Posted by DemocracyKit on 03/17/2017

Ange Valentini, Campaign Manager | The role of a campaign manager

Video TypeInterview
Campaign AreaExplore-Campaign Team,Get Out The Vote,

Ange Valentini, Campaign Manager, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


0:00 - The role of a campaign manager - What is the role?

The role of the campaign manager is actually the person who is like the captain of the ship. You're responsible for the crew. There's no one nice way to say this... So I actually think that the campaign manager is just as important as the candidate in any campaign. So the candidate's job once once you have decided that you're running, once you've identified what your core values are and what you want to accomplish when you're elected to office so that's that's actually the value proposition: the three things you really want to change in the world. The candidate's job is to be out talking to voters all day, every day from sunup to sundown and sometimes longer than that; to be empathetic; to be smiling; to be listening; and to be pitching the three things they care about, what they're going to do about it. To the voters, all of the other details about how you manage a campaign are in the hands of the campaign manager. So the campaign manager is responsible for managing the finances, not necessarily doing all the fundraising but making sure that the fundraising team is taken care of bringing the resources, connecting with the CFO or the official agent of the campaign and making sure that at- for no reason ever is a rule being broken or, or going awry. They're responsible for knowing that the canvas director is on top of managing the team. So you've got your door canvas, you've got your phone canvas, you've got your digital campaign, you've got your- in a lot of communities you might have a particular multilingual outreach team or you know, neighbourhood-specific teams. You could- campaigns work with a snowflake model, where you have a block captain who's rolling out. So the campaign manager isn't responsible for knowing all the details of how those things are being scheduled and carried out, but they're, they're, they're connecting with the campaign, the canvas director and making sure that those things are happening, that targets are being met. And the campaign manager is responsible for not necessarily being the rock or the foundation point for the candidate, but in a lot of cases you are, because actually facing the public every day, all day in the snow, in the rain, which is often the case in Canada, is emotionally exhausting and your candidate's going to need an outlet for like where they're like "oh my god why, why am I doing this? Like I was chased by three dogs today, like four of the seniors who I thought loved me because of all that thing I did at the senior centre screamed at me about how useless I was and like if they don't have my back then why am I even in this??" So you can't- it's got to have an outlet for that and it should always be the campaign manager because their partner when they get home and hasn't seen them for like, you know, more than two hours in the last three weeks is probably gonna say "I don't know why you're doing it. Like what don't just like come home and like let's just go to Cuba for a week or whatever?" And you certainly don't want them sharing those feelings with anyone who's a community influencer and your candidate's close circle of friends are probably the Chair of the parent council or the local soccer captain. So you don't want anyone outside of the campaign to see a fissure so the campaign manager really is a rock to the candidate. But candidates don't like this, but, but really the reality is in a campaign once the campaign is rolling, the candidate has relinquished the keys; they're no longer the driver. They're, they're, they're in the back seat of the car being driven or on the back of the bicycle if you're- depending on, on what your mode of transportation is but it's really the campaign manager who has all the responsibility and should have all the trust to be making the day-to-day calls and they can't do it all themselves, they need to have a really good team behind them that they're delegating to and supporting and managing. But it's huge role being a campaign manager. It's not something you do off the side of your desk.

4:30 - The role of a campaign manager - On election day

On E-Day, so here's the thing: most campaigns are long. Even, and even if it's like three weeks or three months, at the end of the campaign it's going to have felt like it was really long.  And so I think that when you're planning a
campaign it's really critical to know that by the time E-Day rolls around your campaign manager is going to be just as rung out as your candidate is.  And so a really critical part of planning your campaign team is having an E-Day chair or an E-Day coordinator and, and basically E-Day planning should start at the same time that the election campaign plan starts.  And it's a group of fresh people and a couple of designates who've been on your team the whole time who are feeding information into that process but somebody else is driving the car on Election Day. As a campaign manager on Election Day, I usually try to plan a day for my candidate that I think is going to give them a certain amount of fun and a certain amount of work that they don't feel like they're leaving anything to chance. I usually try to find like their- their closest friends and allies and line up opportunities for them to go canvass with those people in a block where I know they're going to get some love, some Main Street lunch in a local restaurant where like they're likely to be seen.  And that restaurant or- is going to- it's going to mean a lot to them that this person is there. Getting them to go vote with their kids if they have kids or a couple of their really good friends from their soccer team or whatever, depending on who the candidate is. And, and I either run his own house where I'm like, I'm out of the campaign office, I'm off of, I'm like I'm not in the hot seat and I'm, I'm doing something so I'm keeping myself busy but I'm also not panicked and hysterical and trying to second-guess somebody else's leadership either so, and if there's trouble like, if there's like some sort of thing that's blown up in the media you're available and you're managing that issue. Unless your candidate really needs to respond, you've got your plan, you stick to the plan and you don't deviate from it and it's a "keep calm, carry on" kind of day.

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