There may be some confusion when it comes to the different roles involved in a campaign. Some campaigns call for a campaign manager and a consultant. What is the difference? Can I go with one or the other? In this article we will discuss the different elements of each role and what they both provide. 

The campaign manager role is extremely important and helps facilitate the campaign’s strategic plan. The manager reports directly to the candidate. He or she is responsible for managing the campaign in agreement with the candidate’s mission, vision, and values. The campaign manager is also responsible for ensuring the campaign is organized, and as a result makes decisions effectively, efficiently, and quickly. The campaign manager must have final approval (next to the candidate) of the budget and all sponsoring decisions. 

You may ask yourself, does my campaign need a campaign manager? MasterClass Staff states, “Managing a campaign is also a full-time job for serious candidates running for statewide office (like governor or attorney general) or national office (like a senator or U.S. representative).” Not all campaigns are designed to operate under a campaign manager, but for different positions, one would be highly advisable. 

The role of a political consultant is different and slightly more focused than that of a campaign manager. Political consultants are experts in particular areas of planning and running campaigns who take on advisory roles. Consultants focus on everything it takes to run a campaign – from digital, to canvassing, marketing and data and polling. They plan everything out and make sure it is executed properly. Managers oversee the entire campaign – usually in front of the public eye, while consultants focus on the specific elements of the campaign, from behind the scenes. 

A political consultant is also responsible for planning campaign strategies, coordinating the staff for the campaign and “selling” the public on the politicians they represent. Using various methods of contact, political consultants introduce politicians and their ideas and beliefs to their constituents. It is the responsibility of the consultant to do everything between crafting narratives, and guiding the candidates through the process of a campaign. 

If you decide your campaign needs both a manager and a consultant – working together is key. Achieving victory should be the goal of any role that makes up the campaign. Advisors, consultants and managers take part in writing the campaign plan, hiring and managing the core team responsible for the campaign’s operation; and lastly, making strategic and tactical decisions throughout the race. Each role is crucial and brings different elements to the campaign. Whatever your role is, it is essential to be there for the campaign and the candidate – because that is what matters most in the end.