Winning the approval of voters isn’t just for candidates running for public office. If you’re considering a bond referendum to raise funds for your school system, public safety, or other municipal issues, here are the top five mistakes you want to avoid.
You Assume Everyone Will Agree With You
Just because you understand why this bond referendum matters, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Too many people begin this process with the assumption that voters will automatically see the value and don’t require any educational campaign. This makes your position vulnerable to attack. It is best to begin your campaign like no one in the community understands your position and needs everything explained.
You Don’t Explain the Value to Everyone in the Community
If you’re running a bond referendum for a school, you may think only parents and teachers will vote, but that won’t be true. The most frequent voters in any election are seniors, who may not have students in the school system. You’ll need to communicate how a strong school system is in their best interest as well. For example, a strong school system will help their kids and grandkids stay in the area, provide a generation of skilled workers, and help the local economy grow.
You Focus on The Wrong Things
If your bond referendum would support new buildings, keep in mind that it isn’t just about facilities. Perhaps it is about improved performance, updated safety, providing new jobs, or how the investment will provide for so many workers. Think about the local factors affected by the bond referendum and highlight those. A building is only the beginning.
You Ignore Opposition
It is important to mitigate opposition arguments early by engaging with them. Start the process by soliciting community feedback and addressing concerns. If you can determine the tough spots early, you can craft messaging that either refutes or solves those problems in good faith.
Your Numbers Are Hard to Relate To
If you’re focusing on the thousands or millions you want to raise, those numbers will feel far away and hard to understand for most people. Focus on the comparative cost to the individual taxpayer. For the cost of a cup of coffee, you can help build a new school, give teachers a raise, buy a new fire truck, etc… This number is relatable, simple, and feels more achievable.
Victory has helped many bond referendums successfully cross the finish line with broad support. Our team understands the nuance of building a coalition around an issue through digital, print, and grassroots organizing. If you need help staying on track, reach out to me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org – today to get started!