What do you do when 60,000 women reach out to you about running for office?
In the case of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, we launched Run to Win, a national recruitment and training campaign aimed at helping these women run for office — and win.
These women are running for local offices like school board, city council, sheriff, and more — offices where we desperately need more women in charge and where a little help and training can go a long way.
Since the inception of the program in 2017, Run to Win has expanded to include an online community, in-person and online trainings (a lot of online trainings), a free online Training Center, and most recently — an SMS program just for candidates through Hustle.
In the beginning, we used Hustle for primarily in-person event recruitment. These texts were successful but remained limited to certain geographical radiuses around a training event.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the EMILY’s List training team pulled down all in-person training and pivoted to a schedule of online webinars. To promote the webinars, the Run to Win team turned to Hustle for online event promotion, the same way it had for in-person promotion, and found similar success. Once again, our event registration and attendance were significantly driven by text recruitment.
We also started sending a message the day of an event (usually a few hours before the go-time) that was either a reminder to join or a text asking for questions ahead of time for Q&A sections. These day-of reminders have significantly helped boost attendance and have helped webinar events go even smoother — ensuring speakers have time to review questions, select ones they want to answer, and more.
Our text program helps fill the gaps of our email and social media strategies, reaching even more women and making sure they have all the resources they need to run.
Because of the high rates of engagement on the event recruitment texts, we’ve started expanding our text offerings to non event-related candidate texts. We started by reaching out to candidates to check in on how they are doing and offer help. Women that responded received resources based on their biggest need, including pertinent webinars, the EMILY’s List Training Center, and the Run to Win online community. This campaign had a 17% engagement rate!
We also sent a survey asking candidates to tell us when they are planning on running, a tip-of-the-day campaign, and a good luck text to all 2020 candidates the day before the general election.
For the tip-of-the-day campaign, 14% of candidates said yes to receiving a series of texts that included resources, recorded webinars, and lessons. Each follow-up text in the campaign had anywhere between a 16–30% engagement rate!
Peer-to-peer texting through Hustle has been a critical part of the EMILY’s List candidate recruitment and training program. Whether candidates are just thinking about running or are running for re-election already, peer-to-peer texting has ensured candidates stay in close communication with EMILY’s List and are provided resources directly for their needs.
Written by Samantha Bauman, Digital Organizer and Olivia Noble, Digital Fundraising and Organizing Director at Run to Win at EMILY’s List
If you are a Democratic pro-choice woman who wants to run for office, join the more than 60,000 women who’ve signed up for Run to Win today by signing up here!