This is the final part of our six-part series of running for office. You can read the earlier articles here:

The campaign is over.

You won and life is good.

Now comes the time to staff your office. Reward your hardworking staff with a job. Congratulations, now the fun begins and you must govern and work to maintain promises made on the campaign trail. Good luck.

If you are in the category of candidates who are successful you are in the minority. This is why seeking elected office requires a thick skin.

What is the next step after losing?

Commitments

Many think there is nothing to do after an unsuccessful run for office, this is a bad judgement call. Once the ballots are counted, and they have been defeated, some candidates think their responsibilities are over. Sure, you have your concession speech and to thank everyone for their efforts. There is still a little more to do.

This is how volunteers measure your worth as a candidate. So many good candidates never have another strong run for one important reason. After a losing bid, they fall off the radar.

People become disillusioned if they feel neglected, unimportant or irrelevant. Once a campaign cycle has run its course, unsuccessful candidates neglect a very important factor: The personal touch. Casting aside volunteers is the cardinal sin of a campaign and may cost you a political career. And this is too easy to avoid.

The personal touch

Naturally, you will want to send personal letters to key campaign officers thanking them for their service. This helps the people that helped you build credibility into their resumes. It can be significant in helping to further a career in the political field.

Too often, candidates neglect the volunteers that help your campaign and do the grunt work. That is where animosity is born to either never help you again or support your challenger on the ballot. A simple “thank you” can mean the difference of having a ready and trained team willing to help. Candidates do not take the time to personally recognize everyone who knocked on countless doors, those who created media campaigns, people who supported your political career with their time and effort.

There is no excuse for this. Your campaign should collect these four things t for every volunteer working for you. You need:

1. Name

2. Address

3. Phone number

4. Email address

With this information you can send correspondence to EVERYONE that gave of themselves for you.

Win or lose, do this. If you takes the extra time to do this will always have a support base for a re-election or another attempt to serve the public. Besides, it is the decent thing to do.

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Gene Smith

Gene Smith is a Chief Campaign Strategist living in Arizona. He is a Juris Doctor, Democratic Campaign Strategist, Elected Precinct Committee person, and Democratic State Committee Member. Currently, Gene serves on the Environmental Caucus.

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