Campaign Solutions News

The 40 Under 40

Setting trends and being the first to break new ground is something members of the Campaign Solutions team have been doing for over seventeen years. Today, we’re happy to announce that team member Christian Curto has accomplished yet another “first” – being part of the American Association of Political Consultants’ inaugural “40 Under 40” class of talented and innovative young political professionals.

Christian Curto 40 Under 40“We are delighted to celebrate this influential and talented group of young professionals in the political business community,” said AAPC President Art Hackney. “They’re taking the reins and producing outstanding results. Congratulations to our inaugural Class of 2015!”

The award was presented this week during the annual AAPC Pollie Awards and Conference.

“I am honored to be one of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “40 Under 40″ Award recipients,” said Curto. “I am extremely thankful for this wonderful opportunity and the amazing people I work with at Campaign Solutions every day. Our team is one of the best in politics.”

Christian has been part of the award winning team working with some of our highest-profile campaigns and organizations, including John Bolton SuperPAC, Steve Daines for U.S. Senate, and GOPAC.

Congratulations Christian!

Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli Wins Reed Award for Best Online Display Advertising 2014

January 23rd, 2015, Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli won the 2014 Reed Award for Best Online Display Advertising in recognition of our work done for John Bolton Super PAC.

Ambassador Bolton had a simple goal — put national security at the center of the debate in 2014. We helped make it a reality through personality modeling and personal-driven message delivery.

The result: we were able to connect with voters in a way that had never been attempted before — crafting unique messages written specifically to connect with each individual on a deep level and delivering these messages with exacting precision to a pool of 2.1 million targeted voters.  

Independent research confirms a 76% lift from John Bolton’s targeted national security messages in key statewide races during the 2014 election.

We’re honored to have received a Reed award, but more importantly, we’re proud to have been part of achieving the Ambassador’s goal.

Our 2015 Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Finalist

We are proud to announce that Jason Johnson, our Creative Director, is a top 10 finalist in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest!
Vote For Jason http://bit.ly/17fJTGH
Jason’s work and influence has been central to our team of creative geniuses since 2006, and he always strives to scratch that creative itch in both work and play.

When Doritos announced their contest, he wondered, just how far would two kids go to get their hands on dad’s bag of nacho cheese Doritos?

Inspired by his kids and starring his own 8 & 7 year old, Jason spent a weekend filming “Trouble in the Back Seat,” AND he did it all with just a little help from his family of 8, a couple of neighbors, and $100.

Follow this link to watch http://bit.ly/17fJTGH AND REMEMBER, you can vote for it once each day on each device.

No Hollywood actors, or big production budgets…just a cute spot with a lot of heart. Vote early, vote often, and always vote for Jason Johnson.

Congrats Jason!

Mike Alm Joins Campaign Solutions

The Campaign Solutions team is proud to welcome political and fundraising strategist Mike Alm to our expanding team of 20 digital communications professionals.

“Mike brings a wealth of political experience to Campaign Solutions including a deep background in direct response fundraising,” notes firm President, Becki Donatelli. “His expertise will pay big dividends for our Republican candidates and advocacy clients. We are fortunate to have access to his talent.”

For over 15 years, Mike was a leader in the political consulting industry in direct response telemarketing, most recently as the Vice President of Political Services at Strategic Fundraising. Prior to that Mike was the Account Director at FLS Connect. Mike previously served as District Director and Campaign Manager for Congressman Gil Gutknecht (MN-01).

Mike’s resume reads like a “who’s who” of Republican politics and public affairs. His clients have included the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Congressman Michele Bachmann and nearly a dozen GOP State Parties including those in California, Texas, Florida and Michigan.

Guy Short, Campaign Solution’s Senior Vice President, adds: “Mike is one of the most talented political consultants I’ve ever worked with. He’s an innovator in fundraising and voter contact with a proven track record in some of the toughest races of the last decade.”

Mike earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He and his wife Tiffany and their two children (Lucas, 14 and Abbie, 13) reside in New Richmond, WI. When he’s not raising money and winning votes for our clients, Mike can also be found watching Minnesota Wild ice hockey and golf games.

Congratulations to Christian Curto, our newest Rising Star!

Many congratulations go out to Campaign Solutions team member Christian Curto, who has been honored as a Rising Star of Politics by Campaigns and Elections Magazine. As one of only 10 national GOP Rising Stars of Politics in the 2014 class, Christian joins 6 other Rising Star alumni from the Campaign Solutions/Connell Donatelli team.

At only 32 years old, Christian has worked with and advised campaigns, including two presidential campaigns, organizations, super PACs, and candidates at all levels. An accomplished campaign and voter outreach strategist, Christian works with our clients to integrate cutting-edge digital tools with traditional offline techniques.

Over the years, Christian has provided digital strategy to countless Campaign Solutions’ clients including Ambassador John Bolton, Congressman Steve Daines, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator John McCain, Colbert Super PAC, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Americans United for Life, GOPAC and Allen West Guardian Fund PAC.

Read the full write-up from C&E, click here.

Political Communications Experts Join Our Team

We’re proud to announce two new additions to the Campaign Solutions team. Recently, Camm Tyler and Matt Lenell joined our firm to bolster an award-winning team of political communications strategists.

Camm Tyler has a deep background in the political and legislative arenas. He served as the Communications Director for the Virginia House of Delegates’ Majority Leader Kirk Cox and successfully managed the re-election campaign of Virginia House Delegate Bobby Orrock. He has developed direct mail campaigns, databases, digital strategies, constituent outreach plans, and a wide array of print and digital media content for high stakes races and elected officials.

Becki Donatelli noted “Camm is an outstanding addition to our team. His experience in direct marketing and campaign management will pay big dividends for our clients. We’re very fortunate to have him.” In addition, Carter is thrilled to have another Virginia Tech Hokie on the staff!

During the 2012 election cycle, Matt Lenell traveled the country filming politicians, candidates, and causes during his tenure as an operations manager for a new media startup. Some of his clients have included Colorado State Senator Owen Hill, Red Rocks Church, COSCFund, and local Colorado band Calibrate Me.

“Matt Lenell is an exceptionally talented political consultant. His digital, videography, grassroots organizing, copywriting, and graphic design skills add even more depth to our team and offer a wide range of marketing services for our client,” said Donatelli.

Matt holds degrees in Communications and Political Science from Colorado Christian University, where he also served as affiliate faculty and assistant debate coach.

We are very excited to see what the rest of the cycle brings as we prepare for 2014! Want Camm and Matt to boost your digital campaign? Contact us now to get started working with Camm, Matt, and the rest of our team today!

Pairing of Online and Offline Efforts Yields Success for National Memorial Day Parade

By Megg Whelan & Garrett Marquis

Campaign Solutions recently partnered with Prism Strategy Group to add public relations strategy to our suite of services that are designed to provide our clients with online and offline tools to best achieve their goals.

One of our first joint ventures was the American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade and was a huge success. Our teams worked closely together to promote the parade and its online counterpart – Virtual Boots on the Ground – nationwide through email, online advertising, and earned media.

On the PR side, Prism rolled out its strategy in three phases over a one month period. The first phase focused on finding and pitching to the media the unique angles of the parade, especially how sequestration was impacting sponsorships and troop participation. The second phase featured parade elements such as the celebrities participating, the Virtual Boots on the Ground, and why the parade is a great way to honor America’s war heroes. The third phase was parade day—we ensured media featured the parade both on Memorial Day and the following day, including footage and interviews. Throughout the month preceding the event, we were able to generate both national and regional buzz. MSNBC, FOX News, Washington Post, CNN and other national outlets featured stories about the parade and several local affiliates in Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina and other states across the country. The parade was even mentioned in British news outlets!

Meanwhile, on the Internet side, Campaign Solutions played a critical role in saving the parade. In early April, we learned the American Veterans Center had lost a significant amount of sponsorship funding because of sequestration. As a result, they were faced with a difficult situation: either raise the additional funds in 72 hours or cut broadcasting the parade to troops deployed around the world from the parade budget. Our team went to work sending urgent emails to millions of Americans relaying the situation and the need to act immediately—and we were able to raise thousands of dollars to save the parade!

Once we knew the parade would go on as planned, we sent additional emails from radio host Laura Ingraham and actor Gary Sinise urging Americans to chip in money to cover the travel costs of active duty troops who wished to march in the parade and sign up for Virtual Boots on the Ground. We also used FaceBook advertising to create buzz in the social media world about the online component of the parade.

By coordinating our efforts, Campaign Solutions and our partner Prism Strategy Group were able to raise money and generate thousands of online signups to deliver a cohesive and effective digital presence for the National Memorial Day parade and help the American Veterans Center offer a great experience to veterans, active duty troops, and the patriots who came out to show their support and appreciation. We look forward to helping more clients coordinate online and offline efforts including syncing their message, amplifying their reach, and increasing brand awareness, to achieve all of their marketing goals.

Boston Marathon Tragedy Reminds Us Of Fundraising Best Practices

As online fundraisers, we often encourage our clients to keep their messaging relevant by paying close attention to the news cycle. If Congress is debating gun control, for example, then emails, Facebook posts, and tweets for that week should focus on, or at the very least mention, gun control. If major news breaks, we’re always prepared to be flexible and adjust our messaging accordingly.

But what happens when a national tragedy occurs?

Whether it’s a terror attack, a deadly explosion, a tornado leveling a town, or a tragic hurricane, the best practice is – in almost all cases – to halt all fundraising immediately.

First, in such a situation your message isn’t going to break through the clutter of what can feel like endless news coverage. More importantly, you do not want to appear out-of-touch, ignorant, or worse, insensitive. As we’ve had to pause fundraising for campaigns and organizations many times during tragic events—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Newtown shooting, and of course, last month’s Boston terror attack come to mind instantly—we know what the repercussions are going to be. Fundraising can dry up for days, and in some cases even weeks, and the unlucky candidate caught trying to raise money or conducting business as usual during this time can face unexpected and unfortunate consequences for doing such.

At the end of the day, Americans forget their differences and stand united during times of need. Even if a tragedy occurs in a city like Boston, Americans in places like Seattle, Los Angeles, and Juneau likely aren’t going to respond favorably to any messaging that takes the focus away from the victims and survivors of a tragedy. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for when unfortunate and sad situations occur—including having the ability to stop scheduled messages from deploying and even pausing all communications—at least until you have time to assess the gravity of the situation and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

A New Mobile App for the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Several months ago, we were approached by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (or FAIR) to design and develop a new iPhone and Android app. Having worked with the FAIR team before on several innovative social media and advertising projects, we were very excited to work with them again on a mobile app.

The goal was simple: knowing the national debate over immigration reform was likely to begin during the first half of 2013, FAIR wanted their latest news, information, and detailed reporting on immigration policy to be literally in the hands of supporters, media, and undecided voters. With that in mind, our team started sketching ideas and putting thoughts down on paper.

After initial sketches and wireframes, the final app featured push notifications of recent updates, top action alerts and news stories, and a simple way for new supporters to sign up to help FAIR and receive daily immigration email alerts. Straightforward functionality and a streamlined design helped to check all the boxes of what the FAIR team wanted out of their first mobile app.

We’re proud of the work done on the FAIR iPhone and Android apps and are incredibly happy the great team at FAIR is using the app to push their work and message to supporters in such an innovative way.

You can download the Federation for Immigration Reform’s mobiles apps for iOS and Android.

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.