The advent of computers and specialized software has made it easier to do just about every job imaginable, and political campaigning is no exception. Although I’m sure you could run a winning political campaign without a computer, I wouldn’t want to try it. When it comes to organizing and tracking names, addresses, finance reports, contributions and countless other data, computer programs make a political candidate’s job immeasurably easier.
First time political candidates might think that they need to buy specialized political campaign software or programs in order to make the best use of their computer during the election season. And while there are plenty of programs and software packages available for purchase that claim to make campaigning easier, the fact is that everything you need is probably installed on your computer already.
The two computer programs that I’ve used most extensively for political campaigning are Microsoft Word, a word processing program, and Excel, a spreadsheet creator. Unless you’re running in a statewide election or you’re a field director for a presidential campaign, I doubt that you’ll ever need anything more than these two programs, which come installed on many Windows PC computers out-of-the-box.
The biggest value of a computer in political campaigning is its ability to help you organize, track and plan. The Excel spreadsheet program is a huge help for any campaign, and I suggest that you familiarize yourself with it if you plan on running for office in the future. Not only is it fairly simple to use, but it allows you to easily keep track of every interaction you might have on the campaign trail.
Additionally, most election statistic reports that you receive from your local board of elections will likely be in an Excel format. If you know a bit about how to use spreadsheets, you’ll be able to sort and organize names, addresses and voting history for people in your district–a very useful ability that could mean the difference between winning and losing your campaign.
Sure, you could probably find flashy political campaign software and programs that make the process of tracking and organizing more entertaining, but you’d basically be paying for something that you probably have the ability to do already. Microsoft Word and Excel aren’t flashy software, but they’re very useful to political campaigns from the lowest to the highest levels.