Topics: Campaign Staff, Republican, Elected Officials, First-Time Candidates, Strategy, Expert Advice, General Consulting, Polling, Digital Marketing, Fundraising, Small-Dollar Fundraising

Campaign Staff: 7 Essential Roles for Republican Campaigns

Build Your Winning Republican Campaign Team

Whether you're running state-wide for U.S. Senate or running for a legislative seat or local office, all Republican campaigns have vital roles to fill. These roles are just as crucial for first-time candidates as they are for incumbents.

On larger-scale campaigns, Republican campaign professionals – individuals, small teams, or vendors – generally fill most of the essential roles. For smaller-scale campaigns, a few individuals involved – often family members and friends – will likely wear multiple hats to fill these roles in some form or fashion.

Essential Roles for Your Political Campaign

The bottom line is every well-prepared, and ultimately successful campaign should have these roles top of mind out of the gate. Responsibilities for consultants, vendors, staff, and volunteers involved need to be assigned.

And if you're a Republican candidate, remember this one word: DELEGATE!

Running for office is a full-time job. Do all you can to avoid spreading yourself too thin. The candidate should focus nearly all of their time – a finite resource that must be used wisely – on raising money and meeting voters.

Keep reading for the 7 Essential Roles for Republican Campaigns

Table of Contents

Before we outline your list of 7 Essential Roles for Republican Campaigns, let us first address your candidate:


Protect the Candidate

The candidate is the hub – every one of the following roles directly impacts the candidate and their election performance in one way or another.

As touched on above, use the candidate's time wisely as it will be limited. Schedule your calendar with public events and fundraising opportunities, including private events and time allocated to making major donor calls.

Designate a scheduler responsible for fielding and managing all of the candidate's requests for time and appearances. This person must be organized and will communicate regularly with the candidate.

The 7 Essential Roles for Republican Campaigns

Campaign Strategy

Role #1: Campaign Strategy

The campaign strategist is a crucial senior role, typically filled by a professional General Consultant (GC) or Campaign Manager. In some cases, these professionals serve double duty in additional functions such as pollster, broadcast media vendor, or direct mail vendor.

This role is responsible for creating the campaign's overall structure and overseeing all aspects of the campaign, from strategy and tactics to branding and messaging to finance.

If you decide to run, fill this senior role ASAP after spending some time meeting with potential candidates. Trust will be important – your strategist will help you fill out your team and be your go-to on the ins and outs of campaigning.

You can read some expert advice on hiring a general consultant here.

Campaign Digital

Role #2: Campaign Digital

In today's world, digital or "new media" is vital to your GOP campaign. A solid digital campaign is critical to your campaign launch and building winning momentum from Day One. Hiring your digital vendor should be a priority before making your campaign official.

A top Republican digital agency should do a great deal more for you than spend out your ad budget. Look for a digital firm that finds ways to enhance all aspects of your campaign with digital.

Digital vendors should have core digital marketing competencies in advertising, creative, and ideally fundraising. Look for sophisticated audience targeting and analytics capabilities with in-house expertise to drive acquisition and make course adjustments as needed.

Today digital functions at the core of your political campaign, from collecting contributions to recruiting donors, volunteers, and supporters to getting out the vote on Election Day; digital touches it all. This overarching impact is why even campaigns on a shoestring budget benefit from working with the best Republican digital firms.

Full-scaled digital agencies use a vast toolset to enhance your campaign, including Facebook ads, online display and search advertising, digital video targeting, email and text messaging, creative development, overall digital strategy, and more.

On your campaign side, make sure to designate a person on your campaign team responsible for posting content to social media and sending small-scale volunteer emails. These digital responsibilities are best handled locally, in real-time.

Polling & Research

Role #3: Polling & Research

Nearly every campaign invests in some level of polling and data analysis to inform its overall strategy, message development, and audience targeting—Orient your thinking around polling as "market research" for political campaigns.

In recent years, many pollsters have innovated to provide additional value to campaigns. Candidates and their teams should leverage these insights to drive content and creative development and maximize the impact advertising spends.

A close friend or family member should not fill this role on your campaign. (Unless this person happens to be a bonafide professional pollster.)

You can read some expert advice on polling and pollsters here.

Traditional Media

Role #4: Traditional Media

Most large-scale campaigns have vendors that are responsible for direct mail programs and broadcast media advertising. We are all familiar with these traditional marketing mediums. Top direct mail and broadcast consultants are experts at crafting and delivering your message to voters.

Direct mail firms are relied on to reach the mailboxes of Republican donors, supporters, and primary and general election voters. They are responsible for managing the entire process of creating, printing, and timing the delivery of all mass mail communications. They can help produce non-mail items such as palm cards and door-to-door literature as well.

Broadcast media firms have traditionally been responsible for producing television and radio advertisements and leading the process of purchasing airtime on local stations. Many broadcast media firms are expanding capabilities to meet the demands of digital.

Like pollsters, you should rely on traditional media firms to fill these roles on your campaign in all but the rarest of circumstances.

Finance & Compliance

Role #5: Finance & Compliance

Campaigns at every level have official paperwork and reporting obligations. These requirements included campaign filings with local, state, or federal authorities as well as finance reports. And of course, there are also checks to be deposited and bills to be paid.

It should NEVER be the candidate's responsibility to fill these roles.

Pro Tip: Confiscate all donations handed to your candidate ASAP and save yourself the headache of calling frustrated donors to request replacement checks.

Poor handling of these responsibilities can trip up your campaign, from potential legal issues to bad press. Make sure you have a trustworthy and responsible individual or team charged with carrying out these duties.

A campaign treasurer will be responsible in this area, but many campaigns delegate various duties to different individuals or vendors. Some tools and consultants specialize in these services and can help.


Role #6: Fundraising

Campaigns require resources – in many ways, money is ultimately the lifeblood of a successful campaign. This is why fundraising is so crucial.

Every campaign needs a well-rounded approach to raising money. It should include major donor fundraising via phone calls, holding events, direct mail, telephone fundraising, and digital small-dollar fundraising. Republican fundraising will typically involve a mix of vendors with different specializations.

There should be a point person on every campaign to set goals, monitor performance, and share reporting with the campaign team.

One key fundraising role is managing and supporting the candidate's time making major donor fundraising calls. This fundraiser creates call lists, ensures call follow-ups, and often accompanies the candidate in dialing for dollars. Every state has Republican fundraisers who specialize in helping GOP candidates with fundraising.

Field Staff & Communications

Role #7: Field Staff & Communications

Your campaign should have someone on the ground managing field operations, usually the responsibility of a Campaign Manager or Field Director. This person will be (or become) familiar with the local press, grassroots activists, and the political environment.

A primary press contact, such as a Press Secretary or Communications Director, will spend their time developing and getting out press releases, organizing press events, taking media calls, and leading efforts to get out the candidate's message on social media.

Other hired field staff help with everything from handing out campaign literature to installing yard signs to staffing local events. A "body person" should be designated to drive to events and keep on schedule, allowing the candidate to make phone calls and recharge between appearances and events.

Empower Your Campaign

Empower Your Campaign

Avoid confusion in your campaign by delegating the 7 Essential Roles for Republican Campaigns. Whether you are putting together a local, grassroots campaign, or a large state-wide race, all of these roles will be important. Clear delineation of responsibilities at the outset of your campaign will have your campaign prepared to succeed. Investing the time to make these decisions early on will empower the campaign to evolve and grow rapidly while focusing on essentials.

The road to victory is hard-fought, but implementing a solid framework for your campaign makes visualizing your victory easier.

Our expert strategists at The Prosper Group can help you take your campaign further with digital.

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The Prosper Group is an internationally-recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency headquartered in Indianapolis. The firm specializes in online media, strategy, and fundraising for Republican political candidates, advocacy organizations, associations, and non-profits. The Prosper Group's best-in-industry work has been recognized for awards dozens of times by prestigious organizations such as the American Association of Political Consultants and Campaigns & Elections.

The firm has worked in tandem with Trump for President 2016, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman John Katko, the National Association of Manufacturers, Fox News, and many other candidates and organizations.

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