Part 1 of 4. http://www.frontrunner2020.com for complete transcript
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/frontrunner2020TV
Political candidates don't just come out of nowhere. The successful ones launch their campaign after serving the community in other volunteer and appointed capacities. You work in organizations that you care about as an expression of your passions. What issues are important to you?
As you engage in the community, you will find that it is a good way to build a following. These are the people who will lead you and support you as you work towards running for office. You will also learn important organizational and management techniques that can be different from those perfected at your day job. The opportunities for growth are unlimited. Participate in community problem-solving and begin to make a difference even before you run for office.
David will tell us of eight types of organizations where you should participate. He explains the big picture and also gives practical tips on how you can get involved now.
David draws on his experience as a City Councilman and community leader in Plano, the 9th largest city in Texas. Mr. Smith is an Air Force veteran who also enjoyed a successful career in engineering management and business development. He is currently an environmental and political consultant.
David M. Smith
101 E. Park Blvd., Suite 600
Plano, Texas 75074
Among other things, a good candidate has to become civically engaged with the community. In a previous session, Nancy Lloyd mentioned becoming active in some organizations as part of her presentation on getting ready to become a candidate. In this session I am going to focus on eight good different types of organizations.
There are benefits to participating in any or all. In addition to the obvious benefits of meeting more people who can later vote for you as well as gaining knowledge about your community, participation in these organizations can help you develop skills that will be vital to your later success as a candidate and an officeholder, including volunteer management and management of your own time.
Some universal advice as you plunge in: When you join an organization, plan on becoming an active member. Don't just go to meetings. Seek committee and leadership posts. Seek what I call "second tier" opportunities. I will later give you some examples of those.
One important piece of wisdom: Keep in mind: You are not going to automatically get a lot of votes just for being a member of an organization. However, if you become one of the organization's hardest workers and dazzle them with your leadership skills and accomplishments, the members will not only be your voters, they will be your enthusiastic supporters.
Again, plan to be active.
Now, regarding the first type of organization on the list, first look inward. If you are currently an un-churched Christian or someone of another faith who is not active in your faith group, you should become so. You may find some grounding in why you want to be of service to your community, and you may find another family who will personally support you.
If you are going to make a choice of a faith group with which to connect, that leads us to our first poll.
For best civic engagement, the most important consideration in choosing a religious group is:
•Evangelism and Commitment to Growth: 33%
•Political Involvement: 67%
•Mission Work: 0%
The most important of those is actually mission work, particularly mission work in the community. You want to be in a group that is engaged with the community. The size doesn't matter if it's engaged with the community. I would stay away form the groups that seem to be politically involved; that's a bit of a minefield for religious organizations.
All other things being equal, you want to look for a group with missions that have them engaged in your local community. Once you are in the group, you can look for "second tier" opportunities. There will be committee and leadership posts within the organization. The group may also be part of a denomination or alliance of others in the same faith group, and there may be city or area wide committee and leadership posts available.
One of the best opportunities would be to get involved in interfaith groups, where members of a number of different religious organizations work together on a common mission. That is a great way to get to know a cross section of your community.