Let’s take our focus away from more advanced local political campaign strategy for a moment and touch briefly on a far simpler (but still important) topic.
If you’ve worked or volunteered in more than a few local elections, then you already know what kind of supplies and products you need to buy and keep on hand to keep things running smoothly. This post is meant for new political candidates and campaign managers who might need a few pointers on what supplies to stock up on before you hit the campaign trail.
While I could list dozens of different supplies that any good candidate needs to have, I’m going to focus on the three that I use the most: Sharpie markers, thank-you cards and stamps.
Pens and paper are a given, and you probably already have them anyway. In my opinion, though, one of the most useful political campaign supplies you could buy for a local election is a Sharpie marker. Sharpies aren’t just good for jotting down an occasional note; they’re also the best tool you could possibly have for scribbling quick thank-you notes and messages on campaign door cards. Especially on glossy fliers or brochures, a Sharpie marker stands out like a regular ink pen won’t, and there are many different colors available to personalize your signature (Strangely, Sharpie markers were also one of the most valuable tools I learned to carry around as a soldier in the United States Army; but I digress.)
And speaking of thank-you notes, that’s another political campaign product that you want to make sure is in plentiful supply in your office. If you aren’t going through thank-you cards like crazy, then you simply aren’t running an effective grassroots campaign. Luckily, you can find bulk packages of simple thank-you cards for a few bucks at five-and-dime stores; there’s no reason to get too fancy with them.
While much of your political campaign direct mail will probably be paid for with a bulk mail permit, you should still keep plenty of stamps on hand in order to cover any random thank you cards, voter letters, and other items that will need to be delivered over the course of the campaign. Believe me, no matter how many stamps you buy in advance of your campaign, you will still end up running to the post office to pick up more.
If you’re an incumbent politician, experienced campaign manager, or have done election volunteering, I’d love it if you would let our readers know what some of your favorite, must-have campaign supplies are. I don’t like to be without my Sharpie markers, but are there other vital tools that you can’t do without on the campaign trail?