Towns and cities often benefit greatly from residents’ desire to give back to their communities. Some residents may donate to their favorite charities, while others may coach youth sports teams. Involving oneself in local politics is another way individuals can strengthen their communities.
Politicians may be the faces of local politics, but volunteers are often the engines that make political operations run smoothly. The following are three simple ways people with a passion for politics can get involved in their local governments.
1. Volunteer with a campaign. Local politicians may be your neighbor, your children’s youth sports coach or a friend you’ve known since childhood. All political campaigns rely on the efforts of volunteers to get their messages out, and that’s especially so in local elections. Local candidates likely don’t have the financial war chest that’s available to statewide or national politicians. As a result, local politicians often must stretch every dollar, and that becomes easier with each additional volunteer who joins their staff. If there’s a candidate you feel strongly about, don’t hesitate to volunteer with his or her campaign.
2. Work with a nonprofit organization. Many nonprofit organizations are involved with local politics. Some may support a candidate who’s supported their missions, while others’ missions may be rooted in politics. For example, a local nonprofit may be centered around getting more young people to vote. Individuals who don’t want to get involved in the partisan side of local politics can still lend a hand by working with nonprofit organizations that are not affiliated with a party or candidate.
3. Work with local election boards. Local election boards rely on volunteers come Election Day. Such volunteers work in polling stations, which typically open in early morning and may remain so until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. The more volunteers who can pitch in on Election Day, the more smoothly voting can go. That may translate to shorter lines and a more enjoyable voting experience for local residents. Local governments also may need volunteers throughout the year to work during city council meetings.
Individuals need not run for office to get involved in local politics, which provides a great way for residents to give back to their communities.