Running for office especially for the first time can be quite the uphill task. Many citizens believe that given a chance, they would do a much better job than the person currently holding office. This is at times true and at times not. However, true or not, there are several things a person seeking to challenge an incumbent should consider before and when doing so. Let us take a look at the ten most important considerations;
A reason and a theme
You will need a very clear and precise reason why you are running for office and from this a theme for your campaign. Most candidates simply feel that they would be much better suited to hold the particular office due to their experience, views, affiliations or other factors. However, this is often not enough to oust an incumbent (90% of whom get re-elected). You must define the motivation to lure voters to your side. From your reason, you will then have a theme which is basically the main message that your campaign will be communicating to the people.
Running for the right office
This one couldn’t be said any louder. Choosing the right office to run office simply means being on the right race and not one that might turn out too big for you. The questions you will need to ask include; who will be your competitors? How popular is the incumbent? How well known in the entire geographical region you are running for? How much money will you require to run for the office? Answering these questions gives you the right perspective on your candidacy.
First time runners for office have a deep-set fear that something will go wrong with a certain part of their campaign. This makes the candidates feel like they need to have a say on pretty much every aspect of the campaign. However, this often makes matters worse since they end up being bad at all the decisions. Ensure that you choose a campaign team composed of people you can fully trust and you would then be left with only the main activities of the campaign, raising funds and engaging with the voters.
Experience is king
Yes, it really is. Politics, politicians and political offices have been with us for a very long time and the strategy you want to apply has probably been tried by someone else at a point in time. While you may not be able to assemble a team of seasoned veterans in matters campaign, ensure that you make use of professional fundraisers, lawyers, consultants and the likes. You will probably not invent something that hasn’t yet been tried the first time you run for office.
Understand the numbers
Campaigns involve a lot of numbers. These include the registered voters, prime voters, the number required to win, the distribution by race and age amongst many more. You will need to be fully aware of the votes you require to win a certain office and how these are distributed. Understanding the numbers will help you streamline the strategies you will have put in place for your campaign.
Embrace social media
This does not mean setting up a basic Facebook page going by your name. It means mobilizing and engaging a large online community that will be in line with your policies and objectives. You are probably thinking of engaging the young people who spend countless hours on twitter and Facebook, won’t work. You will require a professional marketing consultant with sufficient skills in online marketing.
Be where the people are
Most candidates often let their ego get the better of them and delegate most of the campaign duties to members of the team. However, it is advisable to print out and personally distribute several thousand business cards to the people in the area you will run for. This will ensure that you meet and engage on a personal level with potential voters, understand what they seek and have a way of convincing them why you are the right candidate for the office.
Know the right people
Depending on the office you will be running for, there are several people you will need to know in order or you to succeed. You will need a list of at least forty of these and then make deliberate effort to know each of them. These include community leaders, union heads, celebrities, former office holders and current office holders among others.
Understand your team
You need to fully understand how the team you’ve chosen functions. Who handles communication? Who has volunteered? Who is in charge of the networks? Who is contributing the money? Understanding this will reduce the potential mistakes that uncoordinated teams make.
Work as hard as you possibly can
Running for office is a real daunting task. For the entire campaign period, work as hard as you possibly can on all fronts. Something you do may just get you the extra votes you require to get into office.