PACs Pause Solicitations, Focus on Communication
A month into the pandemic lockdown, 88% of PACs surveyed by the Council’s Political Involvement Network said in early April they had paused their solicitation of eligibles, but more than half (53%) were continuing to cut checks to campaigns.
Some ceased soliciting members in the middle of campaigns, cancelling events, and still aren’t sure when they will resume their usual activities. They’re waiting for things to get back to normal — whatever normal will mean — and the disruption is based not only on COVID-19 status, but also on the economy. “If we are in a recession,” one PAC manager commented, “we will need to reconsider HOW our usual solicitation campaign will be adjusted.” Others have shifted their communications to what one survey participant calls a “purely educational focus.”
A follow-up survey conducted by the Political Involvement Network from mid- to late May found that 62% of PACs were still communicating with members and eligibles, but that 84% were not soliciting contributions. When they begin to resume solicitations elicited a range of responses, with 37% saying they hoped to do so by July and August. Only 17% hoped to solicit members and eligibles in May and June. But 65% were still cutting checks.
Well over half of respondents (62%) continue to communicate with members and eligibles, but the communications tend to be more personal than they might have been before the pandemic. One participant, for example, said they are doing “personal outreach—just to see how they are and if there is anything we can help them with during this time. No PAC solicitations.” More than half (55%) say they haven’t held a virtual fly-in or advocacy day.
The one theme in both surveys is a sense of uncertainty, but a desire to get activities back on track when it is appropriate to do so. This involves a good deal of day-to-day monitoring of conditions as they change, and a shift in the style and substance of messaging.
Learn more about the survey results and risk management for PACs in the Council’s COVID-19 Toolkit.
Want More Information on This Topic?
Contact Kristin Brackemyre, director of PAC and government relations