By William Cobb, Production Lead
Since 2020, current events have periodically thrown a wrench into the plans of even the most seasoned PAC professionals. Between a pandemic, civic unrest, and other major setbacks, fundamentally sound PAC communication plans were postponed or scrapped entirely, and the numbers suffered in turn.
52% of Business PACs saw their receipts decrease in the 2022 election cycle. Despite participation rates remaining relatively static at 12% for business PACs (association PACs had 15%, whereas corporate PACs had 11%), the average PAC contribution went up to $783 in 2022. This means that, in general, larger contributions are coming in from fewer donors.
Source: (Sagac 2022 Trends Study).
With participation and receipts trending slightly downward, PACs need to be creative and resilient in order to maintain growth.
There are always reasons to press pause on your PAC, especially during crisis. But when the unexpected happens, you need a plan that is adaptable enough to survive.
Here are five ways to keep your PAC plans nimble:
1. Get it in the can early, especially when drafting PAC education language.
You likely already have the basic points about your PAC that your eligible audience needs to know. Since 101 PAC education content will largely not change based on current events, you can write it as far in advance as you’d like. To save time during deployments for one-on-one outreach, education campaigns should be produced and scheduled during the month prior, at the latest. With PAC education already in the can, a crisis will feel less intense.
2. Write with cushions, especially when planning an upcoming event.
Often PAC professionals will wait to have ALL details about an event or about an issue before informing their eligible audience. As we know from Hollywood, a teaser is better than nothing. It is okay to use vague terms for a thank you event like “exclusive recognition opportunity” without specifying. Followed up with, “PAC contributors will receive details about this event at a later date.” This will potentially entice non-donors and allow you to communicate about the event or issue while details are still changing.
3. Marcom are friends, NOT food, especially when you need approval.
Do you have a best friend on your marcom team? Your PAC comms are only going to go as far as your internal approval process allows them. If Marcom and branding are sensitive to your activities, consider including them in brainstorming about your PAC comms plan. When you loop them in up front, it allows you to avoid stepping on their toes when it comes time to deploy. Additionally, they will have fewer concerns or questions about your plans when a crisis emerges.
4. Throw a Hail Mary to legal, especially when asking for permission.
If pressing, red meat issues arise, PACs need to be able to communicate the urgency of the scenario to their eligible audience. Legal approvals on PAC comms that highlight timely issues can be tricky in some cases. If your initial draft for legal approval is slightly on the other side of the legality harbor, they will edit you back into safe waters. By “going deep” with your language on an issue, your lawyer will potentially meet you halfway on the language used. This will allow you to stay nimble and capitalize on an ongoing situation.
5. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, especially if your PAC is paused.
The worst PAC communication is the one that never goes out. When external or internal forces are causing questions to be raised about your PAC, it is easy to find yourself editing your plans and communications. Then editing your edits. Then editing again. Eventually, the window will have passed, and the communication will be irrelevant for a reason separate from why it was paused. If a PAC communication has legal and communication’s blessing and you feel proud of it, press send! Good isn’t perfect, and that’s okay.
All PACs are unique! The more work done up front to get your approval chain bought in means the less you will need to overhaul your communications plan during crisis.
If you have questions about what Sagac can do to keep your PAC plan adaptable, connect with us today at email@example.com.