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Manifesto Writing: Hints and Tips

Your manifesto is the most important element in your election campaign. It explains to students why you want to represent them and why they should vote for you. You will need to submit a 250-word manifesto in your nomination no matter what role you are applying for.

There are four main stages of writing an impactful manifesto to help your message reach voters efficiently: Gathering Ideas, Boiling Down the Ideas, Get SMART, and Take it for a Test Drive!

 

1. Gathering Ideas

Arguably the first stage of gathering ideas is the most important. This is where you need to ask yourself two key questions: why am I standing and what do I want to achieve? These answers from these questions will be the starting point of your manifesto. Within these two overarching questions there will be other things to consider and ask yourself. These could include: what has driven you to run? What is it that you want to change? How will you change things? Has there been something you’ve experienced as a student that you want to improve for students? What solutions do you offer?

Remember to mention any relevant experience you have had; sports and societies; volunteering; course rep. After all who you are and what you believe in can help others understand you and your reasons for standing.

If you haven’t fully decided what role to apply for then at this stage you might also want to consider having a detailed look at the job descriptions, for all the roles and see where your ideas would best fit.  Likewise you might want to talk to current officers, see what they set out to achieve in their role, what they have found both challenging and rewarding to help you decide what role to nominate yourself for.

If you have already decided what role suits your mission then this might be a good opportunity to find out what has been achieved by current and recent post holders. Likewise, talking to the current student leaders in the post might give you some more advice on your manifesto and campaign strategy.

 

2. Boiling Down the Ideas

Hopefully at this point you have lots of ideas of what you want to cover in your manifesto, it’s time to start the cull. Some of your ideas, whilst brilliant, might not be realistic – for example building a giant slide in the James Parsons Building sounds like an amazing idea, but will never happen.

Remember that there is a 250 word limit for your manifesto, within we ask you give three commitments of which you would work on if you were elected. For each commitment, give a headline, and then any explanatory text you would like to add. Also, be considerate that some students may not know what an SU is or why they should vote, so ensure to make sure they can understand what you’re promising and issues you want to tackle.

 

3. Get SMART

We’re not talking about your dress code but instead to the tool SMART that will help you focus your objectives and make sure that you have clear manifesto points.

So what is SMART?

  • Specific: Is your point clearly defined?
  • Measurable: Can you measure whether or not it was successful?
  • Achievable: Is it actually going to happen?
  • Relevant: Do students actually care about this?
  • Time-bound: When will you have it completed by?

For example, “By the end of the academic year 2020/21, at least 50% of all sports teams will be led by women”

 

4. Take it for a Test Drive

Speak to your friends, classmates, maybe a society or team you are a part of and ask them their thoughts. This is a key part of the writing process because it will give you some feedback on your ideas and help you to see if you’re on to a winner! So there you go- four stages to writing a great, interesting, and impactful manifesto!

 

Final Pointers: 

  • Speak to students – find out what they want.
  • Avoid writing your manifesto as one long paragraph. Don’t write anything that isn’t true.
  • Think about why you would vote for someone and keep that in mind when writing to get others to vote for you.
  • Say something different.
  • Don’t use jargon or acronyms that only a minority of students will understand.
  • Create snappy titles for your aims and be concise with the description.
  • Make sure people know which position you are running for.
  • Don’t forget to tell people to vote for you!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the team at: elections@ljmu.ac.uk

Good luck!