Basic-Level Campaign Activities
Basic-level campaign activities are easily undertaken by nurses because they are used to working on teams and in groups, have good communication skills, and are well organized. There are some issues that need to be considered before volunteering. First, are you doing this for your personal benefit or for an organization’s benefit?
Although there are no limitations on your involvement in a campaign as a private individual, in some cases it may be inappropriate for you to work on a political campaign as a representative of a particular organization. Some organizations are prohibited from engaging in political activity or candidate endorsements based on federal election law and their tax status (see Chapter 80). Political involvement on behalf of that organization may cause problems for the organization as well as the campaign. Be sure that your participation in a campaign is approved by the organization that you represent.
Once you have the green light, don’t be shy about making sure the campaign is aware of your affiliation. If you want an organization to get credit for your participation, you need to identify yourself as a representative of that organization. It would be best to have a group of individuals from your organization take responsibility for a specific campaign activity or project. The American Nurses Association organizes Campaign Activity Night (CAN) in the fall of each national election year. During that night, nurses nationwide are asked to work on campaigns. At the state level, nurses in Ohio formed the Ohio Nurses Democratic Caucus, an affiliate of the Ohio Democratic Party, to promote candidates and issues important to them. The caucus has a mission based on informing nurses about health care priorities of the Democratic Party and to inform the Party about issues important to nurses (Ohio Nurses Democratic Caucus, n.d.).
The second issue to consider is how much time you have to volunteer. Campaigns count on their volunteers, and if you sign up to do something, it is important that you follow through. Obviously the more time and involvement you have, the greater will be the payback. For those who have more time, decide whether you want to be involved in many activities or stay focused on one activity. Keep in mind that it is easier to quantify one’s contribution and get credit for the work when you can be identified as filling a specific role such as driver, house party coordinator, or heath policy advisor.
The last issue to consider is when to get involved in the campaign. If possible, it is best to get involved early in the campaign. Candidates remember their early supporters. It is easier to carve out your niche when there are fewer people involved in the early stages of the campaign.