First Step: Get Involved!
What should you do to prepare for running for office? Have you ever considered:
- Boulder County Democratic Party
- Boulder County advisory boards and commissions
- City of Boulder boards and commissions
- Colorado Office of the Governor’s boards and commissions
- Colorado Institute for Leadership Training -Created to provide emerging leaders with the information and skills they need to make a difference in the twentieth century and beyond
- Leadership Boulder County
- The Bighorn Center – Leadership Development
- Serving on a district-wide committee (Board of Education)
- Volunteering for a political, business, environmental group
- Becoming more active in your union
- Getting to know a larger, more diverse group of people in the community
Candidate & Campaign Training Workshops
Boulder Chamber of Commerce – College of Political Knowledge
- 3 hour training session, generally held in the late summer.
- Open to the public at no cost.
Boulder County Democrats Library online
- Information on campaigns and how candidates are nominated.
Colorado Democratic Party
- If you are interested in running for State House or State Senate, contact the CDP to see if they are holding any upcoming training sessions.
Democracy for Colorado
- "Democracy for Colorado is a statewide organization dedicated to promoting progressive candidates and issues. DFC was formed in the Spring of 2004 by a diverse group of citizens from a broad range of political backgrounds — Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and unaffiliated voters. We are a hard money political committee."
- Trainings offered in Colorado
- Trainings periodically offered in Colorado
- A political network for pro-choice democratic women.
- EMILY’s List Political Opportunity Program is dedicated to training women running for the state legislature and local office. The training is geared for a wide-range of experience levels, from first-time candidates to incumbent legislators.
International Women’s Democracy Center
- The International Women’s Democracy Center was established to strengthen women’s global leadership through training, education, networking and research in all facets of democracy with a particular focus on increasing the participation of women in policy, politics and decision-making within their own governments.
- Pipeline project is a political leadership training for young women within the US.
National Democratic Party
- The DNC has provided the DWBC with campaign training materials.
- Topics include messaging, budgeting, and scheduling. If you are interested in borrowing these materials, please contact Helen Dorsey-Corbett.
National Women’s Political Caucus
- "The purpose of the National Women’s Political Caucus is to increase women’s participation in the political process and to identify, recruit, train and support pro-choice women for election and appointment to public office. While in pursuit of this goal, NWPC will strive to win equality for all women: to ensure reproductive freedom; to achieve quality dependent care; and to eradicate sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, violence, poverty, and discrimination on the basis of religion or sexual orientation."
- NWPC offers training manuals.
- active in Colorado
- “Progressive Majority has a clear and bold purpose: To elect progressive champions who will help change the direction of this country. We will do this by building a nationwide member network that will provide much-needed early support to progressive candidates – helping them to win elections and bring our values back into the halls of government.”
- The Progressive Majority Candidate Recruitment & Development Program is in Colorado among other states.
White House Project – Vote, Run, Lead program active in Colorado
- “Vote, Run, Lead is a national nonpartisan mobilization initiative to activate young American women to engage in political participation — from voting to running for political office — through a multi-state cultural performance and political leadership training tour; a comprehensive political engagement and leadership empowerment website; a widespread awareness campaign using multimedia public service announcements; and an extensive grassroots organizing campaign. Unique partnerships with state women’s funds, national corporate sponsors, educational and political leadership institutions, and various get-out-the-vote initiatives will inspire and motivate a new women’s political movement that will impact local and national elections as well as future political decision making and lawmaking in the United States. Vote, Run, Lead is a program of The White House Project, a nonprofit women’s leadership advocacy group.”
- For more information about trainings in Colorado, please contact Monica Mendoza or Faith Winter.
Women’s Campaign School – Yale University
- “The Women’s Campaign School is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy political campaign training program. Our mission is to provide the very best training in the world for women who want to run for office or who want to move up to higher elective office. We train women to run political campaigns, and to advance their careers in public life in political environments.”
- Training Schedule
Other Recommended Resources
- The Bell Policy Center - For a look at Colorado policy issues such as education, health, economic security and civic participation
- The BlueFlower Project – “The BlueFlower Project’s goal is to increase the number of pro-choice, Democratic women serving in public office in Colorado. We do so by educating the public on the importance of women’s leadership.”
- The Colorado Center on Law and Policy – “Justice and security for lower income Coloradans.”
- Colorado Politics and Government by Gonin and Loevy
- Colorado Women’s Agenda - “Colorado Women’s Agenda is a statewide network that champions economic security, social justice and political power for all Colorado women through public education, political advocacy, communications and grassroots activism.”
- The Democratic Party – Women’s Vote Center
- Women’s Action for New Directions – WAND “empowers women to act politically to reduce violence and militarism, and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs.”
Advice from Boulder Leaders
Local politicians suggest you consider the following topics as you begin to prepare for running for office:*
Campaign Committee and Volunteers
- Find a great campaign manager; don’t run the campaign yourself
- Build a strong campaign committee
- Draft a volunteer recruitment plan and recruit plenty of volunteers
- Get organized and create a timeline from day 1 until election day
- Identify organizations likely to support you
- Form collaborations
- Spend time knocking on lots of doors
- Gather a list of endorsements. One local leader said, “I benefited by meeting people in influential positions who then introduced me to other people in areas of business, environment, etc. where my reputation was less well-known. Once I was able to talk individually with these key players, endorsement and support followed.”
- Meet the main players, stakeholders, key opinion leaders in the community
- Plan a literature drop to spread your message
- Create your message
- Work on delivery of the message, e.g., effective presentations
- Develop your policy positions
- Be prepared to deal with the media, e.g., get your message out in sound bites
- Deliver your message through questionnaires you have to fill out
- Be able to ask for donations
- Determine how much money you will have to raise, e.g., depending on the office this amount could range from around $5,000 to over $1 million
- Create a budget
- Keep in mind that advertising is expensive
- Figure out whether matching funds are available and decide whether you will accept them
- Have good finance and legal person on team in order to understand issues like campaign financ reform, donor limits, filing deadlines, Amendment 27, Fair Campaign Practices Act, etc.
Thanks to all of the elected Boulder officials who provided these topic areas via the DWBC Winter 2003 survey.
Note: The organizational information on this page may not be up-to-date. For the latest information, please contact the listed organization directly.
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