Gathering a strong campaign team is an essential step in the early stages of campaign development. Hiring team members who can support you along the campaign trail frees you up to focus on the most impactful areas of your campaign. It can also bring you peace of mind, knowing you have a dedicated team by your side.
For many local political candidates, however, a lack of sufficient funding can pose an obstacle to building a large campaign team. This challenge is especially relevant for independent and third-party candidates, who frequently lack the institutional support that major-party candidates enjoy. How can you make the most of a small campaign team on a limited budget? The first step to answering this question is to identify what jobs need to be filled to lead you to success.
Different political campaigns will benefit from hiring different numbers of paid staff members. Here are a few factors to consider as you think about how big of a campaign team you’ll need:
Location: Where do you live? How many votes will you need to win your election? Candidates running in large cities will probably need to bring together a larger campaign team than candidates running in rural areas and small towns.
Elected Office: Which elected position are you running for? A candidate running for the state legislature, for instance, will probably need to exert a greater campaign effort than a candidate running for their local school board.
Campaign Duration: How long is the election season for your campaign? Your campaign could need more support if election season goes on for many months.
Electoral Competitiveness: How competitive is the race in which you are running for office? If the competition is fierce — for example, if you are running in a crowded field of candidates or challenging a sitting incumbent — your campaign may need more help than it would in an uncontested election.
Campaign Strategy: What are your top campaign goals? How do you plan to engage voters? You may want to tailor your campaign team to fit your planned voter outreach strategies.
You can also think about what positions candidates most often hire for their campaign teams. Many campaign teams include the following positions:
Campaign Manager: A campaign manager oversees the entire campaign and performs tasks such as team management, budgeting, and strategy development.
Communication Director: A communication director, also sometimes called a press secretary, manages campaign communications, including press releases and media appearances.
Field Director: A field director is in charge of grassroots organizing and coordinates volunteer efforts.
Finance Director: A finance director works to manage campaign donations, expenditures, and budgets, while ensuring compliance with campaign finance regulations.
Digital Director: A digital director ensures your campaign has a strong online presence, from a well-designed campaign website to social media and online advertising.
Policy Adviser: A policy adviser develops policy proposals, researches local news and events, and keeps the candidate informed on the latest updates in the community.
Each of these six team members represents an important part of campaigning, but not every political campaign needs to hire six paid team members. Local candidates can often find success with a smaller team — sometimes even with a team made up of just the candidate and volunteers.
The trick is to find a way to make sure that each of the above roles is filled in some way. Which of the above responsibilities can you take on yourself? To answer that question, candidates can ask themselves where their personal strengths lie. Then, which of the above responsibilities can volunteers take on? Below, we’ll explore how grassroots volunteers and free resources can support your campaign:
Mobilizing grassroots volunteers is one effective way to offset campaign costs while getting the word out about your campaign. Volunteers can support your campaign in a variety of ways, including:
Planning local events, including helping with set-up and tear-down
Creating content for your campaign website and advertising materials
Sharing information about your campaign on social media
Partnering with you to host voter registration drives
Hosting virtual fundraising events
These are just some of the ways volunteers can support your local campaign. Be sure to inquire about your volunteers’ specific skill sets, and be creative as you craft volunteer opportunities for your supporters.
As you mobilize volunteers, make sure to engage them in meaningful ways, letting them feel they have a real stake in your movement. You can also engage a greater number of volunteers by finding smaller ways for people who don’t have as much time to contribute to your campaign. Remember that even small actions can have a big impact when enough people sign up to do them!
Another great way to cut costs while running an effective campaign is to take advantage of free campaign resources like Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager. The AI Campaign Manager is completely free for independent, third-party, and nonpartisan candidates. This suite of tools helps candidates accelerate their campaigns, saving both time and money while improving their campaigns’ viability.
Here are just some of the ways Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager can streamline your campaign:
Charting a path to victory based on detailed voter files in your area
Helping you navigate the world of campaign finance
Creating campaign messaging that reflects your values and vision
Tracking your progress toward custom voter outreach goals
Generating content to increase campaign awareness and get out the vote
Connecting you to a national network of volunteers
Good Party is here to help real people run for office and serve their communities — and our tools are here to walk alongside you all the way from campaign launch to election day.
At the end of the day, it’s up to each political candidate to decide who to hire onto their campaign team and how best to allocate campaign resources. Crafting the right campaign team and support network is an important step toward developing a thriving campaign.
Ready to streamline your campaign with Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager? Check out a virtual tour of the product here, or get started with our free suite of campaign tools today.