Get Political! The Art of Political Volunteering

The Art of Political Volunteering
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Fall means many things. Pumpkin lattes are back at Starbucks, you can finally wear your new boots, and…election season. About the time you pull on your favorite old fall sweater, political volunteers come out of the woodwork, working to convince others to support a candidate or a cause. And if you’re a political-minded soul with a passion for public policy, you may want to try your hand at political volunteering, too. Sure, it may mean some door-to-door knocking, but you might also work a booth at a community event, hand out flyers or even snag signatures outside a favorite store.

Glamorous? Maybe not. Energizing? Totally! It’s a great way to dip your toe into the world of politics and make your voice heard, especially if you’re not quite old enough to speak with your vote. If you want to get in on the action, here are some things you can do:

Research the Candidates and Issues. Admit it. Nobody likes hearing people talk politics if they don’t know the facts behind the spiel. So before you start volunteering, do your homework and learn about the different candidates (local, state or national) and what they stand for. Read up on the key propositions on the ballot and choose the candidate(s) and/or issues that most speak to you. You’ll be a much more effective campaigner if you really believe in what you’re working towards!

Work the Social Media Angle. If the thought of going door-to-door made you cringe even when you had to sell Girl Scout cookies, consider supporting your cause online. Tweet, Facebook or blog the facts about your particular political passion—or simply use social media to encourage your community to get out and vote.

Make Contact. Call, email or drop by the campaign headquarters of the candidate you want to support. Let them know you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get busy helping them win! And while you’re there, score some stickers or pins to give your backpack some political flair.

Be Willing To Do (Mostly) Anything. Political volunteering often involves lots of “grunt work,” which might include things like stuffing envelopes, handing out flyers and making call after call (often to people who are less than thrilled to hear from you). They might even be kinda rude. But these tasks are a crucial part of any successful political campaign, and a great resume-builder to boot. Have a sense of humor, a positive attitude and stick with it! And speaking of a positive attitude…

Keep a Positive Attitude and Lots of Endurance. So here’s the thing…your candidate or cause may or may not win. When the news on the frontlines isn’t encouraging, it can totally dampen your spirits. Be ready to fight the good fight, and stay hopeful about your candidate and/or cause until the very last ballot is counted.

To get the scoop on candidates up for election in your area, visit C-Span to get started.

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