industry news Friday 14 Oct 2022 @ 11:00 Essential Campaign Advice for Political Candidates with Disabilities

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Essential Campaign Advice for Political Candidates with Disabilities

An article by Ed Carter, Founder of Able Futures

Running for office is a way to impact your community and create the change you want to see. The following advice will help you navigate the challenges of campaigning, including how to address inclusivity for others with disabilities, courtesy of WiredGov.

Prioritize Hiring a Campaign Team

Though one campaign goal should be to recruit volunteers, you will need dedicated campaign staff, too. A campaign manager oversees your operation and advises you on strategy and organization. Other staff can include a field director and organizers, a finance director, and a treasurer.

The broader your campaign (such as running for a higher office versus a local position), the more staff support you may require. And finance is a highly regulated part of politics; it's essential to understand and adhere to the financial rules.

Handle Funding Carefully

For higher-level political campaigns, candidate spending must be disclosed to the Electoral Commission. Keeping detailed records is an important job for your campaign team, as is finding funding.

Your team should help solicit donations and membership fees, as applicable, and even seek loan opportunities (that adhere to legal rules).

You may be able to use personal funds for political campaigning, but it's important to speak with a financial advisor to ensure you're following the rules.

Solicit Volunteers on the Ground

Volunteers are necessary to build out your campaign; support in your community is crucial for a successful run for office. Volunteers can share content online, make phone calls, hand out leaflets, and even go door-to-door. While some activities may seem dated, given the rise of social media, one study by Cambridge found that party leaflets boosted turnout by 4.3 percentage points in one election.

But how do you get volunteers to do the leaflet passing? The simplest way to expand your volunteer list is by making your platform clear and ensuring your target audience gets the message.

Thanks to technology and modern means of connecting with your audience, finding volunteers may be easier than you think.

Explore Social Media as a Promotional Tool

Whether you're seeking volunteers or are hoping to earn voters' loyalty, publicizing your political platform is a must-do. With social media, it's easier than ever to connect with people and find those who support your goals.

As a study by Demos found, the majority of people (72 per cent) who used social media for politics "felt more politically engaged." Further, 39 per cent of people who engaged with politics on social media were more likely to vote.

Build a Social Media Presence

Building an online presence for your political 'brand' affords connection with your constituents in a low-pressure way. Experiment with social media platforms (and review their corresponding demographics) to determine where your audience is and how best to approach them.

For example, Statista notes that Facebook's largest user group spans ages 25 to 34; if your demographic lies in that range, Facebook might be ideal for campaigning.

Once you have a target platform and audience, consider what to promote. You might share reports or other vital information with followers to maintain transparency; note that you'll need a business page rather than a personal profile. Then, these steps show you can upload a PDF to your Facebook biz page so you can share stats, results, and more.

Inclusivity

As a candidate with a disability, you might have mixed feelings about having your disability front and centre in your campaign. Whether it's a visible disability or not, campaigning on a platform of inclusivity may benefit your run.

Focus on inclusivity for all ability types during your campaign. Also, consider promoting the participation of individuals with disabilities in your campaign and election activities in general.

For example, election observation is one political experience that was previously off limits to people with disabilities; the International Foundation for Electoral Systems offers resources to help change the observation experience.

Making these issues pillars in your campaign can help you win voters while supporting your constituents' rights.

By focusing on the essentials in your political campaign, you'll have a strong foundation for reaching potential voters. Employing inclusivity in your platform (and taking advantage of social media) will elevate your message further and ensure that you appeal to a wider demographic of voters.

About the Author: 
Ed Carter has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities.

Please Visit our website to find out more about Ed and Able Futures.

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