The Cost of Free

The Cost of Free

Very few words in the English language evoke more emotion than FREE. When you hear it, your ears perk up. Some search out free items, while others are leery. Those converse reactions make sense. While Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and the Temptations sang that the “Best Things in Life are Free,” Barrett Strong and the Beatles rejected that and said they needed “Money.” Well, who was right? I would argue both have elements of truth, but are focusing on the wrong thing. The question any campaign needs to ask is: “How much is free costing me?” In a previous article, I discussed the three T’s (time, talent and treasure). I believe that acquiring anything of value requires some degree of one, two, or all three T’s. When I think of free, I generally think of things that do not require any money; and when I think of the cost of free, I think about the tradeoffs. Generally, those tradeoffs are time and mistakes rather than spending money, or using free items or services that may not fit within your campaign plan. As you are deciding if you can afford free, you need to be cognizant of the fact that time in a campaign is finite. If you do not believe me, try asking your local election board to move the election date and see how that works. In campaigns, free tends to come in the form of volunteers. Volunteers are part of the lifeblood of any viable campaign, and they are critical to completing grassroots activities like door knocking and phone banking. Volunteers are necessary to getting basic campaign...
Episode 1: Bradley Crate Covers Campaign Compliance and Treasury

Episode 1: Bradley Crate Covers Campaign Compliance and Treasury

For the first installment of the Political Trade Secrets podcast, we’re excited to be joined by Bradley Crate, founder of Red Curve Solutions.

Brad served as the CFO on Romney 2012 presidential campaign and the deputy CFO on the 2008 campaign. Before that, he was in the Romney Administration where he served as a fiscal policy analyst and as the Director of Capital Planning and Policy. Prior to working in politics, Brad’s background was on Wall Street working for companies like Prudential Securities and JP Morgan. In 2008, he founded Red Curve Solutions merging both his finance and political backgrounds.

In this episode, we tackle compliance and treasury. We decided to make this the focus of the first episode since these issues are critical to a well run campaign and if not handled correctly, it can get you into hot water. Setting up your compliance and treasury is also one of the first tasks your campaign will have to deal with.

So, You Want to Run for Office: Setting up a Committee

So, You Want to Run for Office: Setting up a Committee

Every day in America, someone decides that they want to run for local, state or federal office. Regardless of which office they might be seeking, many people don’t quite know where to start. Because I’ve seen the negative consequences of this play out far too often, I’ve decided to put the basic elements of what you would need in a series of blog posts. This post focuses on one of the most overlooked needs of a campaign; the setting up of a campaign committee. Once you’ve decided to run for office, you need to set up a committee for your campaign to raise and spend money. Sometimes this committee must be set up before you raise or spend a penny and sometimes there is a 15 day grace period after your first campaign activity. If you’re seeking local office, this is usually done at the municipal building or county board of elections. For state office, you file the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office. At the federal level, you use these forms to file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Of course, filing paperwork isn’t what most people envision when they decide to run for office but not doing this part correctly can make your campaign look bad and in some cases even be criminal. In almost every campaign filing, you’ll need a campaign treasurer, a campaign committee name and a dedicated bank account specified for the campaign. The ideal campaign treasurer is someone with knowledge of the campaign finance rules, organized, will promptly give you information and is someone you can trust. Often times, candidates will...