Basics of Running a Good Campaign

There’s both an art and a science to running a good political campaign. Although many aspects of your campaign will depend upon your particular race and your district, there are many core concepts that apply to all campaigns. These recommendations are based on industry best practices, many of which are backed by evidence-based research.

Rule #1: Use a candidate’s time effectively

A candidate should spend their time talking to voters or raising money. Anything and everything else can and should be delegated to other people. If the campaign can’t afford to hire staff, find volunteers to take on some tasks.

Rule #2: Target the right voters

The most efficient way to get votes are:

Jump Start Your Political Campaign

Congratulations on making the decision to run for office! Politics is a difficult—but rewarding—endeavor. With these seven steps, you can get your campaign off to a successful start.

  1. Are you ready to run? Before you throw your hat into the ring, think hard about your decision to run. Talk to your spouse, family, friends, and key people in your community about whether or not to run. Be sure that you have their support and their commitment to help with your campaign. Make sure that you can take time off from work for your campaign; at the minimum you may need time off for debates and Election Day.

  2. Fill key roles. Determine who will play a central role in your campaign. You need to line up a campaign manager, a treasurer, and a "kitchen cabinet" of advisers. You’ll work most closely with your campaign manager to develop your campaign strategy and to execute this plan. (A word to the wise: Your spouse will most likely NOT make for a good campaign manager.) Your treasurer will handle the financial parts of your campaign. Although a background in accounting could be helpful, it’s not necessary. A good attention to detail will suffice. Your kitchen cabinet will be the backbone of your campaign and will provide you with advice, funds, and volunteer efforts.