Aiming to run in the school election? It’s a task that requires a long term commitment, and as we will see, success is almost never overnight. Whether you win or lose, it’s a valuable experience in leadership and boosts your resume.
The following tips will help improve your odds in securing that student council seat, club leadership or position as class president.
Pick a reason to start
Whether you want to run for president for the soccer club, the drama club, or your class you need a reason to start. This is important as your reasons for running will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.
Start early and aim low
If this is the first time you’re contesting an election, it would do you good to aim low. Chances are you lack contacts (more in the next tip) at this stage, and you can start to accumulate these contacts when campaigning for a less prestigious position.
This can include campaigning for the position of ‘secretary’ and this can also include campaigning for the presidency of a more niche club (that you’re involved with), such as the chess or jazz club.
Depending on the position you aim to contest, like I mentioned earlier, you need to have contacts and relationships. If it’s a club, make sure you’re well acquainted with people that subscribe to that interest. For example, if you’re running as President for the drama club, make sure you’re a regular and contributing member, with plenty of friends in the club. Bonus points if you do major roles in the performances.
If you’re running for class president, show why you’re the best candidate by maintaining a large web of contacts. This can be done by generally being social, and by being helpful to people within the context of a club or outside it. Let them know you’re somebody they can rely on.
Having the impression of being reliable is strong. Bolster that feeling by identifying on-going issues, and attempt to address and resolve them. These issues can be anything; ranging from logistics issues facing your football club, or a conflict between groups of students. Keep in mind you should campaign only on issues that your office has the power to influence.
Your job is to organize, take a stand and rally support to resolve such problems. For example, rallying support for an issue where a student or a group of students is being discriminated against. Of course, such issues can get controversial, and may result in you getting alienated by your voter base, so tread lightly!
Use a slogan
A single, far-reaching and ideally catchy slogan can help you gain tons in rallying popular support. The slogan itself doesn’t need to be too complicated for that matter. A simple slogan such as ‘Vote Sarah Gibson’ can work just fine if it’s used consistently in all your communication.
The crucial thing to do is to pick a slogan, then stick with it. This exercise creates virality across social media, word of mouth and offline media (such as free flyers). This works much like a catchy hashtag on Twitter.
But slogans themselves don’t win you elections.
Carry a manifesto
A slogan should always be accompanied with a purpose, a goal and aspirations about your campaign. This should also reflect how you speak in public.
To make a successful speech, your introduction and manifesto should be the first things your audience needs to know. This should also reflect in other media that you may use for your campaign.
Make sure the promises you make are achievable in the constraints of your office. You should learn about the powers you get before applying for that office, so you can plan out ahead as to what you can promise.
Flyers and offline media
School flyers, posters and leaflets are great at spreading the word, and can create a lasting impression on your voter base. Creating one is super easy with PosterMyWall’s campaign flyer and poster templates.
Make sure to find out your school policy regarding such material. You will want to know beforehand the areas where using posters is not permitted, such as the administrative block.
You will also need to know school policy regarding distribution of items, such as leaflets and cards, so make your arrangements accordingly.
Templates also come in handy when organizing all kinds of events. You could design a neat high school reunion poster for the upcoming reunion party.
Stay cool-headed, goal-oriented and market yourself to as many people as possible. Running for election is a great learning experience, and getting the chance to be on the pedestal, even for a little while is awesome, and worth your time.