Leadership strategy: part 2 – finances.

This applies both federally and provincially. Before you decide to make an all-or-nothing grab for the leadership reins of your political party, you have to make sure of the money. As crass and pedestrian as the subject might be, we have seen too many good people hamstring themselves politically over the fairy tales they told themselves about money.

Sure, you know that your old friend Sam is good for a fulsome donation and you know Sam is an honourable person. The problem is that unless you have the cheque from Sam and the bank has cleared it, you really do not know about that money. Things happen. People do funny things. Always get the money up front.

And you cannot go cheap. You are going to spend every penny allowed and some pennies in addition that might be questionable. Let your financial person control it and you maintain deniability. The best financial people are the ones who will go to jail for you.

You should definitely try not to get involved with one of these ‘big spender’ campaign managers. A campaign must have a strict budget and a campaign manager who can work within it. No candidate for office should have to dig into their own pockets at the end of a campaign to cover for the campaign manager’s bright ideas.

Leadership campaigns are particularly tough to budget because of the two phase costing involved. The division is between meeting and communicating with party voters in their electoral districts and the television hoopla at the end of the campaign. They are distinctly different activities and both hard to control from the financial standpoint. In both cases, you have to concentrate on your voting lists. If it is a delegated convention such as the Ontario Liberal one coming in January, you have a better chance for control. An open convention such as the federal Liberal leadership in April next year is more like a war where you are never sure where to point your cannon.

In the federal leadership, you need three deputy campaign managers. They are the social media manager, the news media manager and the computer lists manager. The better and the more cohesive the brain trust that supports your four managers, the more effective will be your campaign.

In the simpler delegated convention as in Ontario, the key manager under the campaign manager is the communications person. This requires level-headed texting of hundreds of people in an instant to take full advantage of events as they happen on the convention floor. In all cases it is your managers’ knowledge of who are the delegate’s second and third choices that can make the difference.

And always save a few loonies at the end for the beer and/or the crying towels.

This discussion will continue.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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