PLEASE NOTE: GOVERNOR ANDY BESHEAR HAS ORDERED KENTUCKY’S PRIMARY ELECTION DATE MOVED TO JUNE 23, 2020. KREF HAS ADVISED THAT THIS WILL ALSO AFFECT THE REPORTING DEADLINES FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS. THE 30-DAY PRE-PRIMARY REPORT WILL BE DUE MAY 27TH, 2020.
***For information on coronavirus in Kentucky, click here.***
In light of the coronavirus epidemic and the Democratic Party’s recommendations to cancel in-person gatherings, postpone all in-person campaigning, and adopt remote/virtual environments, we want to provide our candidate campaigns, local Democratic parties and allied activist organizations and campaigns with recommendations on how to continue campaigning during the coronavirus.
A good reading primer is this Medium article from a group of activists, organizers, technologists and communicators: How might a pandemic affect US society and politics in 2020? Also, Epolitics.com political organizing and campaigning in the time of coronavirus.
We’ll address the following topics below: fundraising, messaging, organizing, links to online trainings, how to maintain secure and confidential conversations moving to a more digital campaign, and some tips on working for home and managing employees during this time.
Fundraising experts in the nonprofit and political world are predicting fundraising is going to take a hit during the coronavirus, and will be especially hard on those that rely on events.
During this time when we are recommending cancelling all in-person gatherings, there are still ways to fundraise during coronavirus. Try video conference fundraisers to replace in person fundraisers, and connect with your top funders and ensure their 2020 commitment.
Think through the whole process of cancelling and planning events. The Institute of Fundraising has good guidance on the full thought process.
- Virtual fundraisers utilizing video conferencing
- Old-fashioned mailing things out
- Increased call time
- Supplemental email and other tactics, such as text fundraising and digital appeals*
- 1:1 donor meetings or small group gatherings with video conferencing
- Engage your supporter base with online surveys that ask respondents on what they want and need during this time and what kind of policies they’d like to see to combat coronavirus
*Don’t use email subject lines and other messaging in fundraising appeals that are alarmist
General Planning and Processes (Fundraising)
- Think long-term and set up for late summer and fall.
- Insist on having “Force Majeure/Act of God” contingency clauses in all your event-related contracts to provide a safeguard against later cancellation.
- Review all signed contracts to determine if you’re within the date range for full or partial refunds.
- Familiarize yourself with the refunds process for any currently scheduled events.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate, especially when cancelling an event, including talking points regarding factors considered in the decision to cancel.
Democratic Digital Fundraising Resources
Contingency Language for Future Fundraiser Invites Example
The safety of our guests, the event staff, and the speaker/candidate are our top concern. We don’t know what the future holds for public gatherings due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of medical professionals to determine if we need to reschedule. In the meantime, we hope that you will Save the Date and help with our fundraising by purchasing tickets at [insert link].
- Hold yourself and your team to a high standard by helping others putting out information and educating the public with information about the pandemic, and by fighting misinformation that you see about coronavirus.
- Use messaging that moves away from a panic response and toward a caring response and frame our goals as protecting others.
- Use crisis communications tactics and develop a crisis communications checklist.
Canvassing vs. Lit-Drops:
While lit drops (putting campaign literature on doors, as opposed to having conversations with voters) may seem like a better alternative, this is also not advisable. Voters may not be receptive to literature that is left at their door by a stranger for fear of contamination of the literature and their household. At this time, you are better served utilizing digital tools and some old-fashioned campaign tactics. OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE ADVISING AGAINST DOOR-TO-DOOR CANVASSING RIGHT NOW.
Ideas for Organizing During the Coronavirus
VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER MEETINGS & HOUSE PARTIES: Invite people to a virtual phone-bank, text bank, letter writing party, or general organizing meeting by using Google Hangouts, Zoom, or other webinar technology to run them. Give them a quick campaign update and then do some useful volunteering. The best meetings will start with an emotional campaign update from an organizer, staffer, or the candidate. After introducing, train them with the skill they’ll be using and then have them do it right there on the call or webinar, bring everyone back together for a debrief, and then have them commit to the next step. Take a page out of the remote work playbook and gather everyone at the same day and time for a video conference to organize together. Platforms like Zoom allow for “breakout rooms” so that volunteers can meet each other, or use Facebook Live for the easiest low-lift solution.
TALK TO YOUR PEOPLE: Ask organizers to build relationships and give guidance through phone calls, online chat and texts. Personal outreach matters in a disconnected time so call and text your whole list and do it over and over again.
TELE-TOWNHALLS: Use Facebook Live or a real-time AMA as the venue for your next town hall. Use your phone camera or your computer keyboard to respond to questions from the safety and comfort of your home, while you’re cooking (Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) or riding in a car (Senator Cory Booker).
ONLINE CONTENT: Lean into user-generated content! We know it does extremely well online, and folks can DIY from their living room.
RELATIONAL ORGANIZING: Relational contact (a voter contact by someone they know rather than a stranger) has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of increasing voter turnout and volunteer engagement. Look at using digital tools like Team by Tuesday, Hustle, ThruText, OutVote, Outreach Circle, and others allow for digital direct voter contact. We know that supporters talking to their friends is 20x more impactful than cold outreach. Whether your strategy calls for friend-to-friend, friend-to-peer, or even peer-to-peer outreach, it is now easier than ever to meet people where they are: online. Have organizers use peer-to-peer text and phone-banking to activate your list in their area and recruit relational organizing volunteers. Each volunteer is then responsible for reaching out to 10-20 of their friends/families about your campaign every 1-2 months. Their ask to their friends could be to support your candidacy, volunteer, donate, vote, or something else.
GROW YOUR TEAM’S SOCIAL FOLLOWING: Train organizers to focus on growing their own social media audiences on social channels with people living in key areas. Start with follow/followback blitzes, posting lots of content (5-10x per day), commenting on dozens of relevant posts, and DMing new followers with your petition or voter registration form. Have organizers identify 10-20 key influencers originally from target areas, and encourage them to speak out for your campaign or issue. Then, organizers can grow their partnerships with local chapters of key allied orgs via social media interaction and planned joint activities such as Twitter chats. Organizations can sometimes be uncomfortable with this ceding of control, but it’s worked out better than most organizations’ local social media channels every time we’ve done it. Also consider pitching social media share squads among your supporters.
CURATE A DIGITAL SPEAKER SERIES: Organize an “exclusive” (or not exclusive!) speaker series where, once or every so often (however often you want) volunteers can call in/join a webinar. Consider pairing experts with speakers from impacted communities. Give super-volunteers a role introducing or asking questions. Invite reporters who might be interested in doing a profile. Or, do it publicly as a series of Facebook Live events or even pre-recorded videos, released once a day for a week or two.
BUILD ONLINE COMMUNITY: Give organizers, volunteers, and supporters a place to socialize online as offices remain shuttered and hangout spots empty out. Encourage non-work-related interaction in these spaces, and model it yourself. It will help connect folks, provide meaningful experiences beyond the transactional ask, and build long-term affinity for your campaign.
DO A LOCAL MEDIA PUSH: Timed with a news moment on your issue, encourage volunteers to submit letters to the editor or op-eds to their local paper. Provide a toolkit. Support on social media by encouraging people to tweet at their local media outlet to cover your issue. Call local reporters and set up virtual briefings on your issue with a local organizer and a local expert or influential voice. Pitch an editorial board.
PUSH FOR ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION: In-person voter registration events are going to be affected, but we can’t lose time getting voters registered for 2020. Promote heavily online voter registration at GoVoteKY.com.
PROMOTE ONLINE CENSUS: It has never been easier to fill out your Census, whether online, over the phone, or by mail – all without having to meet a census taker. Go to my2020census.gov and you can complete yours right now.
Webinar & Conference Call Technologies to Use
Texting & Relational Organizing Tools
Utilize #TechYourself to watch a series of training videos on utilizing tech tools in progressive and Democratic campaigns.
KDP has established relationships with a number of vendors that provide services for peer-to-peer (P2P) texting capabilities, as well as relational organizing tools. These tools are means to provide Kentucky Democratic candidates with lower rates on services that will help you connect with voters in their communities. KDP has put together a training guide to walk you through these vendors’ services and how to use them. You can find the guide to using these tools here.
Train the Trainer T3 Webinar Program
The Kentucky Democratic Party, together with the DNC and ASDC Best Practices Institute, are excited to announce the launch of our 2020 Train the Trainer (T3) Webinar Training Program!
T3 is a free six-week, twelve-part webinar course, covering several aspects of grassroots campaigning. This program seeks to expand the skills of progressive activists and volunteers, by ensuring that comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country. Register for T3 today, and help us take our country back in 2020!
Participants must complete all twelve sessions in order to receive certification. All training sessions will include a skills test to track retention and participation. Trainings will be recorded and made available following each session via a weekly wrap-up email, delivered on Fridays.
CLICK HERE to submit your registration for the 2020 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 11:59 p.m. ET, on Sunday, April 5.
Confidentiality and Secure Communications
Because of the lack of in-person confidential meetings that may occur and the increased email and online traffic we’ll see, we highly recommend now is the time to complete the security checklist and use encrypted communication.
Switch to using Signal, Wickr, or WhatsApp for sensitive messaging.
Managing Remote Teams
Shout out to our friends at The Management Center for these resources
On preparing your workplace
- Coronavirus Could Force Teams to Work Remotely (we particularly like the section on normalizing new work environments)
- Going Remote Overnight: Preparing for the Coronavirus
- 6 Tips For Managing Remote Employees: How To Maintain Productivity And Engagement
- These 5 Tech Companies Are Providing Free Remote Working Tools During The Coronavirus Outbreak
For coping with stress
- Coronavirus: How Emotional Contagion Exacts a Toll
- 7 Science-Based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety
- 13 Of the Best Apps to Manage Your Stress
On how people with disabilities are being impacted
- 5 Things To Know About Coronavirus And People With Disabilities
- ‘The Cripples Will Save You’: A Critical Coronavirus Message from a Disability Activist
And, a reminder that infection is only one thing that’s scary about this outbreak:
When Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus
Bonus (because who doesn’t need a bit of levity during tough times?): How to Work From Home Most Chaotically
- CDC Fact Sheet
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Video
- CDC Guidance on Handwashing
- CDC Travel Guidance
- Kentucky COVID-19 Website