Why Winning Candidates Must Say No to Campaign Junk

Once you become a candidate for office and your phone number, address, and email become public information you’ll be inundated by people who want to “help” with your campaign. Don’t be fooled. They’re not reaching out to help you. They only want to help themselves to your money. If you fall for their B.S. it could cost you the election.

Does that sound a bit extreme to you?

If so, then you really need to read this article. You’re already highly susceptible to their con game.

And yes it’s exactly that. It’s a con game. They offer you something that sounds really good but at the end of the day you wind up with something that has zero value for your campaign while they wind up with your dollars.

Every monetary transaction should be an exchange of value. You get something valuable for a certain amount of dollars. The true value of the product should be worth the amount you pay.

You may pay a consultant a fee to put your campaign together and help you win. They bring their expertise, established relationships with vendors, and save you a lot of time. There’s a clear exchange of value there.

You might also hire a fundraiser to help you raise the money for your campaign. In return for the results they produce, you provide them with a commission on how much they raises. That’s another clear exchange of value.

But these junk vendors are not providing you value. They’re selling you junk. 

How do you know if it’s junk?

Identifying junk is pretty simple. It’s no different on a campaign than it is in your personal life.

Junk is that stuff in your closet or garage that you spent money on but it provides zero value because you don’t use it. It only occupies space.

The is true of campaign junk.  You’ll buy it, quickly find out it does nothing to help you win, but don’t know what to do with it so it will just wind up taking up space.

But there’s an even bigger downside to campaign junk.

Every campaign dollar you spend on campaign junk is a dollar that can’t be spent effectively contacting voters with mailers, signs, or Facebook advertising.

If your budget is tight or your race is close, the money you’ve wasted on campaign junk that should have been spent on communicating with your voters won’t be available. That’s a horrible position to find yourself in.

Cutting pieces of mail or being forced to narrow your targeting to make up for the budget shortfall could then cost you your election.

Fortunately, there’s one very good way to protect your budget. It’s by saying no to campaign junk.

What campaign junk should you say no to?

Over the years these are the typical kinds of campaign junk candidates waste their dollars on.

  • Bumper stickers
  • T-shirts
  • Pens
  • Buttons
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Mouse pads
  • Fans
  • Rulers
  • Pot Holders (do people still use these?)
  • Coffee Mugs

None of these items will help you turn a voter into a supporter.  They are absolutely useless, yet candidates buy them for one or two reasons.

1) They don’t know better. 

The pitch sounds good and the fall for it.  You now know better and can protect your money.

2) They like the vanity of their name everywhere.

Yes, there’s something really cool about having your name on a shirt, a mouse pad, or a coffee cup.

But guess what?

It’s even cooler to see your name on a brass name plate as an elected official.

Put your name on your signs and on all your mailers. Go out there any win your election.

That’ll stroke the ego far better than a leftover box of t-shirts that you have to hide in the attic of cellar if you don’t get elected.

Candidate Take-Aways

Don’t get bamboozled by the pushers of campaign junk.

Rip up and throw away the mailers they send you. Delete their emails without reading them.

If they reach you on the phone be firm, yet polite, however you must say no.

Thank them for their call but tell them you don’t have a place in your campaign budget for bumper stickers of whatever they’re trying to hock you.

If you still feel bad about saying no, then I give you permission to be helpful.  Give the junk vendor your opponent’s phone number.

That could be a win-win-win scenario.  The vendor made some money, your opponent wasted theirs, but most importantly you held on to yours.