Conservatives Learn Data Skills for Campaigns

Early this summer, I was among 40 students who attended the Leadership Institute’s first-ever Campaign Data Workshop.

Since liberals began using data driven technology in 2004, conservatives have put themselves at a disadvantage by stubbornly sticking with inefficient paper walk books.  Their campaigns have suffered the consequences.

During the evening workshop, attendees heard topics ranging from general campaign advice to specific data applications in case studies.

“Data driven technology acts as a force multiplier and data can help campaign managers make key decisions," said Joshua Fimbres, a Business Intelligence Analyst at Freedom Partners. 

Joshua specifically spoke on data and why it is important for campaigns.  He showed various companies who provide data services to campaigns, and strategies  to use voter data within the different phases of a campaign.

“In fact,” Joshua went on to say, “I would even go as far as to say that all campaign structure exists to implement these data driven decisions."  

He also covered examples of strategies he implemented in California and Maryland where voter data was used to effectively map out campaigns.

Chris Stolte, Director of Campaign Accounts from i360, followed with a practical exercise on how to use their i360 app.  Students downloaded the company’s app during the lecture and practiced its use by generating a mock call list and walk book.

One student in the workshop raised his hand to vouch for the application.  As an employee at uCampaign, the student had previous experience with the program while placed on the Ted Cruz campaign.  He also added valuable insight on how their application helped the Ted Cruz campaign effectively reach and mobilize voters using the freshly updated data provided by the other users. 

Many of the students’ own campaign experiences shone through during a group exercise which provided an opportunity to create questions to identify potential voters. 

Laughter, discussion, and flying pens brought a sense of camaraderie as attendees shared different voter ID questions with the class. 

Thomas Bingham, Political Training Coordinator at the Leadership Institute, closed out the evening training workshop by emphasizing the winning difference on close campaigns.  

"Comparing a campaign with no technology at all going full throttle, to one with a smaller staff using technology and data to make decisions on their campaign, it can make a difference in performance of anywhere from 5% to 8%," he said.

As a former campaign volunteer myself, I can tell you there is a night and day difference between the paper walk book system and the modernized system.

The paper system often leaves you with frustrated volunteers, missing data, and wastes time, while data technology provides up-to-the-minute updates to headquarters, making it easy for volunteers to see their own progress and succeed.  

Learning how to effectively collect and use voter data is essential for anyone who is serious about winning a modern election; attending the Campaign Data Workshop gave many campaigns a head start.

The next Campaign Data workshop is to take place on August 17 in Arlington, Virginia. 

R. McKinley is an intern in the Political Training department at the Leadership Institute.  Click here for more information on upcoming trainings.  The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,643 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers.  Since the Institute’s 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders.  Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.  For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.