Anybody can recruit candidates!
Trying to recruit candidates to run for office can be tricky, but it's important very rewarding and anybody can do it. I've been recruiting candidates for almost a decade and love it. Seeing men and women who you recruited serving in office with distinction makes for an incredible feeling!
Your efforts recruiting candidates for office can yield amazing results. By laying the groundwork and helping shepherd the campaign through its infancy, you are improving its chances of success and building a place within the candidate's inner circle.
But how do I actually do it?
The first step is to find who you want to run for office. Once you've identified them, that's when the courtship begins. You want them to take a great risk and become a candidate.
Here are 8 keys to remember when you're working through that process:
Do Your Research
You’re trying to convince someone that they should run for public office. That’s not an easy thing and they’re likely to have plenty of reasons why they haven’t done it yet. If you’ve done your research, about how many votes they need, how much money they’ll have to raise and an educated guess as to their changes, you’ll be much more likely to quiet their fears and close the deal.
Sneak Up On Them
Many of the best potential candidates have never thought about running for office before and if you ask to meet with them about getting them in the race, they’ll probably say no. If you think they’re skittish, tell them that you are trying to find someone to run and would like to meet with them to get their thoughts and recommendations.
Answer The 3 Whys
We’ve created a list of 7 easy questions that every candidate needs to answer before running for office and it’s a must read, even for recruiters. The first three questions that candidates need to ask themselves are, Why me, Why now and Why this office? The better answers you can give to those questions, the more likely you are to convince the recruit to become a candidate.
Pledge Your Specific Support
You’re talking them into this race and they need to know that you are going to put your neck out there too. Commit to donating, volunteering, fundraising, whatever you can do. They need to know that you’ve truly bought in. Trying to recruit candidates without showing your investment is a recipe for failure.
Don't Go Alone
Don’t go alone. Before you go and talk to the potential candidate, grow a group of people who share your conviction about needing a new candidate and the general principles regarding the type of people who they would support. Make a list of potential candidates to recruitment and prioritize that list. Now you’re approaching the recruit with the votes, donations and volunteer hours of a group of people, not just yourself.
Give Them Homework
If the candidate is interested in running, set a follow up meeting and ask them to start building their “Christmas Card List” This is a list of people within their network who they believe will support them. Ask the recruit to put together a significant number of contacts (~75–125) with contact information. This kind of small exercise is a good way to gauge how interested the person is in running.
Recruit Candidates Early
First time candidates need as much time as possible to plan, build and execute their campaign. By finding your candidate and recruiting them early, you give them the best possible chance of saying yes and at victory. It also means that you can be pickier about who you choose.
Help Them Get Trained
It breaks my heart to see qualified, principled candidates go down in flames because of rookie mistakes. But every cycle it happens time and again. That’s part of why we started My Campaign Coach. There are free resources like our Blog and Podcast, as well as paid coaching and consulting options. Check out some of those free resources today and let us know if we can help!
Get out there and recruit candidates! Follow the key steps we've outlined above and then work hard to get them elected. Throughout this site and in all our coaching programs, we're working to educated candidates on how to win so we're here to help all throughout the process!