What makes the perfect political campaign team? This is a question we get asked a lot. At Ecanvasser, we work with quite a number of different campaigns across a number of countries from local school board elections to National Parliamentary campaigns. Each campaign is obviously very different, but the same if that makes any sense? In that each end result is the same - get as many votes as possible. The general team structure is also quite similar albeit on different scales depending on the size of the campaign and overall budget.
There has been a large discussion on the role of digital vs traditional methods of campaigning. For the most part seasoned campaigners are in agreement that a mix of both is now needed, but what does that look like from the day-to-day back office setup?
Is it a case that certain roles should be farmed out to an outside PR/social media agency or the campaign intern? Else, should the digital side be at the very central core of a campaign done by a "digital campaign manager" per se?
I've decided to pen this blog post to kick start the debate on what that campaign structure should look like. For the sake of argument, I'm going to use a small/medium campaign (less than 50,000 voters in the constituency).
The Right Stuff
Let's say you have a great candidate, the campaign messaging is nicely done, and you have plenty of willing canvassers to help you with your door-to-door canvassing. Great, we have the very bare bones of a potentially successful campaign. However, you need some organization and structure. That's where you need a Campaign Manager or a Director of Elections to step in and fill this void.
The Campaign Manager will direct overall campaign strategy - what key points should be mentioned on the doorstep, what areas should be canvassed, where should the posters go, fundraising techniques, and where to come across the best photo-ops.
Any discussion in a campaign usually begins and ends with money. How much? Can we afford it? Is it worth the investment? Time is money folks and this is never truer than in a political race, this is why it is fundamental that you have someone in charge of the purse strings. In most campaigns this responsibility will fall to the CM but sometimes it is a role which can be delegated to a Fundraising Director . The fundraiser aka Money Man's main job is primarily to focus on raising the money necessary for a successful campaign. He or she is also responsible for projecting expected fundraising. However, the bulk of the work related to fundraising remains the candidate’s job as no one can secure donations quite like the face of the campaign.
A somewhat new role within political campaigns is someone who manages the social media accounts. You don’t think Bernie Sanders actually writes all his own tweets do you?
With all eyes watching the Twitter feeds and Facebook updates, it really is a full-time job for bigger campaigns. The importance of this role has grown vastly over the last couple of years and we see how invaluable it has become when trying to connect with millineals in the current US Presidential race. It allows for the candidate to take control of their own story instead or relinquishing authorship to a journalist who may spin the story to suit their publication.
Any form of rebuttal is at the push of a button and many voters will follow all these candidates across various platforms so it really is an important role within any team.
Let us know who else is indispensable to you during campaign season.