by Danielle Savage
For many first-time candidates, parades become an important community event and present an opportunity to demonstrate the strength (or weakness) of a campaign. Here are the 5 Tips of the Trade for having a successful showing in your local parade:
- Focus on people, not floats. Voters don’t care if you have a large float with extravagant decorations. They want to see that your campaign is supported by lots of people with lots of energy. A truck with signs prominently displayed will suffice. Focus your energy on getting dozens of enthusiastic supporters wearing your campaign tee shirt or stickers. They will be the message the audience remembers.
- Winners walk (or run). No one wants to see their candidate or elected official waving from the back of a convertible. They want to see you, up close, talking to voters and hustling the parade route. Candidates should be shaking hands and talking to voters, not riding or walking the middle of the route. Never forget: winners walk.
- Bring supplies. Every campaign should have a box of event supplies including tape, string, zip ties, push-pieces, and lapel stickers. You’ll never know what kind of situation you’ll find yourself in on the parade route so be sure to have your supplies handy.
- Pre-parade work. Almost any parade will have more people in the crowd than a campaign can meet and talk to. Be sure to send your volunteers ahead of the parade route (before the parade begins) to hand out stickers and push pieces to folks along the route. This will ensure your message gets in front of your target audience no matter what happens once the parade begins. It also ensures they have more time to read your piece before the action starts.
- Our Top Tip. Spend $20, buy 500 paper lunch bags and put your lapel sticker on each and every one. When your volunteers head out before the parade route, have them find every child in the audience that doesn’t have a bag to collect candy. Give them one of your branded bags and it will ensure that your logo and your brand will be seen by thousands of people.