Monday, March 14, 2011

The "Oscars" of Politics

I attended the 20th annual Pollie Awards and Conference last week in Washington, D.C at the Fairmont Hotel and wanted to provide a recap of the event.

What are the pollies, you ask?

The Pollie Awards are presented every year at the American Association of Political Consultants annual conference and are awarded to the best and brightest political strategists, mail firms, fundraisers, pollsters, and media firms in the country and include Republicans, Democrats and, new this year....Tea Party.

Winning a Pollie is a BIG deal for political consultants. The annual AAPC Pollie Awards and Conference is the Oscars of politics complete with the red carpet (well, not literally), awards and acceptance speeches. Entries are submitted and scoring is based on a 100-point system, with 100 being the top value. For all categories, there will be a maximum of four awards: gold, silver, bronze and honerable mention. Entries must meet the minimum score criteria to earn each level of award. Scoring is done by a committee of around 6 political professionals.

For more information, check out this article by the Washington Post. Provides a really good overview of the event with quotes from some of the winners and organizers.

The Pollie Awards and Banquet definitely served as the cherry on top of the political sundae but we can't forget the three days of intense strategy sessions, networking and the introduction of new products and services the conference provides.

Here is a description of a few of the MANY sessions

Enduring issues
Some of the most familiar names in American politics discuss the role of America's enduring issues in the 2012 campaigns.

Online Video Hideouts
Online video ads reached half of the US online population the month before the 2010 elections. Learn how to make these secret hideouts of information work for your campaigns.

The New Television Landscape
With all the new political technologies in the us today, how do you cut through the clutter to get the most for your TV dollars? Join a panel of AAPC media experts as they discuss the techniques they used in their mid-term campaigns to get noticed.

Humor in Campaigns
America's most creative--and humorous--consultants show examples of using humor in campaigns. They will also discuss where humor is--and is not--effective as a political tool.

Online Fundraising: Your Mission is to Find Those Donors
Online fundraising is a lot more than credit card processing! Learn how to prospect, engage, connect with, and solicit funds for your campaign. Online fundraisers will walk you through case studies and best practices to reveal their secrets.

Innovations in New Media
Enjoy a cutting edge conversation with technologists and practitioners as they discuss the tools they used in 2010 and what they see coming in 2012.

The 2012 Presidential Election
The biggest names in political consulting and journalism talk about the 2012 electoral environment, and handicap the 2012 Presidential race.

It was a great event and I look forward to attending next year.

A word of advice to those thinking about running for office---hire a professional.

Regardless of the size and budget of your campaign, there are professionals that specialize in winning your type of race. Whether you are running for local school board or for U.S Senate it is important to get in early and have a professional team to give yourself the best chance of winning.

Interviewing vendors and consultants? Ask them if they are members of the American Association of Political Consultants. In the world of political campaigns, there are plenty of folks who call themselves "political consultants" who actually have day jobs that have nothing to do with campaigns or politics. Would you hire a fundraiser who spent every day 9-5 working in a bank? Or do you want a fundraiser who actually spends every day, all day fundraising on political campaigns? Take the time and do the research. Why run if you don't plan to win?

Go the the AAPC website for more information as well as a list of vendors and consultants.