A Matter of Time

“Lost time is never found again.”

-Benjamin Franklin

It waits for no one. As an ever-dwindling and ultimately finite resource, time plays a critical factor in every campaign.

Some considerations deal with internal logistics. How frequently should a campaign hold fundraisers? How many session days does a non-profit have to push an issue before the Legislature adjourns? How many hours can a candidate set aside to knock doors before election day?

Many (if not most) campaign managers and candidates have other professional and familial obligations outside of the campaign. “How much free time will I have for my marriage? How often will I get to see my children? How much time can I take off work without endangering my career? How will I fit my campaign efforts around my work day?”

All are valid questions, and the answers can change as unexpected elements influence the course of the campaign or an individual’s personal life. Time management starts with an overall plan but is, by necessity, adaptable. Managers, directors and candidates must be vigilant in making sure everyone’s time is used as efficiently as possible to focus on maximizing campaign results.

The strategic use of a time isn’t just about how much you can manage to accomplish over a given period, but also determining when to take specific actions within that period. Proper timing can be as simple as meeting a filing deadline, or as complicated as judging when to send out key communications to a targeted demographic.

An example: In candidate campaigns, the first critical question is when to announce your bid for office, as the answer often affects both the political landscape as well as a candidate’s own prior obligations, whether to a career or existing public office. In both outside perception and behind-the-scenes preparation, the time chosen will determine the tone and pace of the campaign.  

There are a variety of factors one must account for. Are there sufficient resources and a plan to hit the ground running? Who else is jumping in the race, and is it more advantageous to pre-empt them? When will the candidate’s message resonate with a receptive audience?

In non-profit campaigns, managers have to strategize timing based on a variety of factors including and beyond an individual candidate’s needs. Creating a cause campaign involves intense planning beforehand to maximize credibility among first-ask donors, scheduling forward movement based on the opportunity for outside grants, choosing the right time to hire additional staff, and working around the availability of key support figures when it comes to requesting legislative hearings.

As an essential element of campaign success, Grassroots Midwest puts critical value on time and the impact it has on the success of your campaign. Leveraging experience in grassroots organizing, public relations, campaign strategy and data analysis, our team is dedicated to helping candidates keep pace with every unforgiving tick of the clock.

About the author: Steve Heikkinen serves as the Communications and Marketing Strategist for Grassroots Midwest, Michigan’s only bipartisan political advocacy firm.