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Getting Started

Interested in running for city office? Candidate Services is here to help. Candidate Services Liaisons are trained to assist campaigns with the getting started process and can help answer any questions you may have.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about running for office, the Candidate Services Unit is available via email at CandidateServices@nyccfb.info, by telephone at (212) 409-1800, or via Microsoft Teams audio calls by appointment during normal business hours (9 AM – 5 PM). 

Registering with the CFB

Prior to raising or spending money, you must complete the following steps.

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

    EIN numbers are assigned to corporations, partnerships, political committees, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. It is mandatory for registering a committee and opening a bank account. You may apply for and obtain an EIN directly from the Internal Revenue Service website or by calling (800) 829-1040 for assistance.

    If you have previously run for an elected office covered by the Campaign Finance Program (mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or City Council member), you must authorize a new committee for each election cycle and obtain a new EIN.
  1. Open a bank account in your committee’s name.

    Ask the bank if it provides images of both the front and back of cancelled committee checks. This is a CFB requirement. If your bank offers online banking, make sure you have access to the scanned images of both sides of all checks.

    Obtain a committee debit card. Using a debit card is the most convenient way to track all purchases.

    If you have previously run for an elected office covered by the Campaign Finance Program (mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or City Council member), you must open a new bank account for each election cycle. Program participants may only open one authorized committee per election cycle.

    Note: If you are unable to open a bank account without documentation that you have registered your committee with the CFB, please see step 3.

  2. Register your committee with the CFB

    Register your committee by using the CFB Portal. See the CFB Portal User Guide for step-by-step registration instructions. If you would like to be a participant in the Matching Funds Program, your campaign must indicate its decision on its registration in the CFB Portal.

    Once your registration has been accepted, a welcome email including login credentials for C‑SMART will be sent to the email address you registered with the CFB. C‑SMART is the web application campaigns must use to enter financial transactions, maintain contributors’ information, and file disclosure statements with the CFB.

    In order to register with the CFB, you must disclose your committee’s bank account information, including account number. If your bank is unable to open an account without official documentation from the CFB that you have registered or intend to register your committee, you may submit a completed registration without the bank account information. The CFB will process your registration, confirm your registration via email, and add you to the registered Candidate List. You must then open a bank account and provide your bank account information to the CFB within 15 business days or before the end of the current disclosure period, whichever is sooner. You will provide this information via the CFB Portal. You will not receive the welcome email with login credentials for C‑SMART until you complete this step. Program participants who fail to provide bank account information and a voided committee check are ineligible for public funds.

    Find out more about certifying into the Program.

    Once you have completed the steps above, you are ready to begin fundraising and campaigning.

Next Steps

  1. Attend a CFB Training (mandatory)

    The candidate, treasurer, or an individual with significant managerial control must attend both a Compliance and a C‑SMART training. Compliance trainings cover campaign finance law and CFB rules. C‑SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB’s web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity.

    The CFB also offers a New to the CFB seminar that is geared toward first-time candidates, treasurers, and campaign staff. This seminar is optional and will cover an overview of some expectations and demands of running for a CFB-covered office. Recommendation: Attend this seminar prior to the Compliance and C‑SMART trainings.

    Note: All trainings are open to the public, even if you have not yet registered your campaign with the CFB.

    View the training calendar/schedule a training
  1. Contact your Candidate Services Liaison

    You will be assigned a liaison to assist your campaign throughout the election cycle once your committee is registered with the CFB. Your liaison is trained to answer questions about compliance and C‑SMART and will be one of your campaign’s most valuable resources. Your liaison will also remind you of important deadlines and filing requirements.
  1. Set up a Contribute account

    Contribute is a fundraising platform created by the CFB to simplify the process of collecting credit card contributions online while meeting the CFB’s reporting and recordkeeping requirements. While optional, this platform allows you to easily solicit credit card contributions via your campaign website and social media platforms and set up fundraising events to more easily track and report contributions raised. Refer to the FAQs for Campaigns for instructions on signing up for Contribute.

Request Getting Started information

If you would like to receive further information about running for local offices before you register, please complete and submit a Getting Started Form.