If You Want to Run for Office (and You Should), Start With These Resources

These books, organizations, and companies will give you everything you need.


Hero Images/Getty Images

Whether you’ve just started mulling a run for office or you’re already designing your yard signs, a wealth of resources on and offline offer information about the process of campaigning. So Slate has compiled a list of organizations offering candidate training, campaign books, and campaign service providers. If you decide to go for it (as you should), these resources could be valuable.

Know about an organization or service provider that would be added to the list? Leave it in the comments.


Candidate training

Campaigning requires a lot of skills that we don’t typically utilize in everyday life (crafting a message, fundraising, kissing babies). These organizations help teach first-time candidates the ins and outs.

The National Democratic Training Committee offers free online training for Democratic candidates.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee trains progressive candidates and solicits small-dollar donations from its nearly 1 million members for the candidates it endorses.


Democracy for America holds on-the-ground candidate trainings for progressives across the country and offers a “Night School” focused on online campaign skills. DFA also endorses candidates.

Wellstone holds on-the-ground trainings for progressive candidates throughout the country through its Camp Wellstone program.

EMILY’s List trains Democratic women and endorses candidates. On Sunday, Jan. 22, EMILY’s List will hold a training for women participating on Saturday in the Women’s March on Washington.


She Should Run offers resources for progressive women considering a run for office.

Emerge America offers an in-depth, seven-month training program in 17 states. It has a track record of success in electing progressive candidates.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute trains LGBTQ candidates.

The New American Leaders Project offers a three-day program called “Ready to Lead” for potential candidates from immigrant communities.

The New Politics Leadership Academy trains military veterans and alumni from the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and other service organizations for campaigns.

Veterans Campaign offers weekend workshops for veterans considering a run for office.


Campaign Boot Camp: Basic Training for Future Leaders by Christine Pelosi (2007)

Running for Office: The Strategies, Techniques and Messages Modern Political Candidates Need to Win Elections by Ronald A. Faucheux (2002)


The Art of the Political Campaign: How to Run for Elected Office With No Money, Name Recognition or Political Connections by Brian Duewel (2013)

The Political Campaign Desk Reference: A Guide for Campaign Managers, Professionals and Candidates Running for Office by Michael McNamara (2012)

How to Run for Local Office: A Complete Guide for Winning a Local Election by Robert J. Thomas (second edition, 2008)

How to Run for Political Office and Win: Everything You Need to Know To Get Elected by Melanie Williamson (2012)

Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way: A Comprehensive Guide for Candidates and Campaign Workers by Jeff Blodgett (2008)


Campaign services and software

Aristotle offers tools for fundraising, financial disclosures, and canvassing.

Camelot offers a suite of tools for fundraising and email, volunteer, and event management.


Campaign Partner offers campaign website creation and hosting services for political candidates. It starts at $29 per month.

Eventbrite offers free event registration as well as promotion services for free events.

Media Mezcla offers progressive candidates tools for fundraising and email, volunteer, and event management.

NationBuilder offers a comprehensive package for campaigns that includes a website and tools for fundraising and email, volunteer, and event management. Those services start at $19 per month. It also offers a free voter file and a free online course on running for office.


NGPVAN offers a similar set of tools specifically for Democratic candidates. Contact them for pricing info.

Online Candidate offers website creation and hosting services for political candidates starting at $29 per month.

Polis is an app that manages door-to-door canvassing by, among other things, optimizing walk routes and tracking response data. A basic plan allows you to reach 20,000 voters with the app for $350 a month.

SnapSite offers website creation and hosting services for political candidates. It starts at $19.99 per month.

Trailblazer offers tools for fundraising, financial disclosures, and canvassing.

Wordpress: Candidates can set up basic sites with custom domains with Wordpress at little cost or craft a more complex online presence.