your campaigns. Without a working strategy, a campaign will turn into a series of unplanned reactions to unanticipated events. The strategy defines the aims and shows how they can be achieved. Planning a campaign is like building a house. First, you decide what to build and where; then you lay the foundations, upon which you create the visible structures and work on the details. The foundations of campaigning are clear objectives and the blue print is your campaign plan. A well planned and managed campaign can be flexible as the campaign grows or shrinks. Uncontrolled growth is nearly as harmful for the campaign as shrinking it. And you must make sure from the outset that the structure of the campaign can handle the growth.   Continue reading

Doing Your Homework

Niccolò Machiavelli believed a detailed evaluation of our opponents’ as well as our own strengths and weaknesses to be one of the most important preconditions for the preservation or expansion of power. Although citing the Italian power strategist (‘The end justifies the means’) is sometimes frowned upon these days, even in modern electoral politics, knowing the strength of the weapons (or nowadays, the means and instruments) we face is an essential prerequisite for successful campaigning. We need strategy and tactics, skill, endurance, resources – and knowledge! The more we know about voters’ attitudes, desires, fears and demands, and the more we know about how and when to reach them with our messages, the more exactly we can plan campaigns, minimize uncertainties and tailor our messages more precisely.   Continue reading


Getting started You want to raise a huge amount of money in no time? Then you should play in a lottery – this article is going to disappoint you.    Continue reading

Crafting Your Message

How to find the right messageFinding the right message is probably the most important task in a political campaign. Unfortunately, it is also among the most neglected ones. At the start of many campaigns there are enthusiastic and lengthy discussions about posters, pictures, events and ‘give-aways’. It is in fact better to begin with a simple, but sometimes very tough, question: What do we have to say? What is the key argument to convince voters in the short and precious time that they give us? Continue reading


During a campaign, whether it is an election campaign or a campaign within a district or town, media advertising or poster and leaflet distribution are no substitute for direct contact. Door-to-door is one of the most important forms of direct marketing (other forms include organising meetings and debates). It is one of the most time-consuming ways of conducting a campaign, but it is also one of the most effective. If we come to somebody’s home, there is a much greater chance that he or she will remember us (compared to, say, reading our leaflet or an article about us in the local press). Door-to-door campaigns are always worth doing even if we are inexperienced. It may be that someone is more willing to vote for a slightly lost-looking young person who knocks on their door and presents his or her programme than for a completely anonymous individual displayed on a leaflet left in their postbox. Remember that people/voters appreciate effort. Visual impressions are most important when it comes to direct contact. That is why, when conducting a door-to-door campaign, the focus should be not only on the verbal message but also on non-verbal signals: appearance, gestures, facial expression, breathing, attitude, tone of voice, etc. In direct contact, our credibility depends on whether our verbal and non-verbal signals are consistent. If they are not, the recipient will rely on visual signals, assigning them greater importance (she will trust what she sees, not what she hears).   Continue reading

Targeting Voters

Who to targetParties engaged in any political campaign are always confronted with a complex environment. Politics is blessed with a wide range of issues and a diversity of potential voters. Some people are more important than others and each person responds differently to a particular set of issues. Determining which voters to communicate with and what messages to use is called ‘targeting’. A campaign can never reach all people equally. The resources available (both staff and financial resources) are limited. We never have enough people working at information booths, talking, convincing others, etc. And we never have enough resources to finance large campaigns, to pay for radio, television and cinema spots, or to place advertisements in the press. Furthermore, it is far more effective to communicate a message repeatedly to the same people, than to try reaching out to as many people as possible. Guided by the maxim “the right message for the right voter”, targeting helps campaigns conserve resources while maximising their impact. A campaign must therefore focus on two groups: Continue reading

Finances For Your Local Group

Learning from the pastSome people consider that you need a miracle to finance a campaign for a small party. Most of them do not even want to start planning because they are convinced that there will never be enough money. Of course, writing figures on a page, counting and calculating does not increase the budget, but it is the first step towards doing so. The treasurer of a campaign should always be a well respected person. He or she does not necessarily have to be old, but should have the trust of all parts, regions or factions of your party. First of all, you should get an overview of what you need and what you have. The best way to start a new budget plan is to look for an old one. What did you spend in your last campaign? What happened then? Where did you get your money from?   Continue reading

Green Youth; Green Future

A youth wing can prove to be an important asset for a Green Party when campaigning looms. As multiple election studies have shown, younger voters are more likely than older people to consider a vote for a Green Party. In this respect, a youth wing can be viewed as the perfect ‘tool’ to connect with younger voters. However, the mother party must not forget that a youth wing can never be a mere ‘tool’ and that a necessary amount of independence must be respected. It is important to stress that the message to the voter can only get through when both entities follow the same strategies. Most of the time, both the mother party and its youth wing are too small to work next to one other. So cooperation between a Green Party and its youth wing before and during elections is essential to the success of a coherent campaign. Such cooperation relies on mutual understanding, for which the sharing of information, mutual consultation and a clear and detailed agreement are key. Continue reading