Posts by Campaign Solutions

Pollie Award Honors and a “Rookie of The Year”

James Barnes, a Republican strategist who directs social media innovation for Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli, has been honored as the “Rookie of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). Barnes’ honor is an AAPC Campaign Excellence Award presented for his groundbreaking social media persuasion work on behalf of Ending Spending, Inc. and other high-profile political campaigns and organizations. Other Campaign Excellence Award winners include “Strategist of the Year” Jim Messina and the Obama 2012 fundraising team as “Fundraiser of the Year.”

The Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli team, celebrating its 15th year in digital political consulting, received 12 Pollies awards from the AAPC for excellence in online fundraising, advertising, social media, viral marketing, and web development on behalf of clients during the 2012 cycle. The Pollie Awards are considered “The Oscars” of political consulting.

Although just on the outset of a promising political career, Campaign Solutions team member James Barnes has already made a significant impact on politics and public affairs. Many of his innovations have now become political technology standards, such as the first use of Facebook to personalize a political video ad (“The Ad About You“), the first use of a Facebook registration plugin for an online petition, the first Geo-Local-Social Game, and many more.

“James Barnes is one of the most gifted political talents I’ve ever worked with,” noted digital political pioneer Rebecca Donatelli, the firm’s President and Founder. “We couldn’t be more proud of this honor and we look forward to implementing James’ innovations to win more campaigns for our clients.”

Since 2009, the Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli team received 89 Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants including a record number of honors for online advertising and fundraising. The company also received 4 Golden Dot Awards from the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, and 4 Reed Awards from Campaigns & Elections Magazine. That same publication has bestowed its prestigious “Rising Star” award on 2 current and 5 former members of the Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli team.

Campaign Solutions Partners With Political & Public Affairs Firm Prism Group

March 20, 2013
Contacts: Becki Donatelli (703) 684-3435 / Garrett Marquis (949) 683-1503

Alexandria, VA – R. Rebecca Donatelli, veteran political consultant and president of digital company Campaign Solutions and digital ad agency Connell Donatelli Inc., aligns with public affairs firm Prism Group to jointly offer a full-spectrum of public affairs services. The Prism Group – Campaign Solutions partnership will work with corporate and political clients to develop and execute targeted campaigns at the local and national levels.

Donatelli, based in Alexandria, VA, brings three decades of political experience to the alliance. The NonProfit Times named her one of the top “12 most powerful women in direct response marketing” and the Chamber of Commerce honored her as its “Business Leader of the Year.”

About this alliance Donatelli says, “While working with political and corporate clients we’ve seen a need to offer practices that support completely integrated campaigns. Coupled with Prism Group’s traditional public affairs services we’re confident this will maximize our clients’ efforts.”

The joint services Prism Group and Campaign Solutions offer include:

  • Field activation including grassroots, grasstops, third party outreach and coalition management;
  • Issue and proposition advocacy campaigns and PAC management;
  • Public relations and full-scale digital integration.

With offices in Alexandria, VA, and Sacramento and Orange County, CA together Prism Group and Campaign Solutions will work with existing and new clients on proposition and issue advocacy efforts, and political and traditional corporate public affairs.

Prism Group Principal Garrett Marquis says, “I’ve worked with Becki from my earliest days in Washington, she and Campaign Solutions are pioneers in the digital sphere and have years of results to back up their innovations. We look forward to bringing this unique value to clients and supplementing our know-how with their digital expertise.”

For more information, please visit and


About Campaign Solutions – Prism Group

Campaign Solutions, founded in 1998 by digital pioneer Becki Donatelli, made history by raising the first-ever online donation in politics. Having advised campaigns from the state house to the White House, Campaign Solutions has won 77 Pollie awards from the American Association of Political Consultants – more than any other Republican digital agency, as well as ballot initiatives, PACs and political organizations, and counseled corporate and non-profit entities.

Prism Group is known for developing and executing targeted research-based campaigns and engagements at the international, national and local level. By providing integrated campaigns Prism Groups is able to effectively engage constituents, activate grassroots and grasstops, influence public opinion, and get a message heard.

A Fantastic User Experience from Litmus

User experience (UX) and satisfaction is a key to many levels of success across the digital sphere. It crucial to keep the human being as priority number one when designing products in order to achieve an idyllic experience on websites, within emails, on social media, and on contribution and payment forms.

In this vein, Campaign Solutions just started a two week trial of Litmus, an app that previews HTML emails across over thirty email clients, plus a variety of devices and browsers.

Right off the bat, Litmus displayed a keen awareness and attention to detail. The well designed sign up form immediately recognized my email address from a previous visit, and I was welcomed back to their site with a personalized message.

Impressed by the user experience already, I tweeted out my gratitude:

Then, something interesting happened. The site asked me for my password, which I was clueless to what it may be. After trying a few password standbys, I chose their “Forgot password?” option. Constantly refreshing my email for further instructions or a security question/hint, unfortunately no such message appeared until this email – clearly a result of Litmus’ form knowing I had entered an incorrect password moments before:

While I loved that their automated email responded directly to my slight frustration and provided a rational solution, I still could not reset my password. Not sure what to do, I went back to the site and filled out a “Get In Touch” form that was located on the bottom of the page.

Within minutes, I received a personal email from Danielle, a customer service representative at Litmus, and was provided the reset password. I was amazed by her prompt, accurate, and personal response to my inquiry, which I had assumed would simply fall into the ether, if communicating with other customer service forms on other websites were any indication.

Meanwhile, I got another automated email from Litmus, this time with a message recognizing that I had started filling out their free trial form, but that I had not completed it. This gentle (and humorous) digital nudge was sent my way, which was a better method of getting users to complete an action than what many similar companies often do (which is nothing, all too typically).

Writing back and thanking Danielle for her help, I was again pleasantly surprised when I received yet another response from her, thanking me again for signing up, Tweeting about my positive experience, and even offering to send me a t-shirt as a way to show their customer appreciation.

As if this process wasn’t easy enough, Litmus’ user experience demonstrated a superior attention to detail, providing me with excellent service, and a seamless experience sealing the deal.

If the high level of empathy and excellent communication skills of the Litmus staff is any indication of what’s to come next, we’re in for a great experience with Litmus and we’re excited to get started.

End of Saturday Mail Delivery Means Big Changes for Campaigns

Earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service announced it will end Saturday delivery of first class mail in August making voters unreachable for the first time ever by mail on the Saturday and Sunday prior to a traditional general election.

While Americans don’t seem overly concerned by the change — 54% approve of the decision to stop Saturday delivery — it’s a game-changer for political campaigns and election officials that rely on the mail for voter contact.

This change in accessibility to voters by offline means opens the door for online innovation as the Internet continues to expand its roles for political persuasion and turnout.

The decision weighs heavily on both election officials and campaigns managers who recently have been expanding their use of Postal Service’s first class delivery options to increase election participation. Somewhat counter-intuitively, it’s campaigns online activity that’s driving increased demand for traditional mail.

While email may be decreasing the volume of persuasive mail sent, voters are eagerly taking advantage of a growing menu of remote services like voter registration and absentee voting that are initiated online but finished through the mail. States rely on the mail to transport live ballots to and from voters.

Some states like Oregon that conduct elections entirely by mail, have already expressed strong concern that voters wouldn’t get their ballots fast enough and that return ballots might stack up in the days before the election. As an increasing number of older Americans cross the digital divide, last minute online requests for election services may sharply increase and Boards of Elections will face new demands for online services that still require physical paper trails.

It’s certain that many states’ election officials will heavily protest the end of Saturday delivery or lobby their own legislatures strongly for laws expanding online election communications.

For campaign consultants, this move speeds the positive trend of directing more of their budgets towards online outreach. Funds earmarked for last minute mail can have greater impact online leveraging advertising opportunities and social media for voter turnout. More timely messages will be used that concurrently offer insight into engagement and penetration. These are huge advantages over offline mail campaigns that are often printed weeks ahead of their mail dates.

Imagine if every campaign transferred its Friday and Saturday mail budgets into programs similar to Obama’s 2012 targeted sharing efforts? Political organizations would see a huge magnification in the reach of get-out-the-vote campaigns with two major advantages over traditional mail and door knocks – political reach will be driven by friend recommendations and the penetration with target audiences can be measure directly and not just anecdotally.

So while we are waiting for election officials to take action on the end of Saturday mail service one thing is certain — campaigns need to plan for the change immediately and begin rethinking their traditional get-out-the-vote methods. If 2012 wasn’t enough motivation for Republicans to rethink turnout strategies… now we have one more.

Campaign Solutions Helps Colbert Super PAC Raise $773,000 for Charity

Iconic American political satirist, occasional presidential candidate in South Carolina, and Campaign Solutions client Stephen Colbert announced last week on The Colbert Report that the unprecedentedly impressive funds raised online by his Super PAC will go to benefit six charitable organizations this holiday season.

Campaigns Solutions is proud to have worked closely with Colbert Super PAC in raising the $773,704.83 that will now benefit the Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts, wounded veterans, and campaign finance transparency groups who focus on the influence of outside money in political campaigns.

In the official press release, Colbert described his donation of these leftover funds into his “Ham Rove Memorial Fund”:


Colbert Super PAC’s successful online campaign success was rooted in a solid digital foundation of fundraising techniques including large volume outbound email, integration of a well-designed and executed online store, interactive treasure hunt contest, ridiculously humorous television ads, and the unique genius of one of America’s most honored conservative political pundits.

Winning With Campaign Solutions

Campaign Solutions would like to congratulate all of the candidates, initiatives, and organizations triumphant in this week’s elections. We are proud to have served many campaigns during this hard-fought election cycle.

Today we wish to recognize and offer congratulations to all of our clients who won their respective seats or initiatives for their unwavering efforts and desire to improve the status quo.

In addition to campaigns, we also had the opportunity to work with several organizations and SuperPAC’s – including Ending Spending Action Fund, OPSEC,, and the Tea Party Leadership Fund – who proudly influenced this election with their strong messaging, pioneer use of online technology, and effective advertising.

Jeff Flake (AZ)

Michele Bachmann – 6th District (MN)
Marsha Blackburn – 7th District (TN)
Rodney Frelinghuysen – 11th District (NJ)
Robert Hurt – 5th District (VA)
Steve King – 5th District (IA)
Chris Stewart – 2nd District (UT)
Bill Posey – 15th District (FL)
Peter Roskam – 6th District (IL)
Daniel Webster – 8th District (FL)

State & Local:
Joe Arpaio – Sheriff of Maricopa County (AZ)
Steve Chucri – Maricopa County Supervisor (AZ)
Geoff Duncan – State House 26th District (GA)
Melissa Melendez – Assembly (CA)
Don Gaetz – State Senate 4th District (FL)
Jack Latvala – State Senate 16th District (FL)
Jeff Brandes – State Senate 22nd District (FL)
Bill Galvano – State Senate 26th District (FL)
Tom Lee – State Senate 24th District (FL)

Ballot Measures & Initiatives:
No New Taxes, No on 204 (AZ) – Defeat of the permanent 1% statewide sales tax
No on 34 (CA) – Upheld the death penalty under state law

The first ad, about you.

Today we’re proudly unveiling an application we’ve been working for Ending Spending Action Fund, the first truly personalized ad spot in politics. It’s called “The Ad About You”, and is a first-of-its-kind online application utilizing a Facebook user’s photos of family and friends to deliver and enhance a personalized political message.

Using Facebook social data, the app determines tagged photos most likely to be meaningful to a user, and displays them to coincide with relevant messaging points regarding President Obama’s record on the economy. The result is a deeply personal experience that compels the user to think about those closest to them, while wondering about the next four years — the critical question in any re-election campaign.

Previous applications of similar technology exist in projects like “Take This Lollipop” and Facebook’s Timeline Movie Maker. This app is the first to be developed without using Adobe Flash, instead utilizing a cutting-edge combination of HTML5 and JavaScript to render the experience on PCs and tablets alike. The app also uses Facebook’s Open Graph platform to enable easy sharing.

Visit and give it a try today!

Anything You Can Do Offline, Must Be Done Online

By Cristina Minasian and Christian Curto

In the wake of Ted Cruz’s win in Texas’ run-off, pundits and politicos alike have begun to attribute the campaign’s dedication to social media as one key to their “grassroots victory.” Inevitably, the remaining candidates of the season will try to learn from their achievements and strive to “do what Ted Cruz did online” – similar to the way those same people said “Let’s learn from what Barack Obama did online” in the aftermath after the 2008 campaign cycle. 
Inspiration from this type of victory spreads like wildfire and harnessing that energy to accomplish a campaign’s goals is critical. However, commitment to the digital and online sphere shouldn’t be an afterthought. We’ve seen for almost 15 years how powerful a strong digital strategy can be for campaigns of every size and reach. For those looking to find similar success, tips and tricks alone won’t win your election, but a solid commitment across your online presence will deliver results. 

Having a plan and a commitment to building the strongest possible foundation for your campaign still remains the most certain way to achieve victory.
The takeaway from the Cruz victory is a simple lesson — anything that’s being done on the ground must be reflected digitally. In modern campaigns, your offline efforts are only reaching their full potential if they have active online components. With 955 million monthly active users on Facebook, there is arguably no larger, more organized or targetable database in which to reach voters, which Ted Cruz discovered while assembling his win. 
Use caution — not everyone who claims to be a social media consultant is a social media consultant. You must enlist a trusted team of digital experts, who know how these strategies work to activate and motivate your electorate.

Experience with social media may not be measured in walk sheets, door knocks or phone bank results, but experienced digital political operatives know how to translate online success into the traditional benchmarks campaigns are accustom to seeing. We measure victory in likes, shares, visits to your website, dollars raised, eyes on your issues pages and attendees at your rallies, just to name a few. 
Achieving online success isn’t formulaic or accomplished overnight, but the code can be cracked for your race, your campaign or your organization. Just like advertising dollars spent in the last 72 hours on television commercials or boxes of collateral purchased for your army of volunteers, a campaign’s commitment to digital and social media from the start is an absolute requirement for success.

Welcoming Another Member of the Team

It’s always an exciting day when we get to welcome a new member to the Campaign Solutions family. Recently, Guy Short became part of our team and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on board.

Guy brings a wealth of experience to Campaign Solutions – as a chief of staff on Capitol Hill, as a senior adviser and political director for a presidential campaign, and as a general consultant to scores of campaigns throughout the country. While he will call Colorado home base, Guy will also be frequently traveling not only to Washington, D.C. but throughout the country developing cutting-edge strategies for our political, non-profit, and corporate clients.

Campaign Solutions President and Founder Becki Donatelli perhaps said it best: “Guy is sure to add a ton of excitement, energy, and new ideas to a team that is seldom short of such things. Let’s just hope our clients are ready for all he has to offer!”

To learn more about Guy’s background and expertise, click here.

A Priceless Peer Review

Campaign Solutions is always proud of the work we do for our clients, but we’re doubly so when it’s recognized by our peers as the best in the business.

Last week, Campaign Solutions president Becki Donatelli traveled to Austin, Texas, to accept eight Pollie awards at the annual conference presented by the American Association of Political Consultants.

We were honored to win Pollies for a large cross-section of our client base, including recognition for our groundbreaking work in Iowa for Bachmann for President, Twitter advertising during presidential debates for Ending Spending, Facebook email acquisition for Media Research Center, and online fundraising for Americans United for Life, among others.

As an agency, our number one motivator is the success of our clients, but it’s always nice to get a pat on the back. And, we’ve gotten lots of them: Since 2009, we’ve been honored with 77 Pollie awards, more than any other Republican digital agency.

How can we partner with you to have a run at next year’s Pollies? Contact us, and let’s talk about building something great.