Winding down a campaign should be one of the first things a candidate thinks about. If left to the days after the election, a frantic wrap up could misplace valuable resources, or antagonize supporters and vendors.
From terminating the lease for the headquarters to creating a system to catalogue a candidate’s speeches, much of a campaign’s critical work bleeds past Election Day.
“Often there’s no discussion about this,” Joe Fuld, founder of The Campaign Workshop, said Monday at C&E’s Art of Political Campaigning conference in Washington. “You need to make sure you have a process from the beginning about how to shut down.”
Campaigns often rush to empty their coffers before voting starts, but that’s a mistake, according to Lucinda Guinn, of EMILY’s List. “It’s so important not to end your campaign in debt,” said Guinn. “Make sure you’ve left enough money aside for your staff to properly shut down the campaign.”
It helps to have a detailed post-Election Day plan.
“In a campaign, there are a lot of assets,” said Fuld. “Whatever it is, you want to create a list of these assets from the beginning, from office chairs and desks to intellectual property. Work with an attorney to figure out what records and items you’re going to keep.”
A campaign’s relationships also require some attention.
“Make sure you always send out a big ‘thank you’ email to volunteers and donors the next morning,” said Guinn. “People remember who says thank you, and it goes a long way.”
For campaign staffers, it’s also important to devote time to networking and resume writing. “Think of ways to quantify your work so you can market yourself,” said Guinn. “How much money you raised, how many staffers you managed and how many volunteers you had are all important figures, especially when you’re a young professional.”