Fancy Fun Friday – Capitalism is the Best

Kate Spade CEO Nicole Schlinger

What I like best about this picture (aside from the world’s most beautiful dog) is the fact that this bag was NOT custom made for me. Someone at Frances Valentine thought, “there are enough women CEO’s, I think we can make some money by selling these.” What an amazing thing capitalism is.

Frances Valentine was founded by the original Kate Spade who in 1993 left her safe job with nothing but a dream and a bag almost exactly like this one.

Campaigns & Elections Lookback

In the fall of 2019, Campaigns & Elections magazine allowed me to write some articles discussing a variety of topics. Campaigns & Elections is a publication every campaign operative should be tracking. They constantly have insightful information and features from the very best in the business.

Nicole Schlinger I Voted
Photo courtesy of Campaigns & Elections

Right around Thanksgiving, they published another one of my pieces, Will Relational Organizing Prove a Breakthrough Tactic for the GOP in 2020? 

Here’s a small clip:

Every cycle seems to bring about a fresh innovation that reaches voters differently or a new tech that helps a campaign run more efficiently. But one campaign principle that hasn’t seen much change over the years is how we utilize volunteers. I predict this is the next big thing for the GOP.

You can read the full article here

And don’t forget to subscribe to Campaigns & Elections to keep up on the biggest trends in politics.

 

Thanks for reading,

Nicole Schlinger and Chief Canine Officer Martha Waffles

Nicole Schlinger

Is a Microforum Right for You?

Do you want to engage up to 500 people on one phone call? Do you wan treal-time feedback from your supporters/donors? Do you want to rally your audience to take action? A microforum may be for you!

Nicole Schlinger Brooklyn Iowa

A microforum is a moderated conference call where you decide who joins the calls, speaks, and asks questions. You can have one conversation with everyone who needs to hear your message, which is both personal and time effective.
The first step to a successful microforum is to spread the word to your target audience, whether that be through text message, calling, word of mouth, or even email. Plan your event with us so that we can guide you in the best steps to inform YOUR audience.
Step 2 is to begin with your end in mind! Determine the specific action/reason for your microforum. Is your goal to update your donors on private campaign information? Do you want to rally your volunteers before a National Day of Action? Are you in need of a private connection to give high-profile candidates a chance to speak to their top supporters?

ALL of the above are reasons to have a microforum!

The third step to success is to plan the call. You should draft a line by line script in order to make sure you tell your audience exactly what they came to hear! Jot some notes down on possible questions that may be asked – YES, you will be able to communicate with your audience. Not just that – but CampaignHQ will screen questions FOR YOU to make sure you get the questions you want to answer live! You can also ask a poll question to determine the opinion of everyone on the call!

It is always good in the planning phase to hold a brief meeting with us here at CampaignHQ to discuss the platform, format, etc. We will provide you the training you need at no extra charge!

Step 4 is audience participation! Ask your audience to press *3 to ask questions and engage in the conversation. Encourage participants to answer poll questions and follow up with them after the call. This is a great way to get information from your audience!
Click here to contact us about scheduling a microforum!
Are you ready to take it to the next level? Give us a call about hosting a telephone townhall! We can outbound call up to 2 million people!
Contact CampaignHQ at (888) 722-4704 or marlys@chq.us to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can give you the winning edge in your election, ballot initiative, or issue advocacy campaign.

Caucus Flashback

I’ve been spending some time recounting the history of CampaignHQ in my updates about selling our original building.

Mitt Romney Nicole Schlinger

I recently stumbled upon a couple of articles from The Des Moines Register, written by Jennifer Jacobs in 2011 that I thought would add more color to the storyline of what was happening for our organization during that time.

This article features Mitt Romney and his time in Iowa at that point. 

Many of my friends are featured in that article – like David Kochel, Christopher Rants, Jill Latham-Ryan, Doug Gross, Gentry Collins and the list goes on.

This is a write-up Jennifer Jacobs did when I signed on with the Time Pawlenty campaign.

Speaking of Jennifer Jacobs, she is now the Senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg News. She is always breaking news and continues to be a fair and dedicated reporter. You can follow her Twitter feed for many updates.

 

Thanks for reading,

Nicole Schlinger, President of Campaign Headquarters

Nicole Schlinger

Thanks for the memories 700 East Pleasant

Election Night 2010. The last with our team under one roof at #700EastPleasant.

Jake Ketzner asked if I’d be in the room with Governor Branstad. They needed three people to man three computers to check election results. Basically, they needed a third body to hit “refresh” over and over again until Governor Branstad was announced the winner.

Nicole Schlinger Terry Branstad

At first, I declined.The last time I’d been in the room with a candidate had been in 2006 with Bill Dix. Before that, 1996 with Mike Mahaffey. Frankly, my record of being next to a candidate while they watched election returns was bad.

Jeffrey Robert Boeyink told me if I was asked, I needed to be there.

So on Election Night 2010, I sat in a room and hit refresh over and over and over again alongside Jake and Lynn McRoberts. And lo and behold, Terry Branstad was our Governor again.

After being told I was a terrible fundraiser, after working hard and coming up short for Jim Nussle in 2006, I was finally been the Finance Director for a winning gubernatorial campaign.

Shortly after, we were brought on to help with the fundraising and ticketing for the Inaugural celebration. And while working for Governor Branstad’s campaign was a great experience, the Inauguration was not.

Our call center was growing. Our national clients that year included Tea Party Patriots and Americans United for Life.

It was time to leave Iowa fundraising behind.

We moved our call center into the new building at 109 West Front St in July 2011. The rest of us moved into the basement we now call home in October 2013.

Terry Branstad Kim Reynolds David Young Nicole SchlingerThe last Iowa fundraising event I attended was Governor Branstad’s birthday in November 2014.

And as you read this, I am no longer the owner of #700EastPleasant.

Nicole Schlinger Brooklyn

Getting Crowded

If we met in the early years of this century, you may wonder how an establishment Republican major donor fundraiser became a Tea Party conservative.

I was tired of staying in my lane while our candidates put up loss after loss, despite record fundraising. I was tired of Republicans saying they wanted limited government, and then voting for a lot more government. I was tired of being told “we only hire our friends” or “we don’t play in primaries” when all that got us was a lot more cookie cutter and a lot less authentic emotion.

So when I heard JennyBeth Martin for the first time in 2009, shortly after Rick Santelli’s CNBC rant, I knew this was the moment I’d been waiting for. (Not just a conservative, not just a fire breather, but a woman. Someone who looked like me.)

Nicole Schlinger Tea Party

It was time to play full court press. Play like every day is the last play of the game. Let’s push people on their principles, even in primary campaigns, especially in primary campaigns.

At that particular moment, few people wanted to play in that niche. It seemed like a passing trend, and maybe a little dangerous.

Well, I wanted it. So CampaignHQ would be the Best Conservative Call Center in America.

***
2010 was a transition year for CHQ. Several key players who would build the foundation for what was to come joined us that year. Marlys De Witt Popma, Trevor Dodds, and Staci Shepard.

Marlys had been the Campaign Manager for a candidate for Governor who left the race shortly after Terry Branstad announced he was in. A key person on our staff had just quit and we were looking to fill the gap. But the notion that THE Marlys Popma would fill that gap (and more) #CHQ seemed outlandish.

Chad Foster and I giggled like little girls when I told him my big idea and read him the script of what I’d say when I called. But lo and behold in January 2010, she showed up for work and a new chapter began. When we hired Marlys, we didn’t have a place for her desk. So I moved out of my office into the vending machine closet, and my office was split in two so she’d have a space.

Trevor and Staci started on the call floor with amazing talent. We didn’t have assigned seats for everyone, and the day Trevor got a desk of his own (actually a $29.99 coffee cart from Wal-Mart) was a milestone. It was … as we like to call it… “Toilet Adjacent.”

Nicole Schlinger Nicole Schlinger employees

#700EastPleasant was getting overcrowded.

Barnstorming Romney

In the winter of 2007, Romney was barnstorming Iowa like no other candidate. We were taking RSVPs for dozens of “Ask Mitt Anything” events all over the state.

But he wasn’t the only one. We were still raising money for Congressman Latham and now Congressman Steve King. We were still setting appointments for State Legislators.

So how do you handle RSVP’s for many candidates coming into a single toll free number?

You change your name.

No matter which event or which candidate you were calling for … if you were greeted with a cheery “Campaign Headquarters” … you called the right place.

So that’s how the name Capitol Resources got chucked out the window and replaced with CampaignHQ.

When the Romney campaign ended in early 2008, it would have been easy to go back to the same old grind. House parties. Appointments. But once David Kochel makes you see something, you can’t unsee it. We kept on doing what we’d always done, but on the side we were building the new business.

2008 was a rough year. I stopped taking paychecks again. Barack Obama was elected President, and the Tea Party movement was about to begin.