A manifesto is the most important document in running in an election. In fact, you are not allowed to run in a UPSU election without one! It’s what the voters will read when deciding who to vote for, so it’s important that you get it right! It should outline who you are and what you stand for. It can be difficult to get the balance right between being clear and concise whilst getting enough information in there. This handy guide is here to help you write the best manifesto you can!
What should you include?
The idea of a manifesto is to persuade people to vote for you. It should include a little bit about yourself and why you would be good at the role you are running for. The main focus of your manifesto should be what you would do if elected. This could include ideas on campaigns you would run or changes you would make
Research your ideas
To make your manifesto persuasive, you need to know what you are talking about! You should do some research about what the students at Plymouth University really care about. You should talk to as many students from different backgrounds as possible; especially those that will care about the role you are running for. By talking to students, you might get some good ideas for campaigns that will encourage their vote! You might also want to find some research and statistics that will back up your ideas and make them more persuasive in your manifesto.
Writing your manifesto
Writing an effective manifesto is a bit like writing a good speech. You should use emotive and active language that will help to sell your point. For example, using phrases like “I will” and “I have” are much stronger than those such as “I will try to” or “I was part of a team that…” At UPSU, you are targeting your manifesto at the student body. We recommend that you write fewer than 500 words and the shorter it can be whilst still getting your message across, the better. You could even use bullet points to help stay concise. It might also help for you to split your manifesto in two sections: 1) who are you? 2) what are your ideas?
Who are you?
People are more likely to vote for you if they understand a little about who you are. It is a good idea to write a short paragraph about yourself and why you have decided to run for the role. Don’t write your life story but do think about including examples about why you have the skills that make you perfect for the role!
What are your ideas?
This is the most important part of your manifesto – and you should outline everything you would like to do if you were to be successful. This could include campaign ideas, new ways of working and things you would like to change. You can put as many or as few ideas as you would like, but it’s a good idea to put back up your ideas with some research to show why they would work. Speak to UPSU staff and current officers to find out if your ideas are realistic and achievable. Also, do bear in mind that the student body is massively diverse! You will never be able to please everyone with your manifesto, so try and stick to what YOU are passionate about, and it’s more likely to come across in your manifesto.
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If you would like more help putting together a manifesto, please pop in and speak to the Student Voice Team who would be happy to talk you through it!
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