Help Your Treasurer
Branding Your Campaign
Letters from the FEC
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We'd love to hear your positive feedback and suggestions about what we can do better.
I opened my utility bill yesterday and saw that the amount had tripled from the month before.
As I flipped the page over, searching hopelessly for an oversight, I became distracted by an icy draft from the closed window a few feet away. Even in San Diego this winter is uncharacteristically cold, and what’s worse is that we aren’t prepared for it. I suddenly realized that my cheap windows were costing me money.
In our business we often see campaigns that cut corners in an effort to save money. Have you previously run a campaign using Excel as the primary campaign management tool? Yes, Excel is essentially “free” but so are the windows that are currently in my home.
Excel vs. BackOffice >>
In a small campaign maximizing resources is more than just a good idea, it’s a necessity. Like many small companies, you could spend hours sorting and sifting through columns of financial or voter data in a spreadsheet. You could have the kid across the street cobble together a website for you. Or you could make a worthwhile investment in your campaign.
Good investments offer good returns at minimal risks. Our products are used by literally thousands of campaigns nationally for a very good reason…they work. Regardless of the size of your campaigns, we have cost-effective packages that can save you money.
Whether your campaign is federal, state, or local, give us a call at 888-217-9600 to ask how our products can help maximize your campaign’s resources.
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Help Your Treasurer
How can BackOffice help your campaign’s Treasurer?
If your treasurer was creating a top five list of the most time consuming responsibilities of their job would “data entry,” “government reporting,” and “tracking accounting” make the list? Would “error checking the data” or “sharing data with other branches of the campaign” round out the top five?
BackOffice is a database driven utility designed for adding and viewing large amounts of information securely, in real-time, and from anywhere. What makes BackOffice leap ahead of other products like Excel and QuickBooks is that it is specifically designed for the needs of the political campaign.
BackOffice integrates powerful financial tools with real-time information about donors, bills, fundraising, salaries, expenditures, and more. You can view this information with many built-in reports, or you can easily create custom reports to meet the needs of your campaign. Not only does BackOffice have built in error-checking, but each user is accountable for their work since you can view the last user to edit a given record. And you can go straight from accurate real-time information to creating compliant government reporting.
But the greatest advantage to using BackOffice is that it is a single program is used by everyone on your campaign - from the volunteer coordinator to the campaign manager. Sharing and accessing real-time information becomes a non-issue. Coordinating efforts between branches of the campaign becomes more than simplified, it becomes routine. And running your campaign this efficiently becomes not just preferred, but the only option.
Preview how it works >>
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One Single Idea - Branding Your Campaign
A critical component of every campaign’s outreach efforts is the development and execution of a relevant, consistent, and well-managed brand. There is, however, a lot of confusion about what a brand actually is.
A brand is not a logo, a website, or a brochure. A brand is the promise that your campaign is making. It is demonstrated by your campaign logo, slogan, website, brochures, and direct mail campaigns. Further, it is demonstrated by the way your staff answers the phones, the way you conduct yourself during public events, and the way you thank donors. It is infused into all actions and interactions. It is the One Single Idea that ties all of your messages together.
Some questions to ask when building your campaign brand:
· Why are you meaningful?
· To whom are you meaningful?
· How do you reach your target audience?
· What do you need to do to secure their vote?
Build a comprehensive campaign brand with a simple message. Communicate your message visually in a way that is clear, concise, and consistent with your campaign’s value propositions. Brand your differentiators – not just your name. The messages that you develop should immediately communicate why you are a better choice than the incumbent.
A fantastic example of building a simple, steady brand was in the Presidential election of 1864. The United States was divided between North and South in a war to decide the fate of the Union, and President Lincoln was running for re-election. He ran on the simple message: Don’t change horses in the middle of a stream. What’s more reliable than your trusty horse, and why would you abandon him when you’re most vulnerable? This slogan conveyed the steady resolve that soldiers and civilians alike were seeking to get them through the war.
Real full article >>
Letters from the FEC
Date Received by Conduit
Every year, the FEC selects several areas of government reporting to “pick on.” It’s usually something they’ve not had a problem with in the past but suddenly are sending letters regarding. This year, we’ve already seen a trend toward third-party intermediary transactions.
If you receive a letter from the FEC, the paragraph will start like this:
-Schedule A of your report discloses, as memo entries, earmarked contributions through a conduit.... This itemization must include the full name, address, occupation and employer of the individual contributor along with the date the contribution was received by the conduit.
Don’t panic. It simply means that the transfer date was not completed on the intermediary transaction.
To add the transfer date:
1. Go to the existing transaction.
2. Add a Transfer Date – this is the date that the original transfer was received by the conduit.
3. Do not check the transfer box (this indicates it is a different type of contribution).
For more help with third-party contribution, read more in our HelpFile here.
Hot Tip - Changed Transaction Report
Renaming/Changing Saved Reports.
One of the most common questions we get during reporting periods is when the beginning cash balance does not match the ending cash balance of the previous report. The changed transaction report is designed to assist in finding discrepancies or transactions that may be causing problems with an FEC or other government compliance report.
To run the Changed Transaction Report:
1. Click on Reports > Government Reports.
2. On the bottom of the Government Reports Screen, click on the report: Changed Transaction Report.
3. Enter the Date previous report was filed. This is the date that you previously filed your last compliance report. For example, your year-end 2004 report may have been filed on 1/12/2005. You would enter in 1/12/2005.
4. Enter the Close of Previous Filing Period. This is the closing date of your last report. For example, the year-end 2004 year would have the date “12/31/2004” So you would enter in 12/31/2004.
This report then checks for several things:
1) Created after filing but dated before close.
These are transactions that were first created after the date the report was filed but currently are dated before the close. For example, if you entered a transaction on 1/20/2005 dated 12/28/2004, it would appear in the potential problems list with this alert.
2) Previously dated before close, now dated after.
These are transactions that previously were dated before the close of period and now are dated after the close. It will only report transactions that were most recently edited after the date filed and originally created before the date filed.
For example, if on 12/20/2004, a transaction was entered with the date of 12/20/2004 but on 1/20/2004, it was changed to 1/20/2005, it will appear on this report.
3) Previously dated after close, now dated before.
These are transactions that previously were dated after the close of period and now are dated before the close. It will only report transactions that were most recently edited after the date filed and originally created before the date filed.
For example, if on 1/5/2005, a transaction was entered with the date of 1/5/2005 but on 1/20/2005, it was changed to 12/20/2004, it will appear on this report.
4) Deleted transaction.
Transactions with a date prior to the previous close that were created before the previous report was filed and deleted afterwards will show up on this report (see limitation #1 below).
For example, if on 12/20/2004, a transaction was entered with the date of 12/20/2004 but on 10/15/2005, it was deleted, it will appear on this report.
1) Deletions prior to 10/12/05 will not appear.
2) Not all actions will necessarily be caught by this action.
3) Name changes and similar modifications are not caught.
4) Subvendors, partner itemizations, loans and other “minor” transactions will not be caught.
5) Will include some “false positives”.
I still can’t find my problem!
Manual review is the only option at that point. Print out the reports and review them by hand to find the issue.
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