Your issues are critical to your organization's success. So too are your issues critical to your members. Knowing where elected officials stand on your issues is important at all levels of government, because eventually those candidates will run for higher office, and will get to a level that impacts you.
Because of this evaluating candidates is an important step in any organization. This guide should help you figure out the right steps to take.
You want to make sure you have different ways to evaluate candidates. A questionnaire is a great first step. Not everyone does well in that format. Consider interviews, forums, one on ones, panels and other ways to get information about the candidates.
Think of the key questions important to your organization, and craft a short questionnaire about those issues, extra bonus if you can tie the issue to that level of government. Candidates get questionnaires on all sorts of issues from all sorts of sources - Regardless of whether or not their particular level of government even addresses that issue. Making yours short, to the point and pertinent will make you stand out.
IDEA 3 - WHAT CAN THEY TELL YOU
The other side of what they can tell you is what they can't - and it reveals a great deal of their campaign realities. Do they need polling, or do you have polling that says something different than theirs? Do their fundraising strategies match the local experience? Do their campaign managers have a successful track record? Does their campaign plan reflect the reality of what it takes to win in that area? Knowing that information can be more effective than anything they can tell you.
The best part of being involved in coalitions is that you have a team of people doing their own evaluations and research. Sharing that info takes you much further than anything else you can do. Polling, interview experiences, members involved in campaigns, inside information on the election, relationships with mail houses - you name it, that information comes in very handy.