Warmer weather is the catalyst for lots of upcoming community events. For campaigns, that should mean one thing: Parade, fair and event preparation.
To ensure your campaign is making the most of the season, we’ve prepared a list of do’s and don’ts to help you get ready to reach and interact with voters at summer parades.
Prepare a list of parades in your community: Know what parades are taking place in your community and when. Often, multiple parades take place in an elected official’s district on the same day, so make sure you know when and where they are happening. Then prioritize them. You should also account for line-up ahead of the parade, the length of a parade route, and an exit plan for the end of the parade route.
You can find information about parades on Facebook pages (local legions, area chambers, small businesses, etc.), in a printed or online community visitor’s guide, in newspapers and church bulletins, and in signs on the side of the road. There’s no excuse for not knowing what is taking place.
Read the parade rules: All parades are run differently. Talk to the coordinator for details specific to each parade in which you participate.
- Who is welcome – Not all parades are open to everyone. Sometimes only elected officials, not candidates, are invited to participate.
- Registration – Some parades require registration and some do not. Further, some require payment and others are free.
- What can you bring – Not all parages allow candy to be thrown or signage to be displayed.
- Where do you start – Get details about lineup requirements.
Invite Volunteers: The bigger your presence at a parade the better. Make sure to give volunteers plenty of notice ahead of when you need them. Then stay in touch with your volunteers and let them know where to be and when.
Come prepared: After talking with the parade coordinator and confirming details, do bring candy if it’s allowed, do have appropriate signage for the side of your car or float, do have branded t-shirts or hats available to volunteers, do have sports schedules or palm cards with your name, photo, logo and contact information on it, and do bring water, snacks and sun screen for when it is hot and sunny.
Forget to take photos for social media: Maximize your exposure on social media. There’s no better way to make the most of an already great community event than to post photos or videos of the candidate interacting with volunteers and voters.
Be obnoxious: Parades are family affairs. There’s no need to brag or flaunt a big win or issue. People attend parades to be part of the community, fellowship with their neighbors, and take in the tradition. No one there wants to be lectured or preached to. Remember that you are there to attract people to your campaign, not push them away.
Forget to thank volunteers: Your volunteers gave you their time and energy. Make sure they know how much you appreciate their work with your thanks. It might even be a good idea to take the volunteers out for lunch or ice cream after the parade!