How to write a manifesto? Introduction So, you know which position you wish to run for. The next thing to figure out is what you wish to achieve in the role you have chosen. As a democratically elected representative of the student body, you have a great deal of freedom to shape the future of the Association and the student experience at Adam Smith College – so time to get thinking about what you would like to achieve. 1 What is a manifesto? A manifesto is the document which says who you are, what you intend to do should you get elected and why people should vote for you. A manifesto is simply a brief summary of your ambitions - this will set out what you want to achieve in your term of office. To make your goals achievable there are a couple of considerations you will need to take into account. 1.1 Time If you are elected you will have less than 8 months to achieve your objectives! Bearing this in mind, some of your most important objectives will need to be achieved with the first 3 months of your election to have the greatest impact with students. 1.2 Money By the time you are elected, the budgets for the forthcoming year will have already been set and approved by the previous year’s officers and the permanent staff. There is a degree of flexibility in the budgets and you will be able to shape the activities within your role. However because money will have been allocated into specific areas you will need to appreciate these when forming your goals. 2 Writing a Manifesto The manifestos for all candidates will be collected together and published into a manifesto booklet, which voters will use to decide who to vote for. In section 3 of this document you will find an example manifesto that will help to get you started - please treat this as a very loose example, if you try and emulate it too closely voters will spot it. Make your manifesto your own, and try and remember what you would want to read if you were a voter. For example, what would you want your Campus Convenor to do for you? What would make you vote for Convenor X over Convenor Y? Each position is completely different from the next. Select your position carefully as it will help you greatly if you are passionate about the area in which you are standing. Try to get that passion and commitment to come across in your manifesto. Manifestos should be on an A4 sheet – both sides 3 Example Manifesto This manifesto below (indicated in italics) was used several years ago to campaign for the position of General Secretary, a position which is now defunct since a re-organisation, so there is no point copying it. Study the requirements for the position you are interested in instead, and gear you manifesto around that. Vote XXXXXXXXXX No. 1 for General Secretary! Hi, my name is XXXXXXXXXX I'm studying XXXXXXXX and I'm running for the position of General Secretary. I have been a member of two societies and last year I was a class rep. Why me? I am passionate about student life and I believe that your days at College should be some of the best days of your life. I aim to be open and be able to keep you informed with what is happening with your union. The next year is going to be an exciting time with the beginning of the relocation of the students’ association. I hope to see that the transition to the new union runs as smoothly as possible. If elected as General Secretary I intend to: • Be approachable and open to suggestions and comments by all. • Make sure that with all the changes that are coming that you stay in control. • See a greater input of ideas from a broader range people so that your union is run in the fairest way possible. So What Now? All you have to do now is come to the hustings, listen to the speeches and make up your mind and on XXXXXX go to a ballot box and cast your vote! Make a difference, vote XXXXXX no. 1 4 Submission All manifestos should be submitted both in printed and electronic format. • All original hardcopies must have the candidates name, position, and type clearly visible on the front. E.g. “Joseph Bloggs for Depute President” • Electronic documents should likewise be titled with the candidates name, position and title, e.g. “JosephBloggsDeputeManifesto.doc”. Microsoft Word documents are preferable. Should you choose to type your answers in a different word processor, please save your file as plain text. Such documents should then be titled “JosephBloggsDeputeManifesto.txt”. Submission of electronic documents should be made via a pen drive readable by a PC or you can email it in to firstname.lastname@example.org Macintosh users should ensure that a correct format is selected, and that file extensions are added to document names as above. Floppy disks are acceptable if access to a pen drive is not available. Remember - writing an election manifesto needn’t be something to tear your hair out about. Essentially, your manifesto should state what you would plan to do in your time of office, and what changes you would make. It isn’t an excuse to bad mouth your opposition, or make unrealistic promises. Take some time before you write it to think about what you believe you can achieve and what the voters would respond to. Some top tips: • Be concise and use clear language. Avoid long, complicated words – you won’t win awards for being clever and you might just alienate important voters. • Please ensure you use an easy to read font, like Arial or Times New Roman; text should not be smaller than font size 12. • Set out your goals for your time in office and ensure they are realistic & achievable – officers are answerable to the student body who might decide to ask why you’ve not managed to rebuild the Union building. • Your manifesto is about you and not about your opponents. Avoid discrediting and disrespecting others as it is not professional and ultimately it could lead to a libel lawsuit! • Be relevant. Examples of where you have shown leadership, tenacity, and tact would indicate to voters your suitability for the role, even if you have no previous union experience. • Be creative and inspiring. Good luck!