FIRST BUDGET

The Iowa caucuses provide issue activists a unique opportunity to gain national attention for their agendas. As the first caucus of the presidential primary season, the nation looks to Iowa every four years to highlight important social, political, and economic issues.

Leading up to the 2016 Iowa caucus, a number of issue advocacy groups were established in the state to engage presidential candidates on particular issues. First Budget, a nonpartisan initiative to raise awareness of national fiscal challenges, sought to leverage Iowa’s visibility during caucus season by building a robust team of grassroots and grasstops in the state. First Budget wanted to press presidential candidates on fiscal responsibility and prioritizing the federal debt in primary campaigns, and they looked to LS2group to help them achieve their goals.

Between coalition member meetings with candidates’ staff and volunteers wearing First Budget T-shirts when talking to candidates at events, many top-tier candidates recognized and supported the First Budget campaign throughout the race. Through editorial boards, one-on-one meetings with reporters and members of the media, and a continual flow of letters to the editor and opinion editorials, First Budget received prominent media attention throughout the months leading up to the caucus.

The organization also invited a number of national advocates to come to Iowa on behalf of the campaign to discuss the federal debt and a wide range of events, including partnering with local chambers of commerce, newspapers, universities, corporations, and more, which helped add to the coalition and gain positive media traction.

First Budget was able to build a large coalition of support because of the recruitment processes, meetings, and earned media efforts early in the caucus process. As a result, First Budget became an easily recognizable issue advocacy group by the beginning of the Iowa Caucus.