If you are considering officially becoming a candidate for office, you are not going to be able to do it alone. Depending on the size of the race you are going to run will determine how large of a team you will need, but the fact is, you need to have people behind you to be successful. We will discuss the basics of what you will need and the duties they will have in your campaign.
When you try to go alone, you will become overburdened, especially with statewide and federal offices. Major cities (think New York and Los Angeles) may also require more individuals than a small town Mayoral or city council race. By choosing a team, you are more able to focus on getting your message heard. You are the candidate proposing the ideas to change your community. You need to be laser focused on that target while your team puts in work behind you.
We are going to be going over all the major positions that are needed, but keep in mind that you may have a unique need in your race that may not be covered in this list. The purpose of this is to help you consider positions to have covered when you kick off your successful run.
This is one of the most important decisions you will make other than your decision to run. You need someone who shares your ideas and passion. The duties that will be filled by the person you choose will be to direct personnel. They will be making sure staff stays on point in their efforts. They are going to be the person you will need to lean on when a hard right hook comes in and you are doing a crash session until 3 a.m. to respond to an attack ad.
This person is going to be the one trying to get you on TV and in newspapers. They will also be responsible for handling press inquiries. You need to have someone that can handle tough questions and knows your positions like the back of their hand. When they are dealing with the media, in many regards, they will be answering on your behalf. Make sure the person you choose is someone who shares your ideas and is updated constantly on any positions or statements made.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT/COUNTY/PRECINCT DIRECTORS
Each of these have essentially the same function: overseeing the people working in the area of their responsibility. They are going to make sure that your volunteers show up where they are supposed to be. They are the ones with the call list when it is time for canvassing and phone banking. Think of them as your front line managers that are getting the sleeves rolled for the hard work that needs to be done.
You need to have a director in charge of each section. They will also be key once it comes time for GOTV efforts in the last week or two before election day.
This is an extremely important position for larger campaigns. The role of this person will be to reach out to advocacy groups to get them on board with your campaign. They are the liaison between your campaign and their focus issue. Whether we like it or not, there are blocs of voters that vote in support of one or two issues. This person is the one that works with these groups to explain why you are the candidate they should get behind.
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR
This person will handle your social media strategy. In many cases, they are going to be finding the content to put out on the internet to place you in a favorable light to voters. In the modern campaign, you need to have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Without a presence in social media, you are likely not going to be successful. This individual will likely bring on individuals to volunteer to run your social media when you are not the one online. Stories can’t wait 24 hours to get out there any more.
You need to have a few individuals who know how to design rack card, take photos, make infographics, design memes, etc. This team is going to be what makes your campaign look good on paper and in print. The billboards you put out will be designed by this team. Newspaper ads will be made. Photos will need to be edited for Facebook posts.
You need someone to keep up your calendar. As a candidate you will have your personal life and political life in a constant battle for your time. You do not want to be the person who winds up having to decide whether you have lunch with your mom or the luncheon with the Women’s Rights group you were scheduled to speak to. This person is going to make sure you have balance. Be sure to let them know when your family is having their summer picnic so they can make sure they don’t double book you.
While you want to keep the words yours, it doesn’t hurt to have people to help you fine tune your message. It is especially important to have someone coach you on rebuttal during live debates and panels. You need to have someone who is knowledgeable about policy and isn’t afraid to act as if they are your opponent. Find someone who can catch you off guard so you won’t be caught off guard when the cameras are rolling.
There are so many parts to a campaign. Select your people well and treat them well. These are the people that will carry you to election day.