So you’ve decided to make a run for office. As a veteran, the undertaking of a campaign holds a lot of clout and is widely regarded as a form of “second service”. With veteran representation in office dwindling, it’s important to keep a number of veterans in office in order to have their interests represented. The veteran worldview and perspective is often one ripe with experience and authority, which can transfer well into service in public office.
But taking on a campaign is challenging, and it can be overwhelming to figure out the best place to start. We’re here to help, and with the resources we provide veterans can define a path forward to have the most possible success on the campaign trail.
Whether you’re running for city council or mayor or if you’ve got your sights set on even bigger platforms, these resources are useful guides taken from the experience of other veteran candidates.
One of the most important steps to creating a successful campaign is the recruitment of support. After all, a campaign cannot run without proper support and expertise, so having the backing of friends, family members, and volunteers will go a long way to increase the manpower of your campaign and set you up for success in office.
The power of having a good support network and people to help out with various aspects of the campaign cannot be underestimated. It’s important to recruit both like-minded individuals who can get behind your platform as well as open thinkers who are able to challenge norms and find better ways of conveying a message. Steer clear of only recruiting those who agree with everything you say — there is balance in varied opinions, and a strong candidate understands that their way is not always the absolute.
If you’re working on a run for office, use the resources linked within this article that are designed to provide help on recruiting support to build yourself a strong ready to help take your campaign to the next level.
Recruiting the right volunteers takes some legwork, and a strong candidate should be willing to create an environment and a platform that people are willing to donate their time in order to support. Remember: volunteers are not free labor! While there will be many tasks that volunteers can assist with, their time should never be taken advantage of and their voices should always be heard.
Spend time crafting your message — talking to potential volunteers is a great way to “test” your platform and find out if you’re hitting on the right tone and message to attract people who want to help. If your message seems to be falling on deaf ears, perhaps this is a sign that either your campaign platform needs some tweaking, or your delivery does.
Talk to your friends and family, too. While it’s important to remember that no one is obligated to help you, often one of the best places to start in finding support is to recruit those closest to you. Once you’ve got some traction with recruitment, you can also take the opportunity to ask your current supporters to help with further recruitment.
Volunteer recruitment also comes down to marketing skills. A well-marketed campaign will have an easier time attracting supporters who want to be involved. Consider using social media to reach more people — and use the skills of someone adept at managing social media if you’re inexperienced.
While the decision to run for political office is not one to take lightly, we encourage veterans to consider pursuing this path as there is always a need for more veteran representation in office. Here are some early considerations if you’re considering running for office.