Update: August 1st, 2018
In April, we had our first success of recruiting and helping a young candidate win. Listen to his story below.
We're now looking for young people in Karnataka to run in the August municipality and urban local body elections.
Know of someone? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Young India Foundation will help recruit and support young diverse candidates to run for local level elections in order to build a better community and leaders for the future — the people we support now could be possible members of the assembly, parliament and maybe even Prime Minister one day. We aim to lower the barriers to entry for these candidates by helping them with legal help, campaign management & tactics, organization building, and access to trainings needed to be successful.
In our efforts to build for the future, we decided to focus on every candidate who wanted to run for office, not just candidates who meet the standard “viability” test, aka how much money they have or what caste or religion they belong to.. We know that type of prioritization wouldn’t allow us to embody our core values.
We decided that by investing in every candidate and giving each one an equal shot at running a campaign, we would empower voters to go out and have their voices heard. Simply put, we trust voters. Our candidate program is structured to get as many committed people as possible in the door and provide them access to resources, money, and experts who can help them.
We believe the voters should decide who the right candidate is to represent them — not an institution or party.
We promote progressive values. Getting more progressive people running means more chances for communities to hear about and identify with our vision for the future. The more we can spread these messages through connected members of communities, the better off we will be.
Our risk tolerance is high: Like incubators or venture capital firms in the tech world, we don’t expect all (or even a majority) of our “investments” to win the first time out. By getting people to run, holding opponents accountable, and getting leaders engaged through voter contact, our candidates will be effective in building out the responsible leaders at the local level.
Are you ready to run for office? Read below to learn about our process. Do you want to help be part of the process? No worries--contact us here.
The Goal: By 2018, we want to help select, train and assist 100 candidates in local municipal and panchayat elections.
Step 1: Sign up at YoungIndiaFoundation.org
Through press, social media, paid advertising, grassroots outreach and a constant drumbeat of conversation, we aim to destigmatize the idea that running for office is only for a limited type of person.
Anyone who is interested in running simply needs to sign up on the website.
Potential candidates then join a conference call, then opt in to have a 1:1 with a member of the YIF Concierge team. Our Concierge team is made up mostly of folks with experience on campaigns or in the movement. They are looking for four key factors:
- Is the candidate progressive, by whatever definition fits their community?
- Is the candidate rooted in their community — do they have a network, connections, and an authentic understanding of what problems the community faces?
- Does the candidate understand what a campaign means and are they willing to do the work?
- Is the candidate compelling and interesting to talk to? If the volunteer was going to work for them, on a scale of 1–10, how excited would they be?
Step 2: If a candidate meets those criteria…
YIF community support.
They get invited to our Slack community. Candidates can build relationships with other people considering running for office, as well as YIF volunteers. Our community is structured by state as well as by specialty and by demographics — candidates and volunteers are self-organizing, setting up in-person meetings, and commiserating as they encounter similar challenges.
YIF candidates will have the opportunity to be matched with mentors with different areas of expertise. The goal of this is to democratize access to institutional knowledge in a scalable way. Instead of pairing up one candidate with one expert who may not have specialized knowledge in all facets of a campaign, we’re trying to help candidates get experts to specific questions from many experts. This allows mentors to support many candidates at once.
Access to resources and trainings
YIF staff and volunteers constantly share links to trainings and programs put on by partner organizations that might be useful for potential candidates.
Step 3: The Run for Something Endorsement
Once candidates have completed a call and started to engage with our community, they are invited to apply for the Run for Something endorsement.
We’re planning to endorse 200 candidates in 2018 and are looking far and wide for the best candidates across the country to support.
Endorsed candidates gain access to many additional YIF resources including our database of creative help and additional mentorship. And:
Running isn't easy especially the legality aspect to it. That's why we have a team of legal experts and students to make it easier for you to run.
We want to make it as easy as we can for you to run. We help you build your campaign from the grassroots level with marketing, management and data assessment.
Press and social media amplification
YIF will help all candidates that are part of our community connect with relevant reporters and will signal boost through social media.
Today’s young people.
India has over 670 million people below the age of 25. 73% of India is below the age of 29. Yet, our average age of a parliamentarian is 56. We need to empower young people to become part of the system, not lecture them.
Dedicated to change.
There is something that we are absolutely certain about doing with our involvement and direct help to electoral representatives: we want change. Enough is enough.
India's current leadership is the same demographic since 1947. Yet Indians gets younger and younger. Our goal is simple: to bring fresh ideas, concepts and people to the leadership to change the stagnation, get rid of the corruption and be more representative of the current population.