How to “Be the Change” This Election Year and Remain Positive

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How to “Be the Change” This Election Year and Remain Positive

It’s that time again. Every four years, American voters have an opportunity to make their voices heard via nationwide elections for President. This year, 34 Senate Seats and all 435 House seats in the U.S. Congress are also up for election. This particular election cycle has stirred fervor around many hot-button political issues. Emotions are high, and no candidate is a shoo-in.

Now is the perfect time for you or your organization to throw your efforts behind a particular candidate’s ideology and be the change you wish to see in the world. Make the most of your time and money with eye-catching political and patriotic promotional items this election season.

Yard Signs

Yard signs are the bane of many neighborhoods during election cycles. Research has shown that their effectiveness in changing voting opinion is slim to none. In fact, their biggest value is in name recognition, which works far better for the person running for the local school board than the person running for President.

Why spend money on them if they don’t change minds? Simple. People want to show which team they’re on, just like during football playoffs. And, identification with a candidate is associated with engagement, aka voting. Get and keep your candidate’s momentum on the rise with political signs. Avoid using the words elect or re-elect on your sign. That way, you can use it now to get your candidate elected, and again in four years to re-elect!

Signs, whether held by volunteers, displayed at rallies, or planted in yards, which encourage people to vote, but that don’t include the name of a particular candidate have proven to increase voter turnout. So, if engagement in the political system is your goal, signs definitely do that. Choose signs that rep your candidate, or that encourage engagement. Political signs are a win-win.


Buttons are a time-honored tradition in American politics. They’ve been used since 1789 for the election of George Washington, and have even become collectables over the years. Political buttons are a great promotional tool, because they are inexpensive, easily distributed, and people wear them. Buttons are also versatile during election seasons.

  • Have volunteers wear candidate buttons to identify themselves while canvassing neighborhoods and engaging people in conversations. Face-to-face conversation is the best way to change voter opinions on issues and candidates, so take the opportunity to also leave a button with every person with whom volunteers engage.
  • Often, voting proposals are listed on the ballot in confusing language that makes voters have to figure out if it’s a yes or no that reflects their opinion. Educate voters with buttons that say something like Vote Yes on Amendment Three or Vote No on Proposition Six to help them remember which way is in accordance with their wishes.
  • Buttons that read Teachers Support Candidate Jane Doe will let the community know which candidate your group or organization supports. Use buttons to promote fundraising where contributors receive a button that says I Support Teachers and Candidate Jane Doe.
  • Handing out campaign buttons at political rallies, speeches, and debates takes advantage of the excitement of a live event. They’re easy to distribute, and they instantly connect participants to the candidate and each other. After the event, positive feelings are as firmly attached to the candidate as the buttons are to their wearers.

Fundraising Giveaways and Prizes

Host a coffee fundraiser where the candidate or a local political leader speaks, and give away coffee mugs or travel mugs. Hold a half-marathon to raise funds for your candidate and hand out reusable water bottles to participants. Engage the help of local celebrities who support your candidate and host a golf tournament where you give away golf umbrellas to players and award the winner a Calloway gift card or a TaylorMade Golf Bag. Offer commemorative etched wine glasses or flutes at a wine and cheese fundraiser. Have a barbecue fundraiser. Give away fun gifts like barbecue mitts or aprons; use a drawing for a gas grill to draw more attendees.

Voter Registration Free Stuff

Maybe you aren’t as attached to the outcome of the 2016 elections as most people, or don’t feel any of the candidates really represent your ideas. You can take a more neutral approach and stay out of the political fray while still affecting change by helping people register to vote.

Everybody likes free stuff. Sometimes it’s difficult to get people to slow down enough to register to vote, no matter how easy you make it for them. Give voters a little extra motivation to spend a few minutes with you registering to vote in exchange for a token of appreciation.

Hand out simple giveaways like lapel pins or stick pins that read Ready to Vote, I’m Registered, or Registered Voter. A pocket earbud caddy, keylight with compass and whistle, mini-pack of mints, or other tokens under a dollar would do just as well.

Can you think of any other promotional items that would be helpful this election season?

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