Your team in the final weeks

At this point in the election, you should have a good idea of your ‘core team’ – the people that you will have around you between now and polling day. Whilst it is quite common for volunteers to join your campaign in the last few weeks, this can’t be taken for granted.  

It is best to plan now, based on the team that you have around you. Any additional volunteers can be allocated roles, or part of roles, at a later point depending on their skills, experience and level of involvement.

You should be aware by now of who your agent is as you should have identified them on your nomination forms.

The key team roles:

  • Agent/campaign manager
  • Volunteer management
  • Media and social media management
  • Candidate’s programme and campaign diary management
  • Poster and visual campaign management
  • Data management
  • Phone campaign management
  • Postal, proxy and voter registration management
  • Literature production management
  • Literature distribution management
  • Polling day management
  • Count management

Understanding your team

It may be that you ask people to cover more than one of these areas – for instance, one person could cover both the production and distribution of literature, so long as the Agent has oversight of what is being produced.

An informal skills audit will help you match your team’s skills and personalities to roles. You should also make sure that each person is comfortable with the role they are given. Having a team member who clearly isn’t happy could be bad for morale and they are unlikely to volunteer again in future years.

About the jobs

This is a summary to help you think about the skills and time needed for each role.

Agent

The agent is crucial, they have responsibility for legal compliance.

Legally the role of the agent is paramount. It involves making sure that the rules are followed, and various requirements like nomination forms and election spending returns are filed on time. Find out more about the role.

There is also an organisational aspect to the agent’s role. Some teams choose to have a separate campaign manager instead and this can work really well. Regardless of that decision should have oversight of everything that is going on, especially this close to an election. Again, the agent is legally responsible for the campaign.

The organisational role

The campaign manager needs to co-ordinate all of the other team members and their tasks. Communicating regularly and ensuring the campaign operates to deadlines. This person should be focused on task completion and maintaining standards. If this is a person other than the agent then their working relationship with them is crucial.

Along with other key campaigners the campaign manager will have a central role in bringing together information and leading decision making on key messages and communications strategy. This aspect requires a sharp political mind and an understanding of how voters in the area view specific issues.

Volunteer management

It is every team member’s job to find the volunteers they need but it is helpful if someone keeps an overall record of leads and ensures they are followed through, as well as thanking them and ensuring that volunteers are having a good experience and want to continue.

Media and social media management

The media manager should manage the communications programme across all formats – printed, broadcast and online, ensuring a consistent message and maximum impact. This will mean working closely with the campaign manager to understand any tweaks to our key messages.

Candidate’s programme and campaign diary management

This can be a useful role in the short campaign when there is clearly pressure on the candidate. Making sure that political meetings, campaign meetings and campaign activities are all booked in well in advance will create a calmer atmosphere around the campaign and lessen the chances of an important event being missed.

Poster and visual campaign management

This role requires use of the Connect database to produce and keep updated a list of poster sites and potential sites from information gathered through canvassing and surveys.

They will need to collect and keep information on current and potential sites, make sure materials are purchased and ensure posters are put up, maintained and taken down at the appropriate times. This post-election part is crucial as leaving posters up in supporters’ gardens for too long is an easy way to annoy them. This could lead to them saying no to a poster in future years.

Data management

The data officer is responsible for organising the gathering and managing of the information necessary to fulfil the campaign.

This involves:

  • Managing and processing information personally or through a team they train and lead, ensuring that all necessary data is up to date and available to all those who need it. This includes voter identification, target groups, members and helper lists and delivery rounds. All data should be stored centrally on Connect and backed up!
  • Being fully familiar with the use and potential of Connect and training others, especially those who will use it on polling day.
  • Advising and organising data for canvassing sessions including identifying data gaps.
  • Ensuring all data is updated as soon as possible. Connect enables rapid use of data to inform the campaign – but it must be entered first!
  • Working with the Polling Day Manager to produce Connect shuttleworth supporter lists and other polling day data.

Phone campaign management

This person should build, train and organise a team of regular telephone canvassers.

They should ensure phone numbers and scripts are available both through the Virtual Phone Bank online and as paper scripts, and that this is promoted to supporters.

Liaison is needed with the campaign manager and with the polling day manager as to who we should be phoning and on the content of the scripts.

All rules around GDPR and the TPS service should be followed and this person should be familiar with all of these. Find out more.

Postal, proxy and voter registration management

The aim is to maximise the postal voter list of supporters, so keeping records, ensuring Lib Dem voters are offered postal voter application forms and encouraging canvassers to offer forms to supporters is key. This person may also attend postal vote openings if required. This person should be aware of the key dates for the election.

Literature creation and distribution management

The person creating the literature should be working closely with the agent/campaign manager to make sure that the style and messaging of our literature is correct. Different candidates will take a different level of interest in the production of literature but this person should be able to communicate effectively and should understand both what we are saying and why we are saying it.

The distribution manager should establish an effective and recorded distribution network and structure. Energising and motivating volunteers is a key part of the role, as is clear and reliable organisation and communication. They should ensure that the relevant people know when to expect literature and put in place systems to monitor delivery. They should liaise with the campaign manager to establish the literature plan.

Polling day management

This job relies heavily on preparation and organisation. The job encompasses recruiting, organising and training the teams needed for delivery, door knocking, telling, phoning and data entry on polling day.

It is also important to find suitable committee room(s) to run the operation from. This should be done as soon as possible. Production of all relevant lists – supporters to get out to vote, phone lists, lifts to polling stations that we have promised, maps, polling station locations etc. Practical issues such as food and drink for volunteers need to also be considered. This person will need to be calm under pressure and well organised. They are a crucial part in delivering an effective polling day campaign.

Count management

This person will need to organise and brief a team of counting agents for the count and take charge of organising the work of box counting, ensuring also that all data is collected in and recorded for future reference. Some information on counts and what happens. They will need to familiarise themselves with election law on counts and recounts.

Along with the agent/campaign manager, this role also has an aspect of candidate management. The candidate is likely to be nervous and will want as much information as they can get, as quickly as possible. That process will need to be managed – a nervous candidate can create tension throughout a count team.

This provides an overview of the roles that are generally involved in the short campaign. You may have variations based upon who you have within your team and their particular skillsets. The important thing is that the jobs we have set out above are being covered. Where there are gaps, there should be a focus on finding people willing to take on the role for this relatively short time.    

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