How do I support a candidate?
Are you fired up about participating in democracy? Want to go a step further than simply casting your vote? A great “next step” for those wishing to get more engaged in politics is to support a candidate. There are lots of great ways to do this, but this article will give you some ideas to get started.
First, you’ll want to do some research to find out what candidates are running for office where you live. You can get started by visiting our elections page.
Once you know who is running, you can research where they stand on issues to find the candidate or candidates who most align with your values.
Hop onto Google or another search engine and search for the candidate’s name. Depending on the office they are running for, they probably have a campaign website. Every campaign website is different, but many will offer some or all of the following tools:
- A schedule of the candidate’s upcoming rallies and other events
- A newsletter signup form
- A store where you can buy merchandise like bumper stickers, hats, and tee shirts
- Information about how to volunteer
- Contact information, which you can use to email the campaign and express your desire to get involved
Buying a bumper sticker or tee shirt doesn’t just help fund a campaign, it gives you the opportunity to raise awareness of a candidate’s name. Wear that hat, put that sign in your front yard, and be ready for people to ask you about who you support!
A great way to help the candidate might be to volunteer for his or her campaign. Depending on the campaign, a volunteer might be asked to:
- Knock on doors
- Make phone calls to other voters
- Volunteer digitally on social media
- Plant yard signs
Most newspapers have a section for letters to the editor where readers can submit short opinion essays to be printed in the publication. If you have a candidate you wish to support and want to share your personal motivations behind this support, you can draft a letter to the editor and submit it to your local paper. Search Google for “[name of your local newspaper] submit letter to the editor” to find out how to do this. Be careful to follow any formatting guidelines they give you, such as a maximum word count.
It costs money for candidates to travel to events, print signs, create websites, and so on. State and federal law caps how much individuals and businesses can donate directly to any one candidate, but you only need to worry about that if you plan on donating a few thousand dollars. Even just $5 or $10 can help! Most campaign websites will have a link to donate online or an address where you can send checks to support their campaign.
Regardless of how much money you personally donate, you can help your favorite candidate by hosting a fundraiser at your home or business. Not only will this help raise money, it will provide an opportunity to talk about what makes the candidate special, which will make guests more likely to go out and vote. We suggest reaching out to the candidate’s campaign to get started.
Sometimes it is hard for people to find the time, motivation, or transportation to vote on Election Day, even if they support a candidate. If you have a car, offer a ride to the polls to make it easier.
Still not sure how you can help? Maybe you have a special skill you think could help the campaign, like social media marketing, photography, or even making food for campaign staff. Reach out to the candidate’s campaign and see if they have specific needs you could help address.