How to work with campaigns
How you can support candidates that support your issues
It is far easier to inform elected officials about the
importance of your issue if candidates who share your concerns get
elected. Helping your legislative champion get re-elected is an
important way to show your appreciation and your support.
The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because
it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.
-- Thomas Edison
Having said that, campaigns are unusual organizations. They have
short lives and are re-created every two years. Most of the staff, if
not all, are volunteers like you. Many have never worked on a campaign
before. Campaigns are not always perfectly organized. Don't get
frustrated, understand that everyone else is helping out just as you
are. Relax, the only goal of a campaign is to get good candidates
You can support candidates and their campaigns in many ways - at
least one will fit your resources and your political comfort level.
- First, VOTE. It is critical that you vote to support
candidates that support your issue. Recent elections have made clear
the importance of every vote. Voting is particularly important in
low turn-out elections, such as primaries, special elections and
municipal elections. If you are not registered or not sure who your
candidates are, go to the Connecticut League of Women Voters site http://www.lwvct.org.
- Talk to candidates about your issue. You can do this
passively by waiting for them to contact you - either knock on your
door, come to a community meeting you attend, or greet you at the
supermarket. Or you can contact them by email at Democracy Net http://www.dnet.org.
You can call them directly to ask their position on your issue. Your
local Registrar of Voters can give you contact information.
- Spread your message. Talk to your neighbors, friends,
family, whoever about the election and the importance of your issue
and/or your candidate. Agree to have a candidate's lawn sign in your
yard, wear their button around town on your errands.
- Volunteer your time. Campaigns run on volunteers and
candidates really appreciate your help. No experience or special
skills are needed. Typical jobs include stuffing envelopes, making
phone calls, dropping literature in doorways, and placing lawn
signs. There are dozens of jobs from running the whole thing
(campaign manager) to picking up the pizza.
- Write a check or provide in-kind support. Candidates need
money to run, and most HATE fundraising. Your help in one of their
least favorite jobs will be appreciated. Campaigns are becoming more
and more costly. Any amount is significant. Money is needed for
mailings, ads, lawn signs, polling, etc. You can also offer gifts of
food, copying, lend a FAX machine, furniture, allow the use of
phones for phone banking, or ad space in a publication. There are
hundreds of ways to be supportive.
The Proper Care and Feeding of a
Legislators - Who are They?
Navigating the Legislative Process
How to work with a lobbyist
Collaborations and Coalitions
Changing Public Opinion
Electoral Advocacy Toolkit for Nonprofits from Voices for America's
Children (formerly the National Association of Child Advocates)
To find and communicate with your candidates during campaign season,
go to http://www.dnet.org/
Connecticut League of Women Voters http://www.lwvct.org
Connecticut League of
Women Voters' Guide to Voter Registration
"A Guide to Organizing Community Forums" www.communitycatalyst.org/acrobat/Community_Forums.pdf
Voter registration toolkit -
Policymakers owe their jobs to the voters. Make sure that you and your
clients are registered and vote. Get the tools to help you and your
clients register to vote with contact information for their local CT
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