At The Riveter, we strive to break down barriers for women interested in entering elected politics, and to do so, we sought advice from the nation’s most diverse and non-partisan training organization, VoteRunLead.
Not familiar with VoteRunLead? It’s a national nonpartisan organization that unleashes the power of women leaders in democracy through training, technology and community. Having trained more than 33,000 women to run for office, VoteRunLead is the largest and most diverse campaign and leadership program in the country, and they have an impressive list of alumnae that includes Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, Illinois state Rep. Lauren Underwood and other leading candidates across the country.
Here are five steps to prepare you for your future run.
1. Be passionate and ready to work hard
If you’re considering a run for office, that likely means you’ve noticed something that you want to change about your community. The ability to enact change as an elected official is a form of power, and you have to be ready to work hard to prove to yourself and everyone else that you deserve to hold office. Once elected, you need to be willing to continually work toward making sure your voice represents the community that elected you.
2. Get support from your family and friends
You owe it to those closest to you to talk about what running for office might mean for them and your relationships. These conversations should be had early and in earnest. Your family and friends will be your biggest supporters moving forward, and communicating with them before, during and after the campaign will make you a stronger candidate.
“You are qualified, right now, and ready to run as you are.”-VoteRunLead
3. Be ready to raise money
There is a reason you feel as though you are the best person to run, and you need to be willing to give that speech to anyone and everyone. Raising money is no easy task, and no donation is too small. You have to be ready to ask everyone you know for money, and be able to give them a list of reasons why supporting you is the best way they could spend their money that day. Think about how fulfilling it feels to donate to a candidate you believe in. Channel that energy into fundraising, because now that candidate is you!
4. Become an expert
We recommend that you choose 2-4 issues that showcase your values and leadership style. Passion about these issues is important, but so is knowledge. Become an expert on these issues by reading one article a day on each topic in the weeks leading up to your campaign. Pro tip: Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, it’s best to understand the arguments on both sides of the aisle.
5. Get trained by VoteRunLead!
VoteRunLead trains women to run for office and win. We have over sixty free online resources and we host in-person trainings across the country. Learn from us about messaging, fundraising, voter contact and more. Most importantly, we train women to run as they are. You are qualified, right now, and ready to run as you are. Thinking about taking the plunge? VoteRunLead’s information-packed FAQ is a great place to get started.