Using Incentive Groups to Build Political Momentum

People, especially activists, love to be part of a “special” group, to be “in the know,” and get the chance mingle with other like-minded people.  Setting up incentive groups for your political campaign and encouraging membership will build momentum by motivating activists and packaging your message for easy transfer.

What is an incentive group?  An incentive group is a committee or “club” that attracts members with the trappings of membership.  These trappings include “insider” status, “special” information and newsletters, pins and buttons identifying the activist as a member of the political group, members-only receptions, etc.  These groups can and should be used for all aspects of your campaign, not just your fundraising network.

We’re All Friends

Incentive groups can be used for attracting volunteers, such as setting up a “Friends of Betty Franklin” committee.  Such a group could offer special coffee gatherings with the candidate, an imprinted t-shirt, or any other suitable incentives to members who gather once a week to address envelopes and make phone calls.  Incentive groups can also be used for voter contact activities.  Candidate Bob Walker might set up “Walker’s Walkers,” a group that goes door-to-door twice a month.  In return, the campaign might set up Walker’s Walkers Night at the local bowling alley, and mail the “Walker’s Walkers Newsletter” once a month.

You CAN use This Tactic    

Use of political incentive groups need not be limited to the local scale.  This tool can be utilized on any size campaign, big or small.  The most obvious use on the largest of campaigns, of course, is in the fundraising arena.  National and statewide campaigns and party committees have been using fundraising based incentive groups for years, setting up different levels of membership for increasing donation amounts, with higher level groups receiving more prestigious perks.

Be Creative!

It is important to be creative when designing incentive groups for your campaign.  The crucial thing is to figure out what would motivate your target activists to join, what the campaign can reasonably offer, and how easy it will be to attract new members.  Once members start to join, it is imperative that they be encouraged to enlist new members to your political group.  The campaign should endeavor to create a real sense of community in these groups, particularly the non-fundraising based ones.  Provide motivation, encourage membership, and your incentive groups will grow and thrive.


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