Before You Run: 6 Things Every Candidate Should Accomplish Before Announcing Their Campaign

Before You Run: 6 Things Every Candidate Should Accomplish Before Announcing Their Campaign

By Whitney Michael

So you’ve decided to run for public office… Do you think you’re ready? Use our checklist to make sure all your ducks are in a row and you can start talking to voters with confidence.

  1. Filing Requirements
    • Documents and deadlines don’t sound fun, but messing this step up will make the rest of this article moot. Each state is different, so do your reading on your Secretary of State or Elections Commission websites and consult with the county clerk to make sure you are aware of all documentation you need to submit.
    • If you need signatures to get on the ballot, always get more signatures than you need. Way more. One of the worst feelings is turning in just enough signatures to meet the minimum requirement, only to find out several have been disqualified because the signer completed the document incorrectly or incompletely. It’s important to cover your bases above and beyond.
  2. Finance Laws
    • Every state is different and this is one area you cannot afford to compromise. Research your local and state finance laws to make sure you and your donors stay above board in every way. One way to ensure you’re making the right moves is to ask an experienced campaign treasurer to join your team and help handle the accounts and filing.
  3. Issues and Why You’re Running
    • Every candidate should have an articulated list of reasons why they’re running and why they’re a good fit for the job. It’s not enough to be against something (although that’s a great start), you need at least two or three things you want to accomplish. Have them written down and formulate your stump speech around them so when people ask, you have an answer.
    • You may have a few issues that already spring to mind, but the next step is to figure out what matters to your community. You will never be everyone’s perfect candidate, but you will appeal to more voters if you listen to the needs of the community you want to serve. While you may want to dive head first into funding a new library, your neighbors might tell you they want roads repaved first.
  4. Branding
    • Get your logo sorted out as quickly as possible. Before you can do any advertising, door knocking, facebook page building, you need to have a logo that looks good and represents your campaign well. If you’re working with Victory, we make sure your logo is designed to look good on signs, T-shirts, stickers, and integrates flawlessly with your mail and web.
    • Branding should be unique and authentic to who you are. Don’t try to imitate anyone else’s logo and don’t be afraid to try unique colors. While red, white, and blue are perennial favorites, choosing something different can help you stand out.
  5. Fundraising Goals
    • While a state representative raises more than a county commissioner, their strategies should be the same. Set your goal at the beginning and hustle to fill it as quickly as you can. Call people every week and set meetings with donors as soon as you’re ready to take donations. If you’re focusing on grass roots support, make sure you make it as easy as possible to give by opening online donation portals if possible and mailing out donation envelopes.
    • Remember that your campaign only gets off the ground when your fundraising does.
  6. Staff
    • You may not need a twenty people on the payroll, but you need a few, trusted people you can count on to help you across the finish line. Whether that looks like hiring a consultant, a campaign manager, or having a few, loyal volunteers who are always willing to pitch in, make sure you have people to call during a crisis.
    • Every candidate needs at least one right-hand man or woman. Whether it’s your partner, a willing volunteer from a local party affiliation or an old friend, make sure you have at least one person in your corner who will give you perspective on your race and advise you on tough decisions.
    • After that, you may want to consider a communications director, a political director, regional and field operatives, volunteer coordinators, events coordinator, and extra staff for organizing and managing day to day campaign needs. As the candidate, your job is to raise money and talk to voters. Delegate as much as you can in order to do your job more effectively.

At Victory, our experienced consultants and staff are ready to help you get your campaign off the ground. Running for office doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you have a pro in your corner. Give us a call and mention this article for 10% off your first purchase!

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