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The page below is an old version of my Business Plan for a New Political Party. Due to popular demand, I have updated the Plan considerably and put it into Kindle Format. You can buy it here.

Yes, it costs a bit of money. But the return on investment is enormous if you are serious about starting a political party.

Are you serious?

Minimizing Overhead Costs

OK, so does our proposed new party need a Washington DC office with several paid staff members to function?

To answer that question, let us ask what the Libertarian Party has done with its national office, and whether these functions are necessary for a startup party. Here is my (probably incomplete) list:

  1. Raises money to pay for staff and office.
  2. Puts out press releases which sometimes are acted on.
  3. Networks with related groups.
  4. Maintains a national web site.
  5. Publishes a national newspaper.
  6. Maintains a membership database.
  7. Supports ballot access efforts.
  8. Handles governance matters with many state parties.
  9. Contracts out national conventions.
  10. Promotes presidential candidate.
  11. Maintains a company store for propaganda.
  12. Teaches classes on organizing and campaigning.
  13. Runs Candidate Tracker
  14. Buys some web ads.
  15. Buys other advertising (rarely!).
  16. Does direct mail outreach.
  17. Recruits candidates.
  18. Reports to the FEC.
  19. Hosts national committee meetings

A small party that attempts to run on volunteer efforts can obviously do away with 1. I think in this Internet age that 5 is also optional. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 are not always done by the LPís national office. According to this plan, 2, 7, and 10 are not to be done in the early stages.

This leaves us with 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 18 and 19. I have personally maintained web sites and membership databases as well as run a propaganda store in my own spare time. I have networked with other local groups, and I know many other Libertarian volunteers who have also networked with other groups on their own nickel, including national groups. Tony Oneka has handled the FEC reporting for the Libertarian Reform PAC on his own time. The Libertarian Reform PAC has purchased web ad and print ads as a purely volunteer supported organization. There are off the shelf solutions at places like CompleteCampaigns.com which may well be adequate for simplifying the FEC and database work.

What remains is hosting conventions and handling governance matters. Conventions can be contracted out. The earliest conventions can be very small. Unlike the LP, I do not think putting on grand conventions as a show of credibility is smart. Conventions should be for handling party governance matters. National committee meetings are also small and mostly funded by the attendees. A new party might opt for a smaller committee with fewer in person meetings.

Now, despite what I said above, I am not prepared to run a political party with as small a crew of volunteers as we had for the Libertarian Reform Caucus. But, I donít think a small army is needed either. Neither do we necessarily need paid staff.

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Starting from Scratch
The Low Hanging Fruit
Dedication
Finding the Early Adopters
Name and Theme
A Local Agenda
Geographic Focus
Holding Things Together
Minimizing Overhead Costs
So, is Bootstrapping Possible?
My Plans to Date
Why Third Political Parties Fail
The Constraints Third Parties must Obey to Succeed
A Strategic Framework for Third Political Parties
Lessons Learned in the Libertarian Party