By Kathy Groob – More women than ever are filing to run for public office in 2017 and 2018. Your opponent is already working to build support and raise money. Are you?. Primaries are upon us and filing deadlines are nearing in many states. Here is what you need to be doing now to get ready to run.
What should you be doing now if you want to run for office in 2017?
1. Identify your base
Where you will you gain most of your support? What and who are the constituent groups, industry base, geographic supporters that are most likely to engage in your race? Reach out to them now, begin organizing a base of support that will be the bedrock of your campaign from day one.
2. Create a fundraising plan
It’s no different than developing a budget–how much money will you need to win? How much are you will to self-fund or put in for seed money? Identify your top supporters who will have the ability to help you raise money. Make a list of potential fundraisers, bundlers and PACs. Line them up now to be on your finance committee. Don’t just wing it—-this is the make or break part.
3. Make a list and meet with movers and shakers
Identify now the movers and shakers in your community, district, state. Who are those that wield influence and power in the circles you need? Make a list, identify all you can and start having one-on-one meetings over coffee or lunch with those power players. Even if they won’t commit to you now, they might down the road. Be the first candidate to reach out to them.
4. Prepare yourself
Take a class, hire a coach–whatever you have to do to polish up your personal skills. Public speaking is critical to political success, and practice makes perfect. Work on your networking and introduction skills, practice working a room and engage with people you do not know. Some candidates fail at this part–voters have to like you first and first impressions do matter!
5. Find the balance
You are about to give up your personal life for an entire year. Make a plan for dealing with personal and professional responsibilities. Ask for help from your spouse, children, family and friends. You can’t do it all, and something has to give. Have a heart-to-heart with those closest to you about your demanding 2016 schedule. Make sure they understand the sacrifice that will be asked of all in order for your to succeed.
And one other thing—buy all the domains you might want with your name before your opponent does!
Kathy Groob is founder of ElectWomen and a winning political strategist and business consultant; a partner with November Strategies. Visit her website for more information.