When election season is in full swing, a great way to stay engaged and offer your own voice is to volunteer for a political campaign! Whether at the local, state or federal level, volunteering provides much needed capacity to help move the campaign agenda forward. Your passions and talents can be a great resource in spreading the word about your candidate and her/his policy platform by making phone calls to voters, preparing canvassing posters for the neighborhood, managing social media or even offering policy expertise – there are endless opportunities to be engaged.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to volunteer with a small team for a local campaign in Prince George's County, Maryland. Our entire operation was completely built off of volunteers and the generosity of our neighbors. During the campaign season, I not only learned about the inner mechanics of what makes a campaign run, but also the importance of being involved and supporting candidates who are passionate about investing in the local community and beyond.
Here are Five Key Take-a-ways from my Volunteer Experience:
1. Volunteering is a great way to utilize your skills and build a network! When I started volunteering on the campaign, I had just finished grad school and was looking for full time employment. The campaign allowed me to continue working on issues I was passionate about while meeting professionals in the field. Whether you're a fresh graduate looking for employment or a seasoned professional, working on a campaign will present endless opportunities to build your professional network.
2. Volunteering Helps You Meet Neighbors in the Community. Campaigning presents a unique opportunity to meet neighbors on a personal level whether through door knocking, phone banking, attending community events or hosting a backyard BBQ.
3. Volunteering keeps you in the know. Candidates for different offices are often invited to participate in community forums related to particular topics of concern in the community. By volunteering with campaign activities, you can stay informed about other candidates' policy platforms and engage with community residents about key issues.
4. Volunteering provides an opportunity to share your expertise! As residents of your communities, you are the experts of the issues hitting your neighborhoods, your businesses and your families the most. Your knowledge is power! Candidates running for office need to hear from you in order to effectively build a campaign that best serves you and your neighbor's needs.
5. Volunteering is a great way to practice democracy! Whether taking action in a local, state or federal campaign, volunteering presents a wonderful opportunity to see our democratic system at work.
In God's Politics Jim Wallis writes, "It's time to take back our faith in the public square, especially in a time when a more authentic social witness is desperately needed." May we be Witnesses for Justice in the public square, supporting candidates who promote equality and fairness for all.
Madison Mayhew is the new Justice and Peace Fellow for United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries in Washington, D.C.