As you can tell from the title, I believe grassroots campaigning matters.
To begin, we must define grassroots.
I consider grassroots to be all local or person-to-person efforts of a campaign. Typical elements of grassroots include but are not limited to phone banking and door-to-door activity.
Now, we need to address why that matters.
It matters because a grassroots campaign is the on-the-ground connection between the candidate and the voter.
Grassroots activities actually make a candidate and their message real and tangible to voters.
If you believe that it’s important for your campaign to create a personal connection with your target voters, then you need to devote the necessary time, talent and treasure to make sure your grassroots efforts are effective.
Two important elements of an effective grassroots campaign are the people and your messaging.
Grassroots campaigning empowers supporters and volunteers and shows voters that your candidacy has real-life supporters.
People want to be part of a winning team and being able to vote for the possible or likely winner is a motivating factor for the average voter.
From the candidate’s perspective, grassroots campaigning is the best way to learn about what makes your target voters tick and is also the most impactful way to deliver your message to voters.
What makes grassroots campaigning impactful depends on who is delivering the message. Is it a voter’s friend, neighbor, co-worker, faithful volunteer or the candidate? These people lend credibility to the candidate and the message they’re delivering. Getting a message from a real person who may have a connection, albeit very loose, can often be more persuasive than a paid advertisement.
With all of the bombardment of one’s attention, communication from a real person can cut through the clutter of everyday life.
Not only is the messenger important. The message is important too.
As you learn more about voters and their shared values, it is important to talk about the issues they care most about.
For example, let’s say a voter cares and shares your views on immigration. Knowing this, you’ll want to highlight this specific issue with that specific voter. Be it a persuasion phone call, a volunteer door-to-door script or a targeted mail piece, you want to present this message directly to that voter.
Grassroots activities matter most when you actually develop a rapport with the voter.
Grassroots campaigning is a critical component to any political campaign if you devote the necessary time and resources to those efforts and properly collect the data from those meaningful person-to-person connections.
I could write a book about grassroots campaigning but for this article I want to leave you remembering that if you conduct these activities well, your volunteers and supporters will feel as though they’ve been part of something important, voters will be drawn to your candidacy, you’ll have learned more about voters than you thought possible and most importantly you’ll have put yourself in a stronger position to win your election.