John Tsarpalas: Today on Commonwealthy I want to talk about a very important position that really just about any size campaign needs. I’ll explain that a little bit later why. And it is a volunteer position. It is a great position for a volunteer. That is the role of a scheduler in a political campaign, Commonwealthy #63.
Every campaign in my opinion needs someone to do the schedule. Now, things have gotten easier with Google Calendars and things that we can share. But someone’s got to take down the information, make sure it all gets put in and is on the hunt for events the candidate should show up at, and is a contact person. Especially if you have a full time job and you are a candidate too, it would be great if there was someone who could take calls for you while you were at work, take calls for you anytime and all of time.
This is a great position for someone that is a stay at home parent. Many times in a small campaign it is the spouse if they are stay at home. But you are looking for someone who is available to be called in the daytime, someone not at work.
And there is often someone that you know, a senior citizen or as I said a stay at home parent, who can have a phone number that can be put out for contact information to put on your website for your campaign. And they are available to answer the phone just about any time of day, which comes in really handy. And they can take care of the schedule.
Let’s talk about the schedule. What things do you need to put on the schedule? Well, the first thing that needs to happen on the schedule is you and/or the scheduler needs to find that master calendar, that Google Calendar if you sharing something like that, and put up all of the important family dates.
You need to know when there is the family vacation or when you need to go to little Janey or Johnny’s recital. Those things need to go on the calendar as soon as you know them because they are important. You need too keep up on family.
And block out the time that you are going to be at work. If it is nine to five every day, that needs to get blocked out. But if there are some holidays or days off and they are available, you need to put that back in the time.
And then there are things like if you are running for school board, when are the school board meetings? You, if you are a candidate, should be attending. You should get those things down. But better yet, your scheduler can do that for you.
The scheduler then needs to find events for you that you might want to show up at- Fourth of July parades, Labor Day parades, Memorial Day events, where there is going to be a high school football game or there is going to be Little League, or something like that.
A scheduler can be a researcher for you if they’ve got time. They can be hunting down times that you can go and shake hands and meet people. But their main function is they are someone who gets contacted for an event. Your local GOP group is having a picnic or a meeting and they would like you to show up and speak at it.
Well, the scheduler perhaps gets called directly by them and if not, you refer them to your scheduler to get all of the information down. Or you let your scheduler know who to call and your scheduler follows up. There are a lot of questions you need to know.
What is the event? What is it called? Does it have a title? Where is it? The date, the time. Who is asking for you to show up? What is the contact information for that person? Who is the contact at the event if it is going to be different than the person requesting it?
How many will be at the event, an approximation? Will there be five people there, ten people there, or a hundred people there? Well, if you’ve got conflicts and one place has a hundred people that you need their votes and another has ten people, well, that is obvious.
Something else you need to think about in schedule, and I see this happen so often and there is a lot of pressure put on candidates (I see this especially in Republicans)… You go to events during the primary and you go to all of the Republican groups and you meet people. And that’s great. In the primary you should be doing that because you should be showing up to events where there are Republicans that are going to vote in a Republican primary.
But then the primary is over and it is general election season and all of those organizations are calling you to come to their event. Well, guess what? You’ve already got their vote hopefully. And if you haven’t, something is really wrong.
So going back there isn’t helping you. So your scheduler needs to think about those things as well as you. And if there is something else to go to that’s better, you should be scheduled for that.
You also need to possibly way the possibly weigh the politics of that. You don’t want to tick off the local organization. But I think you need to have a frank conversation with the leadership.
“I just don’t have the time at the moment. I can go to such and such where I will meet more independent voters. Please give some brief remarks on my behalf. I really appreciate your support.” You need to say something like that to the GOP leader of the township or the county or whatever organization is asking you to come.
Or you say, “I’ll swing by for ten minutes, but I’ve got to cut out. “ And you can do that as well. But, you know, it takes time to get there. It takes time to get to the next place. It takes time from other things you could be doing. You could be on the phone.
And your scheduler needs to have a little bit of that savvy when they are scheduling something. Usually when they are putting the schedule down, they can say, “This is tentative. I’ve got to consult with the candidate” or other people in the campaign if your campaign is that big and you want to consult with the campaign manager.
Anyway, you have this person taking down information. You want to get the date they are asking, the request date, the date they are submitting this. And you want to know what they want you to talk about. Are you just coming as a meet and greet? Are you getting up and giving a speech or a presentation on a certain issue?
How long should you be speaking for? Is this is a stump speech (three to five minutes)? Or is this going to be a long Q and A and how long is that going to be? What’s the format? What are you going to be talking about?
And who else is going to be there? Is this going to be a debate format and your opponent is going to be there and other candidates? You want to know if this is debate between candidates from multiple different races or just your race.
You want to know if this is a friendly group inviting you or a non-friendly group. The League of Women Voters here in Illinois is not a friendly group to Republicans or conservatives. Their bias is heavily liberal. Their membership is heavily liberal. And their questions are asked in liberal ways. Now, they try to pretend to be unbiased, but you’ve got to be careful. So you’ve need to know that going in.
You also need going on and on your schedule request form if they need your bio in advance. Have they looked at your website? Do you need to email them any information? And has it been emailed?
And something else to think about (and this is also something your scheduler could help you with) is this a good event for the press to know about? Should you be sending out a press release to the local papers that “John Doe is going to be speaking at the local Chamber of Commerce at Monday’s luncheon”?
Those are places that you can get a little media out of it, places that just the event can be more so than just the event. So think about that.
And then somewhere you need to know that this has all been confirmed. Someone is double-checking the day or two before the event. Again, that is your scheduler. And they are making sure that it is confirmed, it s a go, the times are what is, the address is correct, and you know where you are going.
Often a scheduler can print you a map if they are going to hand you something on paper if they live close by. And if it is all done electronically, perhaps they can cut you a quick link to that map. And if it gets cancelled, who cancelled it?
Again, contact info for the day of the event. Who is going to be there with a cell phone in case you are running late or have a flat tire, which doesn’t happen often, but things do happen? So a scheduler is someone who is important.
Now let’s go back to talking about who that person might be. As I said, you are looking for somebody that’s got time. It is a great job for someone who is retired. It is a little tougher for a stay at home parent because usually they are trying to deal with kids and they’ve got things going on and schedules and they are running around. But you might find that person.
How do you find people to do things like this for you? Number one, you’ve got to ask. And this role of scheduler Is somebody you need to trust. So this is something you would ask for a neighbor or a friend or a relative.
And you would ask them if they are available. Could they do this? You could ask then if they can try to do it for a little while. And then if it is not working for them, okay. Then they turn it back. On the other hand, it might be just great.
And it is something they can do with never leaving their home on their schedule. If they’ve got a cell phone with them, they can write down the information no matter where they are. Or they can take a note or a message and say, “I am going to call you back when I get home to the calendar.” And they can follow up.
So this role is one that is easily filled by someone who can take a little bit of attention to detail. Also, you need to have someone that is friendly. You don’t want to have some crab on the phone talking to people. And there are people that are crabby or just no interesting. So you want someone that is thorough and someone that is friendly and someone that can spare a little time at random times.
We also need to think about who else needs to be privy to this schedule. So when you are putting together your Google calendar, it is you and your scheduler. It is your family- kids if they are old enough, spouses. They need to know where you are at and what is going to be going on. They need to know that schedule.
And then there are other people in your campaign. Do you have someone that is doing some social media for you, someone that is posting stuff on Facebook and tweeting? They might want to post that you are going to be at the local county GOP picnic next Saturday. Perhaps they are probably going to want some photos of that to put up on Facebook that day or the day after.
Is there someone in the campaign that is your field manager or your campaign manager? They need to know where you are going to be and what you are doing. They are going to need to know if you are going to be available for walking door to door or making phone calls or where you are going to be at.
Your donor meetings also need to go on your schedule. Anything related to the campaign needs to go on the schedule and it needs to be shared with those people working within the campaign so they know what is going on.
Now to make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a schedule request form in an e-format. You can use this for your campaign. You can get it at commonwealthy.com. Just go to the site, give us your email address, and you can download it for free. Perhaps it can be put to good use in your campaign.
Well, I hope you will give some thought to that role of scheduler and who you are going to ask if you haven’t already asked. Or if you are gearing up for 2017, you might be asking really soon, right now in fact. And get that person set up. Figure out how to use a Google calendar or some other kind of a shared doc to take care of your tracking.
And then trust them. Get them started. Go to Commonwealthy.com. Get our request form that we’ve got an electronic version of that you can use in your campaign. You don’t have to reinvent anything. Show them how to use it. Talk about what information you want. Perhaps there are things you might want to add even in addition what we have talked about.
And take that burden off of yourself. Let somebody else do that. It is something they can do in their spare time. It isn’t going to be a big burden to them and yet it is really valuable to your campaign.
If you’ve got any questions about what we have talked about today or about campaigns in general, I am firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer a free one hour consultation. If you would like to have me talk about things with your campaign and about you as a candidate, I am happy to discuss what is going on and give you a free ideas for free in that first hour.
And then if we’ve got things we can work on together and you are comfortable with it, I can tell you what it costs and what I can do for you. And we go from there. So feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
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But one of the things about politics is we love to talk about it. We love to go and complain and “we should have done this and we could do that and we should and we should.” But if you want to change something, you really want to make a difference, you really want to make an impact on the world, run for local office.
It is so important that we get our people, those that believe in limited government in place on these boards. There are five hundred thousand local offices in America. Find something that you can step up to and run for it. We are here to help at Commonwealthy.
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