Will you learn how to campaign?

This post is part of a ten-part series on preparing to run for local office. For the rest of the series, check out the links in the introductory post

If you're running for office next year, attend a campaign school. Campaigns aren't always intuitive and so there are a few things you'll want to learn the easy way rather than the hard way. Here are five reasons you should attend a campaign school before running: 

1. You need to know how to fundraise
2. You need to know how to efficiently canvass a neighborhood
3. You need to know how to put together an effective GOTV operation
4. You need to know how to create a compelling message for your campaign
5. You'll get an opportunity to ask any question you want to a campaign expert who usually charges a lot more to give advice

There are three ways I continue to learn about campaigns, in addition to working on specific races:

1. Attend campaign schools
2. Read campaign-related blogs
3. Follow other campaigns in the news

Campaign Schools

If you need help finding a campaign school near you, here are a few lists:

Leadership Institute (conservative)
American Majority (conservative)
Wellstone (liberal)
New Organizing Institute (liberal)

Also check with your local party to see if they offer one soon. Often they will put on their own campaign school, taught by local campaign consultants and elected officials. And sometimes they will bring in one of the groups above to run the school. 

Campaign Blogs

In addition to attending a campaign school, reading up on campaign tactics can't hurt. Here are a few blogs you can check out that discuss campaigns: 

Voter Gravity - Heavy focus on door to door campaigning
American Majority - General focus on all areas of grassroots campaigning
Push Digital - Primary focus on digital campaigning
K Street Cafe - A focus on communications
epolitics - Focus on digital campaigning
Campaigns & Elections - General focus on all areas of campaigning
New Organizing Institute - General focus on productivity and campaigning
Politico & National Journal - Their campaign coverage is great for case studies

Studying Other Campaigns

Use the Politico and National Journal links above to follow the national campaigns. I also like to pick out a race each year, and follow it closely. This year I'll choose one of the big city Mayoral campaigns. I follow the news about the race closely, and write out ideas regularly. "Campaign A did this, and here's how I think Campaign B will respond."

It helps to think through those processes and then see where I was right, where I was wrong, and why. 

If you would like to get more campaign tips, you can check out "Running for Officemagazine, subscribe to the blog or connect with me on twitter or LinkedInYou can also get an campaign tips emailed to you once a week by signing up to to the right of this post.