Do you think you have what it takes to manage a campaign?
Every campaign, from State Representative to President,
needs a manager. The campaign manager is responsible for writing the campaign
plan, creating the campaign budget, and hiring staff that will execute the
Being a campaign manager
requires you to manage relationships. The relationship between campaign manager
and candidate is the most important relationship that a campaign manager has to
cultivate. The candidate is your boss, but the candidate also relies on you to make decisions about how they should spend their time. This is where
"managing up” comes in. You have to be able to disagree with your candidate
when they want to deviate from the campaign plan. You have to be willing to
tell them that call time needs to take priority over marching in a parade this
week or that, no matter the outcome of past elections, ordering more campaign
t-shirts is not the best use of the campaign’s money.
Simone Ward is the President of Democratic GAIN’s Board of
Directors and managed Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s 2010 reelection campaign. Here is
what she had to say about managing a campaign:
"Managing a campaign means you have to be a jack of all
trades. You need to understand what your consultants, staff, and candidate are
thinking and doing. You’re in charge of the campaign’s budget, too. It’s your
job to set the overall strategy for the campaign and then manage the people and
relationships that will help your campaign follow that strategy to victory. It
is also means managing up. The candidate is your boss, but it’s your
responsibility to get the candidate to stick with the campaign plan. That
sometimes means telling the candidate, ‘No.’”
manager, you are the nexus for internal communication. It’s your job to keep
your staff and consultants on the same page when executing the campaign plan.
There will be a number of people who will be more than happy to tell you how
your campaign should be run and how you should be doing things. That’s why
writing and sticking to a campaign plan is so important.
A campaign manager
at their best runs an operation where the different components of the campaign
– field, finance, communication, consultants – are working in concert. You set
the goals for each department that will help the campaign achieve its overall
goal: winning the election. You need to make sure field is knocking on the
right number of doors and that finance is raising the amount of money
they need to. If anyone is falling behind, the campaign manager has to step in
and help them get back on track because the campaign manager is responsible for
every decision, success, and shortfall on a campaign.
Think you’re up to
the challenge? Come to the Democratic GAIN career fair and meet with the
professionals and organizations that are staffing up for 2012!
See you in