How to Build Your Political Campaign Team

Posted: Apr 21st, 2017 Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Superheroes can’t do it alone, and neither can you!

Superheroes can’t do it all. Sometimes they think they can…sometimes they try to do it all…but it never goes well. Sound familiar? If you are like us, we thought you might be that way, too.

There is always more work to do than there is time in the day. Things are always more complicated than they seem. Truth is, we all need help. Green Arrow has Felicity Smoak and John Diggle. Batman has Robin and Alfred. Even Buffy gets help from Giles, Willow, and Xander…and the occasional Angel. Point is, superheroes can’t do it alone, and neither can you!

This is different from your staff.  This group becomes your brain trust. In a political campaign, its called your Kitchen Cabinet (Campaign Committee) or, in a non-profit, it is the beginning of your Board of Directors. But don’t worry about making this too formal yet. There will be a natural place and time for that change.

 

Build a List

Come up with a list of three to ten people who will give you honest feedback and advice.

These people should:

  1. Believe in you: Although it is always great to have people from different parts of the community or with specific skills to give you feedback, most of the time you want people who believe in you. When times get tough, people who will step up and support you. Often times, these are your closest friends and family members, not necessarily people with tons of experience or a background in the issue you’re hoping to address.
  2. Be honest - get rid of the "yes men": Look for the Aunt Mays and Pepper Potts. Smart, honest people who care about you, but are willing to slap you around when you get off track.
  3. Have a variety of experience: You want people who are experienced and amateurs, cheerleaders and coaches. Give yourself an assortment of backgrounds and experiences to help you round out your team.

 

Bounce Ideas off Them

Share interesting stories or events about your cause. Troubleshoot everything from the smallest to the largest problems you are facing like asking them for feedback on your logo, website, messaging, especially your personal statement.


 

Keep your Team Engaged

Keeping these people engaged means they need to have something to do.

  1. Set a regular meeting time to keep people moving the ball moving forward and building momentum.

  2. Make your meetings fun and social, this is about connecting with the people who will help you change the world.

  3. Have specific asks for them so they know their role and how they can help you accomplish your vision.

 

Things are starting to come together for you! Next steps include setting goals, setting up your finances, and getting your social media ready to go. 

Matt Lyon

Matt has over 12 years of political fundraising experience. Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post. Matt is an experienced and campaign veteran always willing to help the next candidate make a difference.