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Running for office isn't the easiest thing to do, but I will break it down into 7 easy steps.
1. Give it some thought, make sure you are ready to run.
Before you run for office, it is a good idea to have a backup plan. If your campaign fails you don't want to be sleeping on the street, so make sure you have a good job to go back to, also make sure that you want to commit the time and energy required to run a campaign. Research the position you want to run for, the duties and responsibilities, and challenges you may face.
2. Budgeting is important.
Firstly, take a look at your personal assets, income, etc. Make sure you have enough money to run a decent campaign. Even small campaigns can rack up costs, time off work, signs, banners, posters, radio time, etc. Contact your local political party that you identify with, or run independent, to see if they have any funds available for your campaign.
This is also a good stage in which to get your team together, a small campaign can be done with one person, granted there will be a lot more work involved, but a larger campaign will require a team. Look towards friends and family first if you're strapped for cash, get someone to run your social media, buy your posters, and schedule your events, among other things. A good team is essential to a good campaign.
Fundraising is great because it plays two roles, getting you the money that it will take to run your campaign, and spreads your campaign by word of mouth. Fundraising is important, but start small, contact friends and family asking for donations to the campaign.
Try to gather information from your local political party, mailing lists, phone numbers, and emails, start contacting people and don't be ashamed to ask for money. If your fundraising doesn't go well, you are at an extreme disadvantage for the rest of the campaign, so make sure you do everything you can to get as many donations as possible.
4. Pay the fee for candidacy or get ready to walk.
Depending on the office you run for, the cost to register can be higher or lower, same as the number of signatures required. Make sure you're ready to start talking to people, have a platform in mind, changes you would make and your personal beliefs. This is where your people skills will first be tested, if you can't convince enough people to sign a petition for you, or can't afford the fee, you probably aren't meant to run.
5. Announce your candidacy.
When you announce your candidacy, make sure you have as much publicity as possible. Even if you're going for a small position, get on the local news, be in the newspaper, get the word out any way you can. Announcing your candidacy is important, it gives the people who will vote a good or bad first impression of you. Be prepared to have opening statements and a basic platform. Make sure you address issues you plan to solve and a general action plan.
For more tips on announcing your candidacy, I recommend checking out Political Campaigning Tips (http://www.politicalcampaigningtips.com/how-to-announce-your-candidacy-and-why-to-launch-before-youre-ready/).
6. Campaign, campaign, campaign.
Arguably the most important part of running, besides maybe actually starting, campaigning is how you will win an election. In order to garner votes commit to every avenue you can afford or think of, and don't be afraid to do a little legwork.
There are many ways to campaign, the most effective being advertisement and public appearances, however, going door to door is a tried and true message of reaching out to your community, hearing their problems, and helping build your central message. In order to be an effective campaigner, you're going to need to be charismatic, smile, have a good handshake, and be able to actively listen to your constituents.
The light at the end of the tunnel, victory. If you have a good message, built a good team, communicated with your constituents, and fundraised well enough, then victory shouldn't be hard. Once you've won the election, there could be paperwork involved before you start. Good luck in your new position, and congratulations.