Campaign Organisation

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Creative Resource
A campaign team full of technocrats, no matter how talented or quick-witted, will rarely deliver. A creative person, therefore, can only be good news for the campaign. This could be someone from within the party, or an external but experienced public relations manager with close links to the party (the latter is a particularly good alternative for smaller parties).

Printed material
It is always useful to have somebody who is in charge of publications or other printed material. The job is relatively technical, just as it is varied (typing, design, production, stapling, etc.). But it is one that, like so many others during a campaign, has to be done quickly and well. Such work can be outsourced to an agency (known in the business as a ‘full service agency’) – but this inevitably pushes the costs up.

Calendar / Events
Don’t just pick the person with the biggest calendar! A range of different tools can be used and combined: from a large wall calendar or an Excel sheet, to more specific time management systems (Lotus Notes, Outlook, etc.). Whoever manages the calendar must have an overview of all relevant and significant dates; he or she must be able to say, at a glance, what can or can’t be done, when and where. He or she must not only be aware of what colleagues have planned, but have notes and up-to-date information concerning opposition meetings and gatherings, public or school holidays, the parliament’s plenary sessions or committee meetings, government announcements, and so on. Even seemingly secondary events, such as football matches or localised demonstrations, need to be tracked. The objective is to always have an accurate idea of what’s happening inside the party, inside other parties (to the extent possible), and across the country.

The most sophisticated campaigns function with multi-layered calendars (Microsoft Project or open-source software). These are used by several people, and enable the individual responsible for the calendar, and timing more generally, to have instant access to the most important dates of all people involved in the campaign.

Much of the above software is not ideal for smaller campaigns or smaller parties. ‘Quick-and-dirty’ is generally a good motto when getting started: a simple and effective initial approach is to map out the most important steps and events ahead using coloured post-its (green is for…); once this basic flow-chart is in place on a wall or on a board, the more detailed calendar covering all parts of the campaign and all people in it will follow.

In small campaigns, it is not unusual for the same person to be in charge of both the calendar and the events. In larger ones, where this is less common, it is important for at least one member of the ‘events team’ be involved in the campaign team.

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