The gold standard method to research the impact of a program is the Randomized Control Trial (RCT). In essence, it allows us to disentangle the impact of our program from everything else going on to recruit and support candidates in a state. This is the same method medical research uses to prove drugs are effective. It works.
Contest Every Race runs RCTs in two dimensions, geography and individuals. In geographic control trials, we randomly choose half our target races or counties and leave them out of the program. In individual control trials, within our target races, we send texts to most, but not all, of the target individuals eligible to run for those races, while remaining silent to a significant share of individuals randomly chosen as a control group. We also conduct surveys to assess how much our texts improve perceptions of the local Democratic Party.
This kind of research method comes with some downsides – it reduces our program’s impact where we implement it, it’s expensive and time consuming, and it requires staff with statistical and experimental design experience. But the result is that we can say with confidence exactly what our impact was.