Are You Thinking About Running for Office? Questions to Consider

If you’re considering running for office, it’s essential to take the time to assess your readiness and evaluate your motivations. Answering these questions for yourself at the start can give you the best chance to embark on a transformative journey in public service. Embrace the excitement that comes with this prospect, as it offers a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on your community. Remember, running for office is a significant responsibility, but it’s also a platform to advocate for social justice and effect meaningful change. In this blog post, we’ll explore key considerations that will help you make an informed decision.

Why you?

  • Undertake a personal assessment. Why are you called to this work? What parts of your identity are important to you? How does the story of your life inform the values that will guide your time in office?
  • Consider your family investment. How will your family support you if you run? How would a run for office impact them?
  • Evaluate the connections you have – not just your own identity – that would help you represent and advocate for your community. 
  • Review your social media history. Is there anything that could present a potential vulnerability? 
  • Assess your community of support. Who is urging you to run? What organizations, movements, or community groups will support your candidacy?
  • Look at the field. Do other candidates have similar platforms? Is there a gap that needs to be filled, or would your efforts make the most impact elsewhere?

How will you?

  • Take note of the tools in your toolkit. What structures of support do you already have in place? What is missing? What are your weaknesses and strengths?
  • Consider your existing community connections. Are there organizations that offer support and resources that align with what you need?
  • Determine your base. How will you engage with community members during and after the campaign?
  • Create a budget and financing plan for your campaign. How will you fund your campaign? Explore public financing options if available.

By taking the time to assess and prepare, you can enhance your chances of running a successful campaign and fulfilling your goal of making a positive difference in your communities. Now here are things to consider once you have decided to run.

How will you run your campaign? 

  • Consider how you will build a volunteer network. Who in your community could potentially volunteer on your campaign? What skills do they have?
  • Develop a narrative that resonates with your community. How will you articulate your long-term agenda?
  • Build relationships with community partners for future support. What events or listening tours can you put on before the campaign?
  • Recognize that running for office can be a stepping stone for future political endeavors. What are your long term goals?

How will you co-govern?

  • Evaluate the difference between your ability to win and your ability to contribute to your community. Do you need to run for office to make a difference in your community?
  •  Consider what you can do before and after your campaign to support your community. What are you already doing to contribute to your community?
  • Collaborate with community partners who share your values and goals. Are there organizations that share your vision? 
  • Seek to understand the issues affecting your community. What policies and programs need to be developed to address their needs? 

If you made it this far, congratulations on considering running for office! Running for office is exciting and also a significant responsibility. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to assess your readiness and evaluate your motivations. By considering the factors outlined in this post, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision on how best to support your community.

Are you ready to run? Bay Rising has an endorsement process to support progressive candidates who align with our values (Learn more here) and commit to co-governance with working-class communities of color. Reach out to our organizing manager Zoe at zoe@bayrising.org to learn more about the process. 

Additional Resources

NPR: How to run for office 

Candidate Boot Camp: How to run for political office 

The Campaign Workshop: Political candidate assesment: Am I ready to run?

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