Working for a political campaign can teach you more about the electoral process than any class or book. It can give you hands-on experience in a fast-paced environment to develop the skills that could land you a government position in the future. Or, if you just want to help get your chosen politician elected, volunteering to work on her political campaign is the place to start.
Preparation and Experience
Attend or join a local or on-campus political group. Campaign officials often start by pitching campaigns to local political organizations. If you are already a member, you have a better chance of being asked to volunteer.
Get experience in making speeches or talking with people to get their vote. One way to get comfortable with speaking in a public forum is by joining a college debate team or participating in an organization such as Toastmasters. You can learn valuable communication and leadership skills.
Develop your computer, writing or social media skills. Political campaigns are always in need of people who can write or use the computer to help politicians get elected.
Sign up to volunteer for small local elections to get experience working on a campaign. Local city and county elections are easier to get involved with, especially when you already know the people in your community. Experience working on even a small, local campaign can help you get your foot in the door on a larger campaign. It shows your commitment to the electoral process.
Connect with people you know are already volunteering or working for your chosen politician. Let them know that you are interested in volunteering for the campaign, as a cover letter or interview process alone rarely secures a position on a campaign. Networking offers one of the best ways to get asked to volunteer on a political campaign; campaign managers often ask for recommendations for volunteers from people already working on the campaign.
Cultivate relationships with people who are politically active. Once you get to know a person, they might be able to put you in touch with the people who can help you get involved in a political campaign.
Identify any alumni students from your college who already work on political campaigns or are involved in politics. Reach out to them by making a personal phone call or by emailing them. Let them know that you would like to volunteer for the political campaign; ask for their assistance or their direction as to how to go about it.
Research major donors for people you might know. Major donors usually have inside connections to political campaigns. At the very least, they might be able to tell you the path you need to take to acquire work as a volunteer.
Contact the local president of your chosen party's group in your area or on campus. At the least, the president should be able to connect you with the people who can help you get involved in a campaign, or provide you with the path you must take to get involved.
Just Show Up
Create an application packet. Add your personal resume, emphasizing any political campaign experience or background in a succinct and brief cover letter. In your cover letter, make certain that you extoll the virtues or express your passion for the politician for whom you want to campaign. Make it easy for campaign personnel to place you in a position by letting them know what you can do or are willing to do on behalf of the campaign.
Include samples of the type of work that you can do that will get you involved in a campaign. If you're looking for work that involves writing, for example, include copies of specific work that you have done that relates to political campaigns, such as briefing papers, written speeches and those pieces more tailored to a political audience. Do not provide generic samples; instead, tailor your samples to the type of work you want to do.
Show up at the local campaign office with your application packet in hand. It's harder to turn away a person who wants to volunteer when they are standing in front of you. Your physical presence and willingness to work on any part of the campaign may be the ticket that gets you a place as a volunteer for a political campaign.
Navigate to your chosen party's website and select the option that allows you to volunteer. Major parties often have a sign-up sheet that you fill out to volunteer.
- Toastmasters.org: About Us
- TeenVogue: How to Volunteer for a Political Campaign
- Harvard Law School: One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State: A Quick Guide to Working on Political Campaigns
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: Democrats 2014 Sign Up To Volunteer
- GOP.com: Volunteer
- Libertarian Party: Volunteer
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.