Individual Resources

Thinking of Seeking Public Office? Check out these free training resources from Women's Public Leadership Network.

Here are a few exercises to help you get started!

What’s Your ‘Why’?

Why do you want to hold public office? 

List the top three issues/challenges you plan to address in office.

Hint: These should be personal, related to an experience you’ve had, your education, and/or work experience.  Also, they should relate back to your community, district, state.

Identify the Role

Which Office Best Suits Your ‘Why’?

  • Boards/Commissions—Serve as one of a few focused on a particular issue area within a certain state or municipality. Members can have a lot of influence on issues that affect your community life, including local rules and regulations. These positions can be elected or appointed. Types of offices include the school board, parks and public lands commissions. 

  • Legislative—Serve as one of many in a deliberative body that design laws. A plurality or majority vote can pass a bill that may require a sister vote in a bicameral chamber (House, Senate) in order to be sent to the executive branch to be established into law. These positions require someone with patience, negotiating, and collaborative skills. If you like to see how the sausage gets made this office is right for you. Types of legislative offices include Congress, state legislature, and some county and city councils. 

  • Judicial—The interpreter of the law and adjudicator of disputes within a certain state, municipality, or regions. Should have a legal background and trial experience. Judgeships can be elected offices as well as appointed by the executive and legislative branches of government. 

  • Executive—The boss. The administrator for a locality with tremendous control over government functions. Types of offices include mayor, governor, and president. 

 

These types of roles can be found at every level of government. In addition to identifying what suits your "why" it's important to understand the time commitment and reach of each position. 

  • Local—These include City and County positions serving specific local communities, such as school board, mayor, city council, county commissioner, and others.

  • State—In a Statewide role, such as a state representative or governor, you may have the opportunity to interact with a variety of local and national leaders.

  • Federal—Most often, we think of positions like president or senator, but these also include roles like the Supreme Court and other elected and appointed roles in many areas of the federal government.

 

 

Your Stump Speech

Let’s develop your 30-second “stump speech!”  

Write out a brief script that includes the following elements:

  • Introduce yourself: your name, the position you seek, and a piece of your story

  • Include your reason for seeking office (here’s where you insert your three priorities!)

  • Finish with an ask for support (you can tailor the “ask” depending on your audience)

 

 

Develop Your Audience

Develop two lists - you have more people that can help than you think you do!

  1. Volunteers: The people on this list should be individuals that you can call on to help with a number of tasks, from helping with events to picking up supplies to organizing other volunteers.

  2. House List: This is the list of people commonly referred to as “low-hanging fruit.” These are your friends and family, those in your various personal and professional networks, who you can call for initial donations and/or to host a meet and greet for you.

 

 

Plan to the End

Do you have a path to victory?

This can be a scary question, but don’t worry, we aren’t expecting you to have your entire campaign strategy mapped out right now. However, you should have a general lay of the land and have an idea of where your support will come from. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have a base/potential base of supporters?

  2. Do you have a unique background to endear, inspire, and/or induce confidence with your constituents?

  3. Can you raise the initial funds needed? (We know this can be one of the most daunting aspects of a campaign but we have all the tips and tricks you need to get started and feel in control of your fundraising. Money is, of course, important, but it’s not everything.  Every race is different and so is the amount needed to raise.)

    1. Pledges vs. contributions

    2. You need to file before accepting contributions.  Here’s what you’ll need (insert link to fundraising page once completed):

      1. Treasurer

      2. Bank Account (as well as setting up an IRS EIN and P.O. Box)

      3. Campaign Name

      4. Be sure to note all your filing deadlines, information needed, contribution limits, and other requirements.

 

Interested in running for office or being appointed to a Board or Commission? We would love to hear from you!

Email info@sheholdsthekeyMI.org to connect with our team and hear about upcoming events.