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My previous article covered the risks which were realized through my campaign to become a councilor within Welland’s city council in the recent municipal elections. This one focuses on the lessons I learned through the project’s lifetime.

With the exception of two streets where I had a couple of kind volunteers drop off my campaign flyers, I did all the door-to-door canvassing myself. Next time, I would like to recruit at least a half-dozen volunteers whom I could educate on my platform well in advance of the start of canvassing and divide the ward territory between us. This will help me to be able to visit each and every residence within the ward (as opposed to the roughly one third which I visited this time). It would also provide the ability to visit residences a second time within a week of the election day to remind people to get out and vote.

My lawn signs had a lot of information beyond the mandated minimum requirement of the candidate’s name, ward and the role they were running for. I had included my campaign slogan as well as my campaign website URL. While this provided more information to pedestrian readers, the target audience for lawn signs is drivers and hence the excessive information and small typeface I’d used made my signs much less readable. While I’d hope that the city council approves a motion to update the by-laws to ban election lawns before 2026, if they continue to be used, I will stick with the minimum required content and rely on other means to share my campaign slogan and website such as my flyers.

I was too conservative in the number of door hangers (i.e. brochures which can be hung from a door handle or door knob) which I’d initially ordered and later reprinted. It would have been cheaper and more efficient to order enough at the start to cover all residences within the ward.

Finally, while I felt that a diversified advertising approach would work well which included ads and articles in both the local community newspaper as well as a large local online community, I received no data from either of the providers afterwards to assess the effectiveness of these tactics. The money I’d spent could have been used to buy more flyers and door hangers. Next time I will focus on spending my campaign budget on measures which primarily support my door-to-door campaign.

The biggest challenge will be addressing that realized risk of low voter turnout. As an individual candidate, I’m not sure that there’s much more which I could do beyond in-person and online education of my fellow residents about the importance of municipal government. An editorial article in today’s local newspaper indicated that when a different municipality expended significant effort on educating residents about the importance of municipal government and how easy it is to vote in the local election, their voter turnout decreased!

There are four years to go until the next municipal elections and should I choose to run again, I’ve learned a number of lessons which should make my campaign more effective.

(If you liked this article, why not pick up my book Easy in Theory, Difficult in Practice which contains 100 other lessons on project leadership? It’s available on  and on  as well as a number of other online book stores)

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