You want to get a job on a campaign but feel overwhelmed and unsure where or how to start.

Or maybe you are already involved in politics as a volunteer or a field organizer and want to build your passion into a career.

We know it can be difficult to get your foot in the proverbial “campaign door.” That’s why we started our Staff Academy to recruit, train, and place new staff on Democratic campaigns across the country.

So, how do you go from volunteering to actually working on a campaign?

If you’ve wrestled with this question before, we’re here to help. Here are some tips and resources on how to find a job on a campaign.

It Never Hurts to Ask

At the end of the day, campaigns are like any other business or industry. If you want to find a job, you’ll need to do your research. Can’t find any job listings on a candidate’s website? E-mail the campaign and ask if they’re hiring. 

There’s no downside to this strategy. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the chance to interview for a position. If there are no available jobs, the worst response you can get is a ‘no.’ 

In all likelihood, even if they’re not hiring at the present time, they’ll ask if you want to volunteer with them. If you’re serious about working in politics, take them up on this offer. But, we’ll talk more about that next.

Be Willing and Ready to Work for Free (At First)

A lot of campaigns, especially in the early stages, have very few paid staffers. The operation relies heavily upon the work of volunteers. This makes working as a volunteer a great way to break into the world of professional politics. 

Campaigns are always on the lookout for dedicated, hard-working people who are willing to devote a significant amount of their time getting the candidate elected. Because of this, it’s common for volunteers to eventually be promoted to paid workers. 

It may seem less than glamorous to work as a volunteer, but it is the ultimate stepping stone to full-time campaign work. Proving your worth without a paycheck makes it far more likely that you’ll receive one down the road. 

As a volunteer, you can quite literally work yourself into a job. 

Note: We know this option isn’t available to everyone. A lot of folks can’t afford to work without getting a paycheck. While this is one way to get involved in politics, it isn’t the only way.

Apply to Anything You Can Find

When starting out on political campaigns, you can’t be picky about who to work for. A good way to think about searching for a campaign job is treating it like an internship hunt for a college student. 

Basically, apply to absolutely anything you can find related to political campaigns. Send your résumé everywhere and see if something sticks. 

Above all, be flexible about what role you’re willing to take on. If a campaign needs a field organizer, be ready to knock on doors for hours on end. If they need someone to help with fundraising, don’t be shy about getting on the phone to ask donors for money. 

Political campaigns want people who can juggle several different responsibilities at a time. Embrace any opportunity you can find and enjoy the chance to make an impact in your community. 

Useful Resources for Finding Campaign Jobs

All of those tips are helpful, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start looking. It’s a good idea to plan out your search before it begins. Identify potential campaigns you’d be interested in joining. 

These websites are good starting places for your job search:

Inclusv provides people of color with a resource to find employment in policy, politics, and advocacy. The organization links employers with qualified applicants with a desire to make meaningful change in their communities. 

This website provides up-to-date information on 2020 campaigns seeking staffers with data experience. 

With the Democratic National Committee’s talent bank, you can sign up to receive weekly e-mails about job opportunities in Democratic politics. 

Get Out There and Make a Difference!

You’re now equipped with some great tips and tricks, so it’s time to start your search for campaign jobs. We at NDTC want to take a moment to thank you for your commitment to making our country a better place to live, work, and raise a family. 

And if you’re looking for a program designed to prepare dedicated progressives for the rigors of the campaign trail and place them in actual campaign jobs, be sure to check out our NDTC Staff Academy!

Best of luck!

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Allyson Raines

Allyson joined NDTC in 2019 after eight years with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In her most recent role as a Regional Campaign Director, she transformed the PPAF electoral model to drastically expand the role of grassroots members by deeply training and coaching operatives to cultivate leaders in every aspect of campaigns. She believes that organizing and electoral campaigns are transformational experiences and focuses her work on developing staff who center that approach. Allyson has managed electoral campaigns on a county and statewide level in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. She started her career as a professional organizer in Detroit, MI with the Harriet Tubman Center for Community Organizing. Allyson holds a BA in Sociology focused on Gender and Sexuality and Civic Engagement from the University of Michigan. She lives in Chicago with her family Michael, Emmett, and Elliot and their loving pup Reggie.