In campaigns, Math Rules

One rule in electoral organizing: if  you cannot quantify it, it does not count.

How can you count, “I’m pretty sure they’ll make a donation,”  or, “I’m pretty sure we’ll have enough volunteers for the action,” or best yet, “I’m pretty sure we’ll have enough votes on election day?”

Don’t count on it.

The only way to be sure is with real numbers that you can count.

Try writing a budget with, “I think we’ll raise…” or even, “I think it will cost…”

It will be easier to write a budget when you are sure you can raise $100 from ten donors each, for example.  That gives you $1,000, and if you know a post card for your canvass will cost you ten cents to print, then you know you can order 10,000 post cards.

Here’s another example of math that can be helpful.

Everything should be a solid number that you use to plug in as a variable into an equation.  Think in terms of high school algebra.

So how many volunteers do you need if you can canvass 20 doors per hour, if there are two 2 hours shifts, and you need to canvass 160 doors by the end of the day?  Solve for this missing variable.

160 doors ÷ 20 doors per hour ÷ 2 hour shifts ÷ 2 shifts = How  many volunteers per shift?

V = 2.  You need two volunteers per each two, 2 hour shifts each knocking on 20 doors per hour to canvass 160 doors by the end of the day.

Let’s test it by working backwards.  Solve for T (total doors) by starting with 2 volunteers per shift.  V = 2.

2 Volunteers per shift * 2 shifts * 2 hours per shift * 20 doors per hour = How many total doors?

160.

So, generally speaking, all campaigns share one rule:  Math.

Of course, these concepts are very basic, and much more can be employed.

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