Running for Office With Disabilities: Tips for Building a Winning Campaign
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Article by Karyn Winrich
As a person with disabilities, you have faced many obstacles throughout your life and have a point of view that many would find valuable. If you have thought of running for office, you need to ensure you have the credentials, the tools to build your campaign and a team to bring it all together. Learn more with these tips from Real Votes – Real People.
Focus on Your Credentials
As a person with disabilities, you provide a perspective many candidates and public officials cannot give. In the U.S., most minorities have minimal representation. When leaders with disabilities enter public office, they gain the ability to open doors for others and can teach society how to build a more accessible environment for all people.
When it comes to running for office, research shows that people want a candidate who has skills in leadership, such as working with the public or communicating through different media avenues. Voters regard people who exhibit reliability and trustworthiness to be important when deciding on who to vote for.
Build Your Campaign
To build your campaign, start by getting to know your community. When running for office, you have to do a lot of groundwork, and it helps if you understand the needs of your neighbors. Increase your visibility within the community. Do plenty of research about your side and the opposition. It is important to do self-research to ensure that you have no publicly available negative information the opposition may find.
You will also need to hire a few key staff members to make your campaign work. You have a number of solutions for this hiring situation, including managing the recruiting and hiring yourself, enlisting the help of a hiring agency, or working with a talent scout. The benefit of using a talent scout is that you don’t have to pay them a full time contract, and they can recruit from all over the world. They find the best candidates, and you screen and hire.
Once you’ve decided how to go about your hiring process, look for a finance director first to help you raise money for the campaign. Without funding, there is no campaign. Next, you need a campaign manager, as well as research directors who can handle all matters of research. If you have a small campaign, you may assign these duties to one person rather than a team.
Simplify Paying Staff
Managing your payroll is one of the most important aspects of any political campaign. It ensures that staff are paid on time and that taxes and other deductions are properly accounted for. Payroll software can automate many of the tasks associated with payroll, including tracking employee hours, calculating paychecks, and preparing tax forms. In addition, payroll software can help to streamline the onboarding process for new employees. By using payroll software, your campaign can save valuable time and resources. Perhaps more importantly, it can also help to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
Give Your Campaign Life
According to the experts, to bring your campaign to life, you need to recruit volunteers. To recruit volunteers, start with your friends and family. Use your network to find others interested in your cause. Keep an active and direct voice when talking to volunteers. When you need help, be specific. Make connections with your volunteers to encourage relationships and loyalty. Seek out other people with disabilities, as you may be more united in this common cause.
To keep your volunteers connected, consider having a running list of tasks everyone has access to. Some volunteers may require training to be more personable or professional.
Connecting with your community is easier nowadays with social media. However, while online platforms can help you get to know people within your community, they also have negative aspects. Be careful not to interact with those who only want to entice you into expressing anger. Cover your campaigns and events on social media and use live videos to connect and speak with your constituents.
As anyone who has run for office knows, networking is essential to a successful campaign. You need to connect with as many potential voters as possible, and you need to convince them to support you. But how do you go about networking for your political campaign? First of all, it’s important to identify your target audience. Who are the people you want to reach?
Once you know who your target audience is, you need to find out where they congregate. Are there certain meetups or events that they attend? Once you’ve identified where your target audience congregates, the next step is to start attending those events and meeting as many people as possible. Attend trade shows, conventions, and conferences related to your campaign platform. Get involved in community organizations and activities.
People with disabilities have unique credentials for serving in a public office. Do not be afraid to better yourself for the sake of your constituents. When running for office, you need to open yourself up to learn new things, hire the right help to breathe life into your campaign, network, find volunteers, and pay your staff on time.