What should be the candidate’s top priority after he/she has decided to run for office?

Brett Dinkins: Before announcing a campaign launch, a candidate’s top priority should be to assemble a strong campaign team (Consultant, Campaign Manager, Finance Team, etc.) Additionally, the candidate should develop a clear campaign strategy, including defining their platform, identifying target demographics, and establishing fundraising goals in line with their budget.

Christian Hulen: Picking a team and fundraising. 

After deciding to run for office, but before the campaign launch announcement, what are the major tasks that need to be completed?

Brett Dinkins: Candidates should be ready to sprint out of the gate from the time the announcement goes out. This requires all the “background work” to be done. You should have your messaging developed, logo and branding complete, and website, digital assets, and online fundraising platforms established. It is imperative to establish the necessary infrastructure for the campaign to ensure that the campaign is ready to hit the ground running once it is announced.

Christian Hulen: Build a budget, compile your friends and family fundraising list, and select vendors.

After the campaign launch, what are the 2 – 4 tasks that should be prioritized over the first 30 days?

Brett Dinkins: Fundraising and building their initial network of support. Begin fundraising efforts to build a war chest for the campaign. This involves reaching out to potential donors, organizing fundraising events, and getting a “Friends and Family” letter sent out. Reach out to key stakeholders, community leaders, and potential endorsers to build a coalition of support for the campaign. This can involve attending community events, meeting with local organizations, and conducting outreach to influential individuals.

Christian Hulen: Fundraising, fundraising, and attending local events.

What is one common mistake campaigns should avoid during their initial launch?

Brett Dinkins: There are two common mistakes I see candidates make during their launch. 1) They launch their campaign with a press release before having all the assets they need in place. This leads to people reaching out wanting to be supportive, but having no way to donate, sign up to volunteer, etc. Candidates fail to capture the momentum of an announcement when they haven’t done the groundwork prior to sending out a release. 2) They spend too much money on an announcement with a fancy event, video, etc. The priority should be getting cash in the door, and nothing starts a campaign on the wrong foot more than being in the hole from day one.

Christian Hulen: Spending money on needless retainers and announcement videos.