Here’s a question that we recently received from a Killer Campaigning reader:
“About how many yard signs should I order for my political race? I will be on the ballot next year and the district has about 20,000 voters in it. I want to make sure that I order enough yard signs, but then again I don’t want to waste money by buying too many. What is a good number?”
It’s a good question, but there are a few things you’re going to have to ask yourself before you can settle on an initial number. Here’s the first and most important: how hard do you plan on working?
The answer to this question really does matter, because the harder you work, the more signs you are going to need. If you plan to really put your heart and soul into the campaign, knocking on doors, making phone calls, meeting constituents, and raising money . . . well, then the number of yard signs you’re going to need will be much higher than if you rest on your laurels for most of the campaign season.
Working hard gets people’s attention, and you’ll find that many more people will ask for signs if they see that you’re making a concerted effort at your campaign. And if you’re keeping track of every single person you meet while campaigning, then you’ll have a great list to contact about yard signs when it comes time to put them out.
If you don’t plan on wearing holes in your shoes on the campaign trail, then there are still a few options you can choose to get some yard sign locations without all of the hard work. One is asking your local party for a list of people who have taken yard signs from other candidates in the past. These people might be willing to let you put a sign in their yard, as well.
If you don’t have much money to budget for campaign yard signs early on, then try starting with about 100 signs for every 10,000 residents in your district (if you’re in a smaller district, just use a proportional number). That’s not a number that has been scientifically proven to be effective, but it’s enough to give you a fairly nice initial spread of signs across your district.
Order your first batch of signs a few months before they are scheduled to go up, and keep track of how many people request them. As you near the day to put them up, you’ll have a feel for how many more you’ll probably need to order. Most political yard sign providers allow you to order signs in batches of 50 or more, and can usually get your order printed and shipped within a week.
Don’t be satisfied with just handing out your initial batch of yard signs! Once they are spoken for, work overtime to get as many more sign locations as you can. While yard signs aren’t very important in the overall scheme of a campaign, they do help you identify your most fervent supporters and provide an image of momentum throughout your district. (Keep this in mind, though: a friend of mine won a very difficult County Commissioner race in a district with about 300,000 residents, and he only put out 100 signs. He won by working hard, not by putting up yard signs.)
And remember: you’re probably going to get plenty of new yard sign spots right up until the last day of the election. Voter awareness starts to really peak in the last few weeks of the campaign, and you’d be smart to keep a good supply of extra yard signs on hand for late requests.