In recent years, the ways in which political candidates engage with potential voters has shifted significantly. In this new era of campaigning, political campaign management software can be an essential tool to help you connect with potential voters and donors.
What is political campaign management software? Also sometimes referred to as election campaign software, campaign optimization software, or campaign organization software, political campaign management software includes a range of tools that can be used to manage political campaigns, fundraising, and donations.
While different brands of software offer different services, campaign software can include tools for managing campaign timelines, donors, volunteers, and fundraising. Other tools can include donor targeting, email marketing, data analysis and reporting, and contact database management. Campaign software is most often used by campaign staff members, but can also sometimes be used by political action committees (PACs).
Well-designed political campaign management software can help candidates run for office and win election. In addition to the features listed above, this software can include campaign management tools such as:
AI capabilities to help plan and strategize during your campaign
Documentation of campaign funds, resources, and donors
Database management to keep track of staff and volunteer information
Event planning tools
Tools for connecting with potential voters and donors through canvassing and other strategies
In 2023 and beyond, political campaign management software can make more of a difference than ever — especially because more and more voters engage with candidates online. Fewer Americans can now be reached through traditional TV advertising. In fact, according to a recent poll by the Center for Campaign Innovation, 28 percent of voters nationwide either use streaming only or are totally unreachable by TV ads. The percentage for independent voters is even higher, coming in at 32 percent. This shift signals the need for candidates to have a stronger online presence, to meet constituents where they already are.
Between the 2020 and 2022 elections, American voters’ online engagement with candidates increased notably. Voters searched for more information about candidates online, visited candidates’ websites more often, visited and interacted with candidates’ social media more often, and participated in candidates’ livestream events more often.
What does this trend mean for running an effective campaign? The shift from traditional advertising to digital media can be used to candidates’ advantage, allowing you to engage more personally with potential voters and donors. Young voters are especially likely to engage with politicians and politics-related news online. Additionally, voters in rural areas may be more effectively reached through digital than traditional means. The move to digital media also reduces campaign costs, as it is now cheaper and easier to send a message to a broad swath of voters.
This shift opens up fresh opportunities for independent and third-party candidates, such as Libertarians or members of the Green Party. Election campaign software can open avenues for independent candidates to convey their mission and connect with voters across the nation, without having to raise the funds needed for more traditional campaign strategies.
There are numerous options available for political campaign management software. As you decide which software to choose, consider these five areas:
Campaign management software can be expensive, with subscription fees as high as $500 per month. Some software brands use perpetual or one-time pricing, which can amount to thousands of dollars paid upfront. To make matters even more difficult, many popular campaign software brands do not offer free trials or free versions of their services.
Good Party’s new AI Campaign Manager is different from competitors. Our tools are completely free — reducing the amount of money your team will need to fundraise and giving you more time to focus on your mission. The difference is that Good Party is a public benefit corporation, so our focus is on helping real people run and win in elections, not on making a profit.
As with any piece of software, user-friendliness can make a huge difference in user experience. As you consider different software options, ask yourself: Does this campaign optimization software provide an effective, intuitive way to manage the people and resources that make up my campaign? Does the software save me time? Is it easy for members of my campaign team to use? Does it let me speak to real experts? Overall, does the software actually make running my campaign easier?
The Good Party AI Campaign Manager checks these boxes by creating an easy-to-follow journey map for your campaign, saving you time through AI-generated content and access to trusted resources, and connecting you to real experts specializing in politics, mobilization, and social media outreach.
The question of scalability is especially important for candidates looking to move beyond local or municipal politics. How effectively can your political campaign management software help you reach a wider audience? Campaign tools that help you navigate the digital landscape more fluently can help to keep costs and the amount of time needed down as you expand your target market. Scalability can be a key factor, for instance, in moving from a primary election to a general election.
Especially for candidates who have previously run for office, you may already have multiple software tools at your disposal to help run your campaign. When considering investing in a new piece of political campaign management software, it is important to make sure that your old and new tools can work together efficiently. Many pieces of campaign management software can integrate both with other political campaign-specific tools and with more general-purpose tools such as Salesforce.
Modern political campaigns can collect immense amounts of information from and about potential voters and donors. Data informs decisions such as where to place ads, where to send mailers, and in what ways to micro-target ads to particular demographics. Reporting from Reuters found that during the 2020 elections, political campaigns made use of data on over 200 million voting-age Americans. With so much data collected during the election cycle, it is crucial to use software with a high level of data security.
A related area of importance is a piece of software’s level of compliance. To help your campaign run smoothly, you will likely need to file compliance reports with the state you are running in, and with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Effective political campaign management software will allow you to file these reports without breaking a sweat or worrying about filing incorrectly.
Numerous candidates have used political campaign technology to help win elections.
One example of a partisan candidate who used political campaign management software effectively is Veronica Klinefelt, a Democrat who used NGP VAN to help her win a seat in the Michigan State Senate. Klinefelt was able to win a contested primary election, and then scale her campaign efforts to compete and win in an even more competitive general election. Klinefelt’s team was able to raise over $1.8 million through political campaign technology for the general election. In the end, Klinefelt won the general election with 53 percent of votes.
Another success story belongs to the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee (PAHDCC). Following the 2020 census, new district lines were drawn in their area, creating an opening for other parties after years of Republican gerrymandering. The PAHDCC invested in the campaign management software Mobilize to take advantage of this opportunity. This technology allowed the PAHDCC to centralize information about volunteers, organize mobilization events, and keep track of which of their campaigns were succeeding or needing extra assistance. The PAHDCC was able to organize 2,000 volunteers across Pennsylvania, after scaling up their investment to cover 40 different campaigns. This strategy helped lead to the PAHDCC seeing their candidates win half of the seats in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.
Now, a new tool is available that’s designed specifically for nonpartisan, independent, and third-party candidates: Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager. Good Party’s software is free, unlike tools like NGP VAN and Mobilize, and dedicated to helping real people run and win elections.
At the end of the day, finding what campaign management tools work best for you and your team will help to maximize your results. Follow these three tips to make the most of political campaign management software:
The earlier you can implement campaign management technology into your overall strategy, the more effective that technology will be.
Good Party lets you start engaging with our technology even before you’ve filed for office. Good Party Academy is a free online course that can help you discern whether running for office is the right step for you. When you enroll in Good Party Academy, you will be connected with experts and tools that can help make your campaign a success down the road.
If you’re unsure whether a piece of campaign software will work for you, see if you can get a demo or free trial. Good Party lets you easily start a free demo — and remember, the rest of the tools you’ll get through the AI Campaign Manager are free, too.
A common mistake during the campaign process can be to lose sight of your original motivation for running for office. What made you most want to serve your community? What issues are you most passionate about, and what do you most want voters to know about your goals for office?
As you use campaign management technology to fundraise, analyze data, and move toward the numbers you need to hit to win election, keep the heart of your mission at the core of your campaign.
Political campaign management software includes a host of tools that can make your campaign more effective, efficient, and energized. From volunteer management to voter targeting, campaign management technology can increase your chances of winning the next election. For more information on Good Party’s free and easy-to-use AI Campaign Manager, reach out to get a demo or to get started today.