SIX STEPS TO A SWEET CAMPAIGN
So you want to make an impressionable and winning campaign? But this is your first time? No sweat, in the union, we’re all about campaigning and we'll take you through a great campaign, step by step.
Step 1: Know what you want to say!
You would be amazed how often this isn’t done! Candidates will go up to students and say something like “mumble mumble I’ll be good”.
Start right. Think about what makes you different and what you want to change. Maybe you want to revolve your campaign around your wealth of union experience or around a theme like community.
There might be many parts to your message but the message itself should be clear and memorable.
Think: Obama’s CHANGE message that stole the 2009 US general elections. He spoke about all changes in various parts of the government but his key message was “I’m going to shake things up”.
Step 2: Professional Manifesto
This is a cross campus election and a large percentage of voters will never see you and probably won’t even recognise your name. The only guaranteed thing they’ll have access to is your manifesto.
A professional-looking manifesto that clearly says what you will bring to the table will almost certainly win out. You want students to be judging you on your manifesto on its ideas, not how pretty it is. So make it bright and beautiful to catch their attention but don’t sacrifice the content.
Final tip: Add a personal feel to the manifesto. Students will emphasise with you and if they feel you’re a good person may be the deal clincher.
Step 3: Get a good campaign team
You can’t be everywhere so get some friends on board. Your team will also support you, keep you motivated and make sure you’re not over-doing it. It’s so important though that they know your message fluently and are just as passionate and persuasive as you are.
Remember - they can win the election for you but they could also lose it. An unmotivated, miserable team that hangs about not talking to students isn’t good for anything. Also a team that doesn’t share your vision, won’t be able to sell you in the best light.
Step 4: Bright and beautiful Campaign
The first part of a great campaign is pretty, attention-grabbing posters. The content of the posters will be interesting and strike an accord with the students’ own views but most importantly, it will get your name and face out there.
Here’s the limitation – students will see the poster and agree with you but still be unmotivated to do anything about it. That’s what we change in Step 5.
Step 5: Make your campaign Interactive
This is the second layer to your campaign and it’s where you get creative. You need to get students’ attention and get them talking to you.
Giving out a sweet does that. But what we really want is something more interactive because this gets students excited and also draws a crowd because people can see something is happening.
Think about games or activities you can do with students and try to make it tie into your campaign message.
Imagine your message is to combat student stress. If you’re a qualified yoga instructor or meditation teacher, you may want to run a yoga session or a mindfulness session in a prominent area on campus. Something simpler that doesn’t require prior qualifications would be to get students to write down what stresses them out and then tear it up / burn it up.
Step 6: Speak to People
This is the final and most important part of your campaign - speaking to students. This is really when you seal the deal and finally persuade them to take the time to vote.
Ask them what they want and tell them how you’ll deliver it.
Make it about them. If you revolve your conversations around them, then you’ll be able to cater your message best to them. You’ll also show that you’re listening and you’ll learn more about the students, which will only strengthen your campaign.
Know your message off by heart.
This will mean no matter what the student tells you about their experience, you’ll have a way to relate it to your message.
Show them what they’ll gain.
They now know that you’ve heard them, now you can open up your pitch into other areas that might be relevant to them.
The two key points are voting takes a minute and a vote for you will mean the university improves, this will help all current students (lean on the specifics for the particular student) and also improve how prestigious all UCA degrees are (this can sell the idea to 3rd years).