Several weeks ago, Campaigns and Elections ran a great piece from Colin Delany of on the importance of quickly ramping up your campaign’s online presence.

Colin is right. For most campaigns, it may be a bit early to cut walk sheets, but if your team wants a shot at victory next November, you should be compiling the email addresses you’ll need to fundraise and communicate your campaign’s message right now.

At Eventbrite, we believe that events are a great way to grow your lists and cultivate prospective donors and volunteers. Not only can a well-thought-out event set the tone for your campaign, but it can also help in your effort to reach new supporters and build momentum for the coming year. If you’re thinking about hosting a “list building” event, and consider these tips:

Make it free. In politics, there’s the urge to fundraise at every turn. But hosting a free event or low-dollar fundraiser is a great way to attract prospective supporters and donors as well as build your email list as they register for the event. Even if you have to spend a little money on snacks or drinks, it’s ok-consider it the cost for email acquisition. Additionally, if you’re using Eventbrite, there is no cost for organizing a free event.

Set your turnout expectation. Across the event industry, a 50% no-show rate is expected for free events, so plan accordingly. Reminder calls and emails can help fight the “flake rate”, but the reality is that not everyone who registers will show. The good news is that if you are collecting emails as people register, you can follow up when it comes time to fundraise or knock on some doors.

It’s early, have fun!  There will be a time and place for four-point plans and policy talks. For now, keep things light and plan something fun that will draw a crowd. Think of an activity that your supporters might already have on their minds: a game watch, trivia night, karaoke party, or a bingo or ping pong tournament. Pick something will appeal to as many people as possible – the goal is to get friends-of-friends to sign up.

Promote with Facebook, collect data with Eventbrite. Facebook is a great way to promote your events and we highly encourage organizers take advantage of Eventbrite’s one-click Facebook integration to help spread the word. However, if data is what you’re hungry for (and you should be!), you’ll likely want to find a way to collect information when guests register, rather than just clicking Yes, No, or Maybe on a Facebook event. Eventbrite’s custom questions feature is great, seamless way to gather the data you need – emails and interest in volunteering, for example.

Know who’s helping and what’s working.  In campaigns, accountability is key. Analyzing what yields returns will help you tighten up your campaign operations, so make every attempt to track who is pitching in and which promotional channels are working best. Be sure to utilize Eventbrite’s tracking links, which allow event organizers to see exactly how many page views and registrations came from that unique link.

Have you found events to be helpful in building your email list? If you have another tip you’d like to add, tell us in the comments below or email us at Best of luck with list building!