How to run a campaign

Running for any elected position will involve you getting your name out to the people who are going to vote and explain to them why you would be the best candidate to vote for. This process of campaigning will be covered in depth if you formally put your name forward for nomination, but what follows is some basic information about running a good campaign as food for thought.

Plan a campaign you can manage

Our best campaign tip for you is to remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to elections. You should plan your campaign in a way that feels manageable and best suited to you. Don't feel you have to do the same things as other candidates; just whatever you think will best help you persuade people to vote for you.

Play fair

The most important thing to remember about campaigning is to concentrate on why you are the best candidate and not on why you are better than other candidates. Focus on your strengths and aptitude and not the weakness of anyone else standing for election. This will promote a fair and equitable campaign period that reflects the strengths of each candidate ina positive and constructive way.

Manifestos

A manifesto is a written brief that you publically release that outlines why you are standing for election, what you want to achieve and why students should vote for you. We've got lots of information about topics you could include in your manifesto and campaign. Using current issues relevant to students is a good way to make your campaign resonate with voters.

You can use up to 500 words on a single A4 page to create your manifesto. This will appear inand around the Union and on our website during the campaigning & voting period.

One side of A4 isn’t a lot so try to focus on your key points and make it easy for voters to read. You can use as many words as you want for other things you do, e.g. printed materials, Facebook or videos.

Try to be realistic with you manifesto promises. That is not say you can't be ambitious, but try not to make pledges that you haven't researched and assesed the practicality first.

Think about who you're targeting

The Winchester student body is incredibly diverse, e.g. mature students, sports club members, student parents, international students, students who work for the Student Union, students who live on campus; and the list goes on. You could think about how different issues and/or messages might be of interest to different students.

Campaign rules

We issue rules for each set of elections. They are based around these principles;

  • Only do what others can do & respect students and other candidates, i.e. play fair and play nice
  • The Returning Officer sets and implements the rules for the elections. They will make decisions about other situations that arise during the elections which aren't otherwise covered by the rules.
  • Make sure you stick within any limits imposed upon you for campaigning for publicity materials.

Managing your campaign

Planning ahead and asking friends to help you out (with your campaign, studies or just keeping you motivated) will help make your campaign manageable.

Balancing your campaign and your studies

  • While it does depend on how much energy and effort you decide to put into your campaign, in is generally possible that you might miss time for some of your studies. Therefore it is best to prepare in advance, so that you don’t get too left behind.
  • If you miss any lecturers (which we don’t advise you do), ask a friend on your course if they pick up extra handouts for you and check the LN for notes.
  • If people are helping you campaign, you can make sure they are there to cover you while you nip off for a lecture/seminar
  • Don’t completely neglect your studies, maybe try to fit in some reading

Staying healthy

  • Make a big batch of food (stew/pasta sauce/soup) before the start of the campaigning period and freeze it so that you have easy food to come home to after a busy day (generous helpful housemates are useful here!)
  • Make sure you make time to eat during the day and to relax, the Terrace Bar is good for this. It is important not to burn out
  • Wear suitable clothes to keep you warm/cool/dry
  • Get a good amount of sleep
  • Try to maintain a healthy diet 

Balancing your campaign and other commitments

  • Consider giving your other commitments, e.g. societies, sport or job, a miss for a week if you can and are worried about having too much to do
  • Equally, some people like having something different to take their mind off their campaign
  • Do something nice in the evenings and at the weekend!

Finally, candidates often find themselves making friends with other nominees - they're in the same position as you so you can motivate each other.

Campaign tips

Be clear – no one wants to read pages and pages of words – use bullet points and bold to highlight key points

Stand out – don’t say ‘get more people involved’ (who wouldn’t want that?), instead talk about how and why you would want to do that

Don’t be put off - if students don’t want to talk to you, just smile, be polite, thank them for their time and move on.

Have fun. Students respond better to positive campaigning and ultimately, the elections should be a fun positive experience for everyone.