You made me promises promises / Knowing I’d believe / Promises promises / You knew you’d never keep
I love the 80’s! The title of this blog is the same title of a 80’s hit song. I felt the song and verse were perfect for this discussion because when you start to run for office or when you tell people you are going to run, you will start to hear every promise in the world. “I’m gonna help you,” “I’ll raise you money,” and “anything you need just ask”, would be the ones I have heard the most. I am sure the people are sincere with their intent but often people stop answering the phone if they think you are calling about the campaign. Before they were your friend and would always pick up, now you are asking them for money or time, something they might not have to give you. And yes, they did offer first to help, but I want you to be aware of the broken promises you will come in contact with.
The promises will come from friends, family and people you have met who have an interest in your victory. Let’s talk about the promises your friends will make you. I would leverage that friendship for anything you need to win. For example, if I were running for office I would have no problems asking my best friend for a donation, volunteer time on the weekend to canvass, or a few hours working at a poll site on Election Day for me. If he promised to help me but then never delivered on those promises I would leverage our friendship to get him to help. Such as, reminding him of all the times I helped him move, picked him up from the airport, lent him money that was never paid back, etc. In addition, if all else fails, because I do need the help, I would pull out the big guns and call his parents. The point is that you can be more aggressive to close friends in extracting help or rather keeping them to their promise. The same rationale can be used for family. Just remember the strength of the relationship and remind them of the good times and history you have between them. Since it is family, you can tell grandma or grandpa, an aunt or uncle that they are not helping you to help put pressure on them to fulfill their promise.
Yes, I am being lighthearted with those suggestions but I am very serious. If you are planning for your campaign to have 20 volunteers working for you because a civics teacher said they will get you their students and only 2 show up for a canvass, that effects the campaign plan. I would not treat an ANY promise that someone gives you as fact until it happens. Take for example someone you know very well promises you $1000 donation to help you get shirts for the campaign and you place the order with the printer. However, the friend has had a personal tragedy and has to leave town for 2 weeks. Now how are you going to pay for the shirts? I have been let down by people I never thought would not come thru on a obligation. I do not just mean a campaign donation either. People will promise you time to walk on weekends, or to work a phone bank and simply not show or call to tell you they changed their mind. Moreover, when you try and call or text them you get no response, no answer. The worst part is someone who you continually see but has an excuse as to why his or her initial promise has not been met yet. I guess they do not understand how much you need their support. It does not feel good to be let down by people, especially when you were close before the campaign.
What you can do to get over the broken promises from people is to have a good campaign plan in place that does not require promises from other people in order to be complete. If someone promises you something and they deliver, then it should be seen as a bonus to whatever activity you had previously planned. Remember the 3 Pillars of Democracy and focus on which strength you have in abundance to get the other two pillars and be successful. If your campaign plan says that you need 3 people on Saturday for 4 hours, concentrate on getting those 3 people who can work the shift. It is a bonus if more people show up based on the promises of others. That means your goals will be completed ahead of schedule.
Running for office will be stressful enough without having to worry about going back to people to remind them of the promises they made you. Just run your race, follow your plan, and just add their promises as a bonus on top of your work. Try and sift through all the talk and noise to find the people who seem genuine in their desire to help you. They are out there.