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And, we’re off (at last)

16 April 2019 at 7:30 am
Jo Scard
With the election campaign in full swing, Fifty Acres founder and chief executive officer Jo Scard looks ahead to what not for profits should be doing post election.

Jo Scard | 16 April 2019 at 7:30 am


And, we’re off (at last)
16 April 2019 at 7:30 am

With the election campaign in full swing, Fifty Acres founder and chief executive officer Jo Scard looks ahead to what not for profits should be doing post election.

Not sure how you’re all feeling, but now we’re here it isn’t nearly so exciting as the getting there bit. Though, I must say that I’m a bit of an election nerd (terrible admission).

It’s a bit like contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton’s book, The Art of Travel (have you read it?). Few things are as exciting as the idea of travelling somewhere else – but the reality of travel almost never matches our daydreams. With the election we all desperately wanted to know “are we there yet?” but the anticipation and jostling was a better spectacle than the arrival.

And why is that?

Elections are formulaic. The main party leaders have tight schedules, scripted lines, organised well in advance events and visits, and funding and policy announcements that have been road-tested and refined in focus groups. It’s the nature of modern-day elections and there’s a logic to it – they have the technology to do it and spontaneity often spells disaster on the hustings.

All that said, we will see unscripted moments of sadness and joy – Trish standing up at a Bill Shorten town hall gathering to say that breast cancer will soon take her life but that she’s grateful for Labor’s cancer announcement which will mean her family won’t be out-of-pocket. Or Scott and Jennifer Morrison’s pure joy at bearing witness to Winx’s last race at Flemington over the weekend. Or the lovely response Morrison got when he was the caller at a bingo hall in his own electorate. We often forget that politicians are humans too.

So now we’re in full flight, what’s to do until 18 May.

If you haven’t read it have a look at the story in Monday’s SMH and The Age about the role GetUp is playing in the campaign. By raising important issues in marginal electorates GetUp ensures that they are discussed and those marginal candidates are held to account. That’s something you can do too if you haven’t already – pick a few marginal seats and ask them to respond to a questionnaire, then use their responses in your media outreach. It’s an oldie but a goody, and the input that you can have right now shouldn’t be underestimated.

But, by far the best thing to be doing, if you’re not otherwise distracted by running an election-related campaign, is to be looking ahead to post-election.

Here’s a list of what to do:

  • It is so important to keep your campaign going post-election, building on your great work and successes, however big or small. Make sure there is continuity!
  • Post-election is where your planning comes into its own.
  • Look back and review your plan and reassess if needed, based on who has won the election and who is in the new ministerial lineup?
  • Develop a new plan with some really coherent thinking about what you and your organisation or NFPs might need from the new government.
  • Pick back up conversations with those that you engaged with initially.
  • Get ready to write congratulation emails or hand write a card from your supporters.
  • Develop potential policy positions around different scenarios and develop messaging, targets and a timetable of activities for post-election – it will really help to be organised in advance.
  • Define what a post-election campaign success looks like for your organisation and work out what you need to do to get there.

To help focus your post-election efforts I will be holding a series of half-day face-to-face Fifty Acres Academy workshops all over the country in May and June.

The workshops will help not for profits and for-good businesses and organisations frame your post-election action by guiding you through the steps needed to develop an end-to-end government engagement strategy for success in 2019 and beyond.

More information about the post-election workshops here:

If you want help to navigate the political landscape, or come up with a winning engagement or strategic communications strategy, get in touch with Jo Scard at Fifty Acres on 02 6281 7350 or visit

Jo Scard  |  @ProBonoNews

Jo Scard is the founder and managing director of Fifty Acres.

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