The first step to running for office — or even deciding whether or not to run — is telling your story. Who are you and what can you bring to the table? Why are you running for office? 

When developing your story, remember to be true to yourself! For some, it may be helpful to start out by trying to describe yourself, your leadership style, and your greatest strengths. For others, you may want to begin by journaling about some of the moments in your life that have defined you. If you are having trouble with your story, start with your “why” – the issues that motivate you, the community you want to serve — and work backwards, explaining why these things mean so much to you, personally.

While there is no one right way to develop your story and voice, here are some of our favorites resources to help guide you through the process: 

She Should Run, which was initially founded as a program of the Women’s Campaign Fund, is a non-partisan organization that provides resources and training to women candidates. The She Should Run Incubator is a set of free online courses that helps women candidates to develop practical skills for their run for public office. The Incubator provides guidance on cultivating leadership, building networks, fostering communication, and identifying your pathways to success. We love their guidance on developing your story and voice! 

NationBuilder offers a comprehensive course, aptly named “How to run for office,” which walks you through practical lessons in developing your campaign, including information on calculating your vote goal, understanding your district, finding your supporters, creating a contact plan, finding volunteers, and much more. For help with storytelling, we suggest taking a look at their StoryBuilding Guide, and their super-helpful worksheet on telling your story.