Confessions of a Rookie Campaign Manager

There is a big step from being a regular campaign volunteer to being a paid staff and the responsibilities that come with it, and I am very proud to say that this election cycle, I was hired as a campaign manager for a state representative race. I’ve mostly been involved in politics on a volunteer basis in the past, but taking on the role of campaign manager was a huge opportunity, and I could not be more excited. However, there is a learning curve to this, and it was almost a bit overwhelming. I’m now about a month in, and I already feel I’ve grown and learned a ton from the job, and can’t wait to continue to do so. Read on for some perspective on being a first-time campaign manager.

When I accepted this job, I was a little overwhelmed. I had an idea of what a campaign manager did, but I wasn’t entirely sure of what my day-to-day responsibilities looked like, I quickly found out just how many components there are to being a campaign manager. Campaign managers are responsible for nearly every aspect of a campaign, from distributing signs to running social media accounts to putting together a team of volunteers, as well as merely helping the candidate stay organized. For the candidate, the priority is raising funds and securing endorsements, and nearly everything else falls on the campaign manager. I was surprised to find out what a wide variety of tasks are associated with the job.

But now, after about a month, I feel I understand exactly what my responsibilities are, and that I’ve hit my stride in terms of accomplishing these things. This is due in part to the fact that my candidate and I have had a chance by now to get to know each other and figure out how best to communicate and work together.

Based on my experience thus far, the biggest piece of advice I’d give to a new campaign manager is to get to know their candidate. Sit down with him or her and learn right away how they work best and what they need from you, and let them know how you work, as well. These sorts of things are critical to being able to communicate and work effectively with your candidate, which will make the job so much easier for both of you.

Organization is also key to being a campaign manager. There are many moving parts to this job – social media, putting together a strong team of volunteers, planning events, and providing accountability for your candidate, just to name a few – and staying organized is key to making sure this all gets accomplished. Fortunately, I’ve always been fairly organized, so this wasn’t too much of a transition for me, but you will find organization to be more critical than ever before when managing your first campaign.

Going into this race, I feel very positive. I know that my candidate is a great candidate who would represent all of us very well, and thus far, I feel our team is running an effective campaign. I also feel proud of what I’ve done thus far and what this job has taught me. This is an unprecedented time to be working in politics, and especially to be managing your first campaign. However, I am very proud of the job I’m doing, and am excited to continue campaigning and to gain more experience and continue learning. Doing the absolute best job possible at managing this campaign is very important to me, as I know I want a career in politics, and I want my first official job on a campaign to be a success. But most of all, I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this job.

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