What is a Campaign Kick-Off?

Monday, May 24, 2010

By Diane Hettrick

A campaign kick-off is the public start of the candidate's active campaign for office. The candidate may have been working for months, collecting money, doorbelling, and making public appearances, but the kick-off signals the start of the official campaign season.

The purpose of the kick-off is to energize supporters and collect money for the candidate. Kick-offs are sometimes held in large, private homes or in public spaces such as restaurant rooms and local halls. They generally last no more than two hours and include light food and energizing speeches from supporters and the candidate.

Anyone who supports the candidate is welcome to attend. Whether you know the candidate personally or whether you know the host personally is not important.

When you attend a kick-off, it is customary to make a donation to the campaign. A typical donation ranges from $25 to $100. You can donate to the candidate at any time but it is energizing to the candidate to get a large amount of money from the kick-off.

Supporters can sign up to volunteer for the campaign, get on the mailing list for information, and pick up yard signs, car signs, buttons, postcards and other campaign materials.

Some kick-offs are very large and elaborate, with alcohol, entertainment, and visiting dignitaries. Others are very small and low-key. Cost is a major factor because money spent to stage the kick-off comes from the campaign. Candidate and volunteer energy is a factor. It is a question of where to use your resources and what kind of pay-back you can expect.

Campaign kick-offs from the last election cycle ranged in size from 12 people to 500 and did not seem to correlate to the eventual outcome of who was elected.

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