You cannot do it
all with Excel®
(Well, OK, maybe you can. That's if your name is
Mr. Excel or if your Excel
knowledge is far beyond that of a mere mortal. Even Microsoft
admits you can't manage a complex database with Excel. Why
else would they sell Access®?)
Excel is a
wonderful application, perhaps the world's most popular piece of
software. In fact, Excel is
so widely used that if there’s a time-bomb deep somewhere in the
Excel code, we're rather certain Western Civilization will end on the day it goes off.
It's handy for a variety of simple database applications. But if you're managing a campaign database, there are some real
Any mailing list
needs to be householded before sending it off to be mailed.
We don't see how the greeting
(salutation) and name lines in a mail merge can be properly combined
2. Absentee and
and no-fault absentee laws that have taken hold in 29 states have
the effect of extending the Democrats' election-day activities from
30 hours to 30 days. Which means
they'll have the time to turn out their voters and break the tide of
Republican gains this year. The numbers are staggering.
In this year's September primary in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (a
no-fault absentee state) 75 percent voted absentee. You MUST
compete for those votes and, on the backend, avoid wasting resources
contacting those who’ve already voted. (If you're in a tight
race and unprepared, you will lose. Simple as that.)
You need a system that imports this information directly from the
county website where available, OR enables you to quickly look up
and tag voters manually where it is not. And not just when they
ballot, but also when they return it (or, if you're in an
early-voting state, after they vote). Think about it: if 60,000
vote in your district, that means you’ll be dealing with between
20,000 and 30,000 absentee ballot requests and turn-ins in the space
of 35 days. Nearly 1,000 a day. Double that for the
If your database is larger than 65,000, then everyone
who acceses it
will need a recent version of Excel; the pre-2007 Office versions
won’t work. And unless you're using a workbook prepared by someone
with very advanced Excel knowledge, looking up certain individuals
and PACs is slow and complicated.
It takes an extremely advanced knowledge of Excel to
enable the kind of searches you can pull from Filpac. Example:
“everyone in UA Ward 4 who’s a R Super-voter and given at least $200
to any R candidate” or “everyone in County X who hasn’t maxed-out” or “everyone inside the district who’s given $200 or
more” or “all lawn signs, in street order, in Ward 4”. Everything in
Filpac is broken down into donors, contacts, lists and workers, with
unlimited coding and combinations of each.
requires an "Excel Guy"
... who might be
unreachable at the very moment when volunteers are standing around
in your headquarters waiting for their walk lists. If you're a
Filpac user, anyone in the campaign who's used the program could
probably generate the correct lists and, if not, they could dial our
toll-free number and learn how. It's never a good idea to
leave mission-critical functions in the hands of only one person.
If you're a
challenger in a swing district, you’re running against a ruthless
politician who’s won before. He knows how to personalize the
campaign. He's won before because enough swing voters feel they know him, and
that's the number one reason people vote for a candidate, regardless
of party or issues. If you want to win – and we speak from many
years of experience -- you must to
compete for the same voters at the same level. Forget what you hear about being swept in
with the Republican tide. A candidate who establishes a personal
connection with enough voters will defy that trend. If you’re making
multiple personal contacts, as you should, with thousands of voters,
then you need a system to facilitate this – something that makes
data entry easy and clean, and something that enables you to quickly
report, view or select people based on multiple criteria. You
need a database with the power of Filpac.
We have a system that divides precincts in to five
categories – Ticket-splitters, base R, Aspiring R, Base D and Solid
D. Using this system you can target your mailings and , when funding
limits demand it, TRIM your mailings to ensure you’re mailing to
those with the greatest likelihood of supporting your candidate.
If fund-raising is a problem, we provide free of charge an updated
list of donors from the Secretary of State’s website. This is the
same list that you can download for free, but in Filpac you can
quickly view the donation history of everyone matched against their
giving to other campaigns. So if someone has given you $100 but
wrote $1000 to Kasich, it means you shouldn’t insult the guy by
asking for less!
9. State and
Sure, you can do
most of this in Excel, but preparing an export spreadsheet that will
pass the validation requirements of the FEC or your state can be
frustrating and complicated. The Filpac system makes this a snap.
So easy, in fact, that one of our clients, a treasurer for a
multitude of committees, has filed as many as 25 disclosure reports
in a single day.
you intend to use an Excel database in multi-user mode, everyone
must have a licensed Excel copy.
And if you're
still unconvinced, take it from our Customers . . .
. . . who usually start
with us by handing over a collection of Excel workbooks to be
converted into the Filpac system. They’ve already made the decision
that it can't all be done in Excel.