Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ready to Run® Iowa?

Ready to Run Iowa is a series of six comprehensive workshops offered every other year by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics as part of a national network founded by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to recruit and train women to become more involved in politics.

Is Ready to Run Iowa just for women?

Although Ready to Run Iowa addresses topics unique to women as they seek greater participation in the political process, the training is open to anyone who is interested in running for all levels of office, getting appointed to public boards and commissions, working on a candidate or issue campaign, or learning more about the political system.

May college students participate in Ready to Run Iowa?

Everyone ranging in age from high school and college students to seniors are invited to participate. Student scholarships may be available.

Why Ready to Run Iowa?

Here in Iowa, we elected our first female governor in 2018 and have sent only five women to the U.S. Congress (the first senator in 2014 and the first two representatives in 2018). In terms of women in the state legislature, Iowa currently ranks below the national average of 32.7% with 44 women (29.33%) serving in the state house and senate. While this is an improvement from 2017 numbers, Iowa still has a ways to go in achieving gender balance. Beyond achieving fundamental fairness and democratic ideals, having women in office makes a measurable difference. Research shows that elected and appointed women bring to the table distinctive issues and perspectives based on their life experiences.

What topics does Ready to Run Iowa cover?

Past workshops have covered some combination of these topics:

Positioning Yourself for Public Office

  • Raising your public profile
  • Leveraging a political appointment into a run for office
  • Using your private-sector skills and contacts in planning a campaign
  • Assessing your strengths as a candidate

Developing a Campaign Plan

  • Essential management functions of a campaign
  • Building a team of professionals and/or volunteers
  • Maintaining control of your campaign while letting the professionals do their jobs
  • Organizing a grassroots campaign


  • Assessing how much money you will need to raise and establishing a fundraising goal
  • Utilizing direct mail, events, and political action committees
  • Building a donor list
  • How to make the “ask”
  • Choosing a financial advisor
  • Challenges of women candidates in fundraising

Interactive Media Training

  • Tips for successful interviews on tough topics
  • Looking poised and professional on camera
  • How to stay on message in an interview
  • Making strategic use of print, cable and broadcast media in Iowa
  • Getting and using free media

Message Development

  • Developing your message
  • Delivering your message – how to stay on message and how to hone your message for different audiences

Navigating the Political Parties

  • Understanding and assessing the importance of the support of the political parties
  • Breaking into the county party structure
  • Learning how to work within the party
  • Positioning yourself within the party
  • How to deal with a party organization that is not supportive

Voter Contact

  • Where to begin in reaching voters
  • Canvassing (going door to door); how to create a walking list
  • Marketing materials for voters

Running as an Outsider or Challenger

  • Strategies for running as an outsider
  • Special challenges of running without party support and/or a professional campaign team

How to Get Appointed to Office

  • How to position yourself and what to expect from the process
  • Maintaining involvement and visibility so you are considered when appointments are made
  • Surviving the “vetting” process
  • Leveraging appointed positions into a run for elected office

Questions? Contact the Catt Center at 515.294.3181 or