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Running for Local Office? Who to Hire vs. Who to Volunteer

Running for city council or another local office involves a local campaign that may not require a large team or a significant budget compared to higher-level elections. However, assembling the right team and balancing volunteers with paid team members is crucial for success. Here are some recommendations for building your campaign team and determining the balance between volunteers and paid staff.


1. Campaign Manager

Hire a campaign manager who has experience in local politics, grassroots organizing, or campaign management. They will oversee your entire campaign and coordinate activities.

Compensation: A part-time or full-time campaign manager might be appropriate, with a salary range of $30,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the campaign’s size and duration.

2. Volunteer Coordinator

Appoint a volunteer coordinator who can recruit, train, and manage campaign volunteers. This role can often be a part-time paid position.

Compensation: A part-time volunteer coordinator might be paid an hourly wage or a stipend, depending on the campaign’s resources.

3. Communications and Social Media Manager

Consider hiring or appointing someone to manage your campaign’s communications, social media, and online presence. This role can be part-time.

Compensation: Compensation for this role can vary but may range from $10,000 to $30,000 or more per year, depending on the scope of responsibilities.

4. Treasurer/Finance Manager

Ensure compliance with campaign finance regulations by appointing a treasurer or finance manager who can handle financial matters.

Compensation: This role might be part-time and paid an hourly rate or a stipend.

5. Field Organizer (Optional)

Depending on the size and scope of your campaign, you may consider hiring a part-time field organizer to coordinate local events, canvassing, and voter outreach efforts.

Compensation: This position may be part-time, with hourly or stipend-based pay.

6. Legal and Compliance Advisor (Optional)

If your campaign involves complex legal or compliance issues, consider consulting or hiring an attorney with campaign experience.

Compensation: Fees for legal services can vary, so consult with legal professionals for estimates.

Volunteers vs. Paid Team Members

For a city council campaign, volunteers can play a significant role, especially in areas like canvassing, phone banking, and community outreach. Recruit as many volunteers as you can to help with grassroots efforts.

Reserve paid team members for critical roles such as campaign management, communications, and compliance. The exact balance between volunteers and paid staff will depend on your campaign’s budget and needs.

Aim for a mix that allows you to maximize volunteer support while ensuring that essential campaign functions are adequately managed by paid staff.

Determining Pay for Paid Team Members

The compensation for paid team members should align with local wages, campaign budget, and the cost of living in your area.

For part-time or full-time roles, consider an hourly wage, stipend, or monthly salary. Be transparent about compensation during the recruitment process.

Campaign salaries for local elections can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more per year, depending on the responsibilities and location.

Remember that each campaign is unique, and your team’s size and composition should reflect your specific goals and available resources. Consult with local campaign experts and advisors to tailor your team structure and compensation to your city council campaign’s needs.