Running for office requires a lot. A lot of research. A lot of organization. A lot of planning. And campaigns – especially at the federal level – often even build their own campaign management tools and materials. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. Especially when those tools and materials just get discarded after election day.  This is a problem that Open Campaign’s open-source library is trying to solve.

Because building your own tools and materials from scratch takes considerable effort and can put local or first-time candidates in a lurch. But it doesn’t have to, at least if the staff from the campaigns for Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Mark Kelly have anything to say about it. They’re hoping to change things with a new website.

Open Campaign is an open-source library that offers a collection of resources to help progressive campaigns build and manage their operations. The site’s tools allow campaigns to avoid recreating the wheel and instead take advantage of the accumulated knowledge built from previous cycles of staffers –  saving new campaigns hours if not days of time. 

For that reason alone, we think the site is an awesome idea, so we wanted to review some of the amazing tools you’ll find there to help manage your campaign.

Planning Docs

In this section you’ll find documents that will help you organize and manage not only your campaign staff but also your volunteers, fundraising events, calendars, trips, and much, much more.  Here are a few examples of the useful docs you’ll find:

  • Tips and Tactics: Running a Relational Volunteer Program – This article comes from Jon Ossoff’s digital team and discusses their strategies, resources, and outcomes when running a relational organizing program.  You’ll receive valuable insight into what tools are available to you, what worked for Ossoff’s campaign, and what didn’t. 
  • Digital Events Template – This fundraising event-planning template will help you organize and plan your online events.  Gathering each event’s graphics, hashtags, organizer handles, and shareable content plans in one place allows you to map and track all your digital events over the course of your entire campaign.
  • Hiring Tracker – This series of spreadsheets helps you organize your teams, their needs, and the applicants you’re considering for each role.  You’ll know at a glance how your campaign staff is shaping up, how many people have applied, and where everyone is in the interviewing process.

Data Tracking

Organizing your call time efforts so that you hit your voter contact goals is essential to run a successful campaign.  But call time is a dynamic process with many moving parts – from organizing volunteers to keeping track of call backs and call performance.  Open Campaign’s open-source library has a variety of spreadsheets that can help you and your organizers manage the ever-evolving data generated by these efforts so that you consistently hit your goals. 

Here are a few examples of the forms offered on Open Campaign:

  • Landing Hub – This document contains a series of spreadsheets for organizers to track call-time shifts.  There’s a sheet for important links and resources, one for volunteers that collects their dials, their outcomes, and any relevant scripts, links, or other training materials.  Organizers have forms that help them track daily shift performances, as well as who has been called and what their status is regarding their support.
  • PTG + Goals Workbook – Use this document to help set goals for volunteer outreach and recruiting (and participation in volunteer shifts).  The sheet is set up to help you track your percent to goals every day so that you can focus on more manageable daily goals while ensuring success for the field program overall.
  • Community Events Tracker Template – With this spreadsheet, you can track the community events relevant to your campaign over the course of several months.  It’s a way to organize upcoming and past events so that you can easily track general details, campaign logistics, contact information, and whether you’ve attended various events.

Direct Voter Contact

Open Campaign’s direct voter contact resources provide a number of tools to aid your canvassing and Get Out The Vote efforts.  Their open-source library includes an informational presentation on voter contact, several scripts, and COVID-19 safety protocols:

  • Voter Contact: Who, Why, and How – This PowerPoint presentation template will help you train volunteers for voter outreach.  You can save time and energy by filling out the included template and having a developed training tool in minutes.
  • Persuasion Script (for Undecideds) – This resource offers an example of one of the many scripts available to help volunteers navigate some common situations (in this case, undecided voters).  Adding links to these scripts on your volunteer shift sheets will streamline your voter outreach processes, making each shift more productive.
  • Vol Facing Event Calendar – With this spreadsheet, you can create a calendar for organizing volunteer events (e.g., training, workshops, and debriefings.  This resource is great for volunteers and organizers alike.

Campaign Guides

If you’re a first-time candidate running for office, this is where you should start (apart from our own How to Run for Office guide, of course). On Open Campaign’s guide, you’ll find a collection of introductory guides for phonebanking, canvassing, relational organizing, and more – including guides on operating essential software (e.g., Google Voice).  These resources are perfect for new candidates and for training new volunteers:

  • Canvassing 101 – This document outlines tips, tricks, goals, and resources for volunteers who are training to canvass for your campaign.  Volunteers will benefit greatly from the many conversation tips provided to help persuade potential voters to register and follow through with voting.
  • 7 Things to Keep in Mind When Writing for the Media – Here, you’ll find actionable advice that can help you craft impactful and engaging media messaging.  Using this advice will help your messaging stand out, persuade members of the press to cover your campaign, and resonate with supporters.
  • The Anti Jargon Giraffe Doc – This glossary is useful for newcomers to political campaigns who might need help decoding the industry jargon. 

People Management

As you get closer to election day, your campaign staff will grow and change.  These changes increase after you’ve won your primary election and move into the general election cycle.  You’ll need to onboard not only volunteers and interns, but also the staff to manage them.  Through the open-source library on the website, you’ll find resources to help your staff develop their management skills, shape the campaign’s culture, and navigate performance reviews and exit interviews.

Here are some example resources:

  • Managing Up, Sideways, and Diagonal – One of several PowerPoint presentations, this training helps managers interact with individuals across different levels of the staff hierarchy. This presentation provides actionable advice and empowers your managers to develop a clear management plan using best practices to nurture working relationships.
  • Setting Goals and Managing Staff to Hit Them – This document is a coaching exercise meant to help your management team define goals.  By reviewing clear examples, your managers will understand how specific the goals should be and how to break them down for the rest of the staff to start tackling.
  • All Staff Shutdown Calendar – This calendar template helps you effectively organize deadlines for your staff post-Election Day.  Complete with a color-coded system, this template allows you to track staff communications (e.g., reminder emails and staff calls) and staff development opportunities.

Email Templates

Whether you’re running for office for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, email templates are a major timesaving campaign management tool.  It’s always easier to revise something that’s already been written rather than starting from a blank page.  Here are a few examples of the templates available in the open-source library on Open Campaign:

  • Volunteer Recruitment Email – Here’s an email template your campaign staff can personalize and use to find volunteers for your campaign.  This template includes prompts to add every bit of valuable information your campaign should convey to potential volunteers.  It even comes with a call to action at the end that may help secure contributions from supporters who can’t volunteer.
  • Fundraising Email (Prospective Donors) – This template is specifically for seeking contributions from people who’ve never donated to your campaign (or your party) before.  You can also find templates for existing and recurring donors.  Templates like these can save you time and money while increasing your potential for raising funds.
  • How to Write a Press Release – While not exactly a template, this document will give you several tips on how to compose an effective press release.  You’ll also find advice and examples on what to include in each paragraph, which will not only help train your communications staff, but also save your campaign time and money.

Misc

Have more questions that still need answering?  Check out the Misc section of the website to find more information on things like finding a printer for your yard signs and helping your staff find other employment once your campaign has ended.

  • Union Printers – This spreadsheet has the names and contact information for union printers, by state, that you can use to print campaign materials.  Using union print shops for your campaign materials is an essential step for progressive campaigns – it lets you demonstrate your strong union support.
  • Opening a Field Office – With this checklist, you’ll see a clear breakdown of the important steps involved in opening a campaign field office.  This list lets you organize information about the location, the property owner/management, lease terms, and the supplies needed for the space (Did you remember to grab toilet paper?).
  • Professional Development and Job Search Guide for Campaign Staff – Because of the temporary nature of campaign staff employment, it’s helpful to include resources for your staff as they prepare to move on from your campaign.  Documents like this professional development guide offer tips and links to various resources (e.g., resume workshops, planning and brainstorming worksheets, and tips on how to apply for unemployment).

Additional Resources:

Beyond the management tools it offers, Open Campaign has a small – but growing – collection of external resources you could utilize.  Here are a few examples of both the free and paid options available on the site:

Free Resources

Paid Resources

Open Campaign also has a submission form for campaigns or staff who’ve developed their own management tools and want to contribute to Open Campaign’s growing online collection.

Here at Numero, we want to extend a massive congratulations to Alexis and Ben for putting together this tremendous collection of campaign management tools.  The open-source library already has the potential to empower many new progressive campaigns.  We can’t wait to see how they grow!

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