Updated: Aug 4
Guest blogger, Ed Carter from Able Futures would like to share some thoughts and tips for all those considering running for public office.
If you've been an ongoing advocate for people with disabilities, you may be wondering how you can spread your message in the community and beyond. While volunteering and committing to local organizations is great, perhaps you're wanting to kick it up a notch to affect serious change by running for office. If you're ready to affect some serious change, here are some tips to help guide you in running for office.
You Can Reduce Campaign Stress With the Right Team
Before you launch your official campaign and start reaching for your political dreams, you need to assemble your dream team. While a political campaign team can consist of many people fulfilling many different roles, the size of your team will depend on the type of office you are interested in filling. For smaller, local offices you may be able to run your campaign with a bare bones staff, which at the very least should include a campaign manager. This person will coordinate all aspects of your campaign and can help you strategize to improve your chances of winning. Your campaign manager can advise you as to which other positions should be filled, but it can also help to have the right freelancers by your side. For example, a copy writer can help you draft compelling speeches and press releases, and you can find writers through online job boards.
You Can Enhance Your Campaign With Free Trainings
While a campaign manager can provide the guidance you need to win and avoid stress, it can also help to have the right training for yourself. Running for office takes a certain level of understanding when it comes to the political landscape, and this can be difficult to ascertain on your own. For instance, if you do not understand the importance of canvassing and making phone calls, you may be less likely to get the votes you need to beat out the competition. You can find information on how to run a campaign and get elected online, but you can also find more specific training. Many political and advocacy organizations provide free training to would-be political candidates, so you just need to find training that fits your values and needs.
You Can Easily Improve Your Public Speaking Abilities
Does the thought of speaking in public give you anxiety? Well, making speeches and talking with large groups is all part of running for office. So you have to find ways to relieve your anxiety and boost your public speaking skills. Luckily, enhancing your speaking skills can be as simple as recording your practice and public speeches so that you can review them for improvements. Sit down and watch these recordings with your campaign manager for maximum effectiveness, and really listen to any pointers he/she has for you. If you plan on enrolling in one of the candidate trainings mentioned above, you may also receive some pointers for improving your campaign speeches. If not, or if you want to further polish your public speaking abilities for the campaign trail, know that there may be more specific speech training programs available online.
You Can Find Work-Life Balance as a Public Servant
If you use the resources and suggestions above, you can increase your odds of being elected to a public office. Being in the public eye will give you the platform you need to advocate for people who are living with disabilities, as well as other causes in your community. With that elevated platform can also come some elevated pressures to work harder than you ever have before. People tend to expect public servants and elected officials to stay connected to their positions and the community 24/7, but doing so can cause you to burn out quickly. So Instead of focusing on work-life balance, which can be difficult to achieve in public service, spend some time identifying what is most important in your public service career and the rest of your life.
Holding an elected office is a powerful way to advocate for people with disabilities, as well as others in your community. So get out there and be the change you wish to see in the world!