Article written and contributed by: Ed Carter | Ablefutures.org | ed.carter@ablefutures.org

Running for office is an exciting process, but every candidate needs to make solid strategies for a good foundation. For a successful run, do some research into what all is involved with becoming elected to a political office, assemble a team of helpers, and think about what your campaign message will be. Putting together the right people and plans will be your recipe for success.

Strategize and research

People with disabilities are underrepresented in government, which is why it’s a great idea for someone with a disability to consider a run for office. Those with Down syndrome are even more noticeably absent from politics, which is why one French woman, Eleonore Laloux, made worldwide headlines in her recent run for mayor.

An elected official with Down syndrome would have a unique ability to provide voice to a significant segment of the population, drawing attention to the needs of hundreds of thousands of individuals living with the disability. As you think about your campaign, be sure to hone your messaging to address how you’ll govern once elected, and what you plan to do when in office.

As SpeakEasy Political says, be sure to do plenty of research: learn everything about the position you’re running for, study the voter demographics of your district, and find out how many votes you’ll need to win. With thorough study, you’ll be able to strategize ways to efficiently campaign and reach potential voters.

As you dig into your research, don’t forget to learn about the political landscape of your district. You can do this by reading polling data in your area to understand where your community sits on major issues—especially as they relate to key messaging in your campaign.

Assemble the team

Putting together a supportive and knowledgeable team will make a significant difference in the outcome of any candidacy. Any political campaign needs a few vital players: a campaign manager, a financial adviser, and a communications manager.

When you look for a campaign manager, look for someone who is highly organized and who shares your political views. This person should be able to handle both big-picture planning and the miniscule details that help your campaign run smoothly from day to day. This person should also be sensitive to your needs as a person with disabilities, and constantly evaluate venues and events to ensure they are appropriate for you.

HowStuffWorks explains that fundraising is one of the most challenging aspects of any campaign, so you’ll need a financial advisor to help gain sponsors and hold fundraising events. Be sure your advisor has a fundraising goal in mind, and work together to come up with different strategies for reaching that goal. Remember to reach out to organizations that support people with Down syndrome, as they could be potential sponsors for your campaign.

Messaging and communications are crucial for a successful campaign, which is why you’ll want help with handling media and speaking events. One way to handle this is to hire a communications manager who can take care of tasks such as press releases and social media posts. Another option is to consider hiring a local freelance writer who may be helpful with communications, writing your press releases and speeches.

Be visible

You’ll need more than just a few managers to help you run a successful campaign; aim to gain the support of your community, getting out and meeting as many people as possible. You can hold events such as community picnics, neighborhood cleanups, or open houses to learn about issues that matter to voters. By being out in the community often, people will begin to recognize you and form a personal connection to your campaign. This is a great way to gain volunteers and help spread your message.

As you strategize and research, keep an open mind and gain as much information as possible for your campaign. Find a supportive team to help you manage your campaign, raise money, and hone your messaging. And, get out into the community as much as possible to connect with potential voters on a personal level. With solid strategies, you can add your voice to the world of politics!