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You want to run for public office. You've registered your name with your local Board of Elections. But now what do you do?

Listed below are five categories to help you get started in your campaign.

PLANNING
Primary preparation includes making a tentative list of the people who will help you, writing down ideas you want to incorporate, setting up a budget, and noting the persuasive tools you will use to help get your message across to the voter.

Next, name someone other than yourself or your spouse as a Campaign Manager and Treasurer. This sends out several messages to the public and to your opponent. It shows that you are organized. You have a committee. It confirms that you have support in the community.

STRATEGY
Take a look at your opponent. Find out all you can about him/her. Look for any strengths, weaknesses, and voting record, if your opponent is an incumbent. Most of your strategy will be developed as the campaign unfolds, but you do not want to be caught off guard. You never know how a background check can fit together in the overall picture.

If you are not already aware of the demographics of the area, you should familiarize yourself with them. This knowledge can help you in forming your platform as well as show your constituents that you are knowledgeable in the details of the area.

FUNDRAISING
Ideas for fundraisers range from expensive dinner parties to soup suppers. The important thing to keep in mind when conducting a fundraiser is that your main purpose is to raise money. Keep your fundraisers as cost effective as possible.

Ask for donations. Use your party’s Women’s Club, Central Committee, and the affiliated party clubs for help. Most people will not swiftly volunteer to help or to donate but they are usually willing to help if they are asked.

Conducting a letter-campaign to solicit funds is an option that has worked for numerous candidates. Send a Birthday letter requesting that a dollar per year be sent for your birthday. Or send out a general information letter about your platform to friends, neighbors and known political party contributors.

ADVERTISING
The sole purpose for advertising of any kind is to get your name out and keep it in front of the public.

Radio…The FCC and your Secretary of State regulates policy for radio advertising. Most Boards of Election have a booklet available to you that define these rules.

Cable TV…Cable advertising is a very cost effective way to reach the voters. It can target a specific geographical location so that your message is reaching the people you want to reach. This is a good medium to speak your message yourself (if you feel comfortable on camera).

Print…Think about the ads that appear in your local paper. Look at the ones that attract your attention. Remember the sole purpose of advertising is to keep your name in front of the voters. Do not clutter your ad with excessive mumbo-jumbo about your campaign promises. Direct mailings, debates or public forums are a better way to get detailed messages to the voters.

Yard Signs… Signs are like a subliminal message to the voters. They keep your name in front of the public. Therefore your name should be in the largest print possible. The most important thing you can remember about your signs is that they must be readable for a driving going down the highway at 55 miles per hour.

GRASSROOTS
Grassroots campaigning is nothing more than getting out and meeting the public. People want to know that you’ve worked hard to earn their vote and part of working hard is trying to make that personal contact. Going door to door in neighborhood is probably the most time consuming part of a campaign and yet it is probably the most important thing you can do. Contact people in different precincts and ask them to escort you around the neighborhood. Look to your party’s central committee for help in doing this. Contact the government teachers at the local high schools for students to help you with your campaign. Students typically receive extra credit for working on a campaign and the extra help is always needed, especially when you begin going door to door.

Attend socials, festivals, and community events. These events make it very easy for people to approach you on their level. Your attendance also shows that you support their events and their organizations. At the beginning of your campaign send a letter to everyone you knew asking them to keep you in mind throughout the year and to let you know if something is going on in their neighborhood or in their community.

There is no one ploy or strategy that will win the election for you. Campaigning is a total package of ideas,issues and promotions. Keep your idea simple, your message clear and be consistent in all you do and say.