You’ve submitted your nomination, it’s now time to start planning your campaign! This page will tell you all about how you can run a successful campaign.

Campaigning stage

You’ve submitted your nomination, it’s now time to start planning your campaign! This page will tell you all about how you can run a successful campaign.

Stage 2 - Campaigning

Once you’ve submitted your nomination, it’s time to start planning your campaign. If you haven’t submitted your online nomination yet, please make sure to get your nomination in before the deadline - Tuesday 8th February at 12pm (noon).


Campaigning is the term we use for all the things you – and other candidates – do to make students aware of the elections and convince them to vote for you. This year, the continued impact of the Covid-19 outbreak means that you’ll need to consider how your campaign can reach students that are studying remotely as well as students that are studying on campus.


Read the election rules here

Campaigns come in all shapes and sizes, so get creative and come up with a campaign that tells people who you are and what you want to achieve if elected.

Generally speaking, an effective campaign will have:

  • A clear 50-word statement (required) and manifesto (optional, but highly recommended) that outlines your ideas and policies.
  • A good photo so students can recognise you if they meet you in online meetings or on campus.
  • A plan for how you will reach students and convince them to vote for you.
  • A campaign team of people (e.g. friends, housemates or course mates) who can help you with your campaign.

Your manifesto is an opportunity to explain to students who you are, what you will do if elected and why they should vote for you. It could include your general priorities, specific projects you will work on or the skills and experiences you would bring to the role. You submit your manifesto on qmsu.org as part of the nominations form (where it says ‘Manifesto’).

Key requirements:

  • If you submit a manifesto, you must also submit a plain-text version of your manifesto for accessibility. Plain-text means text only (use a standard black font, size 11 or 12) and should not include any images/graphics.
  • If you submit an image manifesto, it must be saved in the JPEG file format and cannot exceed one A4 page.
  • You can be as creative as you like – your manifesto can be in colour and have pictures, but it’s a good idea to keep the font simple and use colours that contrast, so it’s easy for people to read.
How to write a manifesto

No – we always encourage you to have a team of friends around to support you! Having a support system in place can help you and your campaign. Friends can help spread the message about your campaign more widely, so you’re likely to have a bigger reach. They can also be an important source of emotional support and encouragement – if you’re feeling tired or stressed, a friendly smile and some encouraging words can make a big difference!

Your campaign team might include:

  • Friends or housemates
  • People you know from your course
  • Friends from a student group or activity you’re involved in

Note on student group involvement in elections

Please note that affiliated student groups (including Students’ Union societies, clubs, volunteering groups and student media outlets) are not allowed to endorse candidates. If any of your supporters also have a role within a student group, you must make sure that it is clear they are endorsing you as an individual and not in the capacity of their role. They also must not use student group social media accounts or resources to help your campaign.

Once you have put together a campaign team, it’s a good idea to coordinate with everyone to make sure they are on the same page. Some top tips are:

  • Thank them! Your campaign team are offering their own time and effort in order to help you get elected, so it’s important to thank them for their support.
  • Brief them on your manifesto, explaining what your key priorities and policies are and why students should vote for you.
  • Check what support they can offer. Will they run your social media accounts? Proofread your manifesto? Can they record a video in support of you? It’s important to plan ahead, especially as they may have other commitments.
  • Run through the election rules together. You are responsible for your supporters’ conduct as well as your own, so it can have consequences for you if a complaint is made about one of them.

Running as a slate

You can choose to run in the elections as part of a ‘slate’ – this involves a group of candidates campaigning together under a common campaign name, which also appears on the ballot. If you are running as a slate, you will need to agree on a name with the other candidates and include this when submitting the nomination form. A slate cannot have more than one candidate for each position. If you are part of a slate, you may share publicity and campaign for each other, however, in the interest of fairness, the candidate budget is reduced for each additional person who is part of the slate (see 'Is there a budget available?’ below for details).

You may have seen how candidates in past elections have been present on campus and have campaigned in person. Some students are still studying remotely, and many students are coming to campus less frequently than before the pandemic. For this reason, we recommend that you plan to do some online campaigning to make sure you reach as many students as possible. If you want to, you can also incorporate some on-campus campaigning (see the next section for advice about on-campus campaigning).

We know a lot of candidates will be new to online campaigning, so we’ve collated some ideas to get you started, but we also encourage you to think creatively and come up with innovative campaign ideas!

Here are our top tips for online campaigning:

  • Use different social media platforms to reach different students. Not all students use the same platforms, so don’t rely on one social media platform to get your message out.
  • Create a coherent brand that is easy to recognise across different platforms. You can consider things like your font, colours, slogan etc. If your campaign has a clear brand, it will make you stand out, and students will recognise your campaign across different platforms.
  • You may not be able to do on-campus lecture shout-outs, but why not do some online lecture shout-outs? Remember to ask the lecturer for permission first!
  • Give students an opportunity to interact with your campaign. Organise a virtual drop-in session or create a virtual badge that people can show on their social media accounts to show their support.
  • Take the opportunities that are made available to you. In the interest of fairness, the same opportunities must be made available to all candidates that run for the same position. If you’re lucky, other candidates for your position are proactively seeking out opportunities, so you may get some unexpected opportunities that way.

The Students’ Union will also be promoting the elections on our website and social media, and we’re working with schools and teams within the University to get them to help with the promotion. You may also be contacted by Student Media. It is completely optional for you to engage with schools, Student Media and the Students’ Union’s promotion initiatives, but we encourage you to make the most of these opportunities.

More students are now back on campus, and if you want to, you are welcome to campaign on campus. This is, however, not a requirement, and you are welcome to run a fully online campaign.

We want to ensure everyone feels safe, so we’ve put together some guidelines for on-campus campaigning:

  • Only campaign on campus if you feel it is safe to do so. Everyone has different circumstances, and we want to emphasise that on-campus campaigning is optional! If you do not feel comfortable campaigning on campus, please plan an online-only campaign.
  • Follow the university’s covid rules at all times.
  • Please carefully note any relevant signage on campus and adhere to any instructions given to you by university staff or Students’ Union staff (even if they are asking you to leave a space and stop your campaigning activity in that space).
  • Respect people’s personal space. Even if you feel comfortable approaching someone to speak about your elections campaign, other students may not feel comfortable in such situations. If you want to approach people, please be mindful of other people’s personal space and do not assume that you can get close to someone without asking for permission first.
  • Bring a face covering, so you can put it on if you are in a busy space or someone prefers to speak to you while you’re wearing a face covering.
  • Do not – under any circumstances – campaign on campus if you have been told to self-isolate, feel unwell or have covid symptoms. If you were to fall ill during the elections period, please be prepared to continue your campaign online (if you have a campaign team, they can continue to campaign on campus on your behalf).
  • Please help the Cleaning Team by not leaving flyers or other elections materials on tables and surfaces (unless you have explicitly been given permission to do so). If you leave your elections materials on surfaces, these may be removed without notice to enable the Cleaning Team to clean all surfaces.
  • If you choose to give out sweets or other food/drink items as part of your campaign, we encourage you to give out individually wrapped items. Please keep the list of ingredients and clearly display any allergens, so people can check the ingredients if they have an allergy or dietary requirement. If you are giving out homemade food/drinks, you must clearly label the items as homemade.

With those points out of the way, let’s look at some top tips for a successful on-campus campaign:

  • Be consistent with your elections design across different platforms – for example, you can select a specific colour or use the same fonts across all your materials (online and printed materials) to ensure students recognise your campaign.
  • Be where students are! Consider where your target group are going to be on campus. Library Square might feel like the obvious choice, but if you are running for a position that caters to a smaller subset of the student population (e.g. a Course Rep role), it might be more effective to specifically target the spaces that your fellow students are going to be using most frequently.
  • Be prepared to introduce yourself and your ideas very quickly. Students might not have a lot of time to listen to your pitch, so you may find it helpful to prepare a 10-second pitch that you can use if people are in a hurry. And don’t forget to mention your name – otherwise students will not be able to find you on the elections system.
  • Don’t take it personally if someone ignores you or don’t want to hear about your ideas.

If you are completely unable to come to campus during the campaigning and voting period (e.g. for health reasons or due to travel restrictions), the Elections Team can put printed copies of your elections materials up in the Students’ Union Hub and the BLSA Building. We are only able to provide this service to candidates that are unable to campus, so please only request this service if you are unable to come to campus. For further information, please contact su-representation@qmul.ac.uk.

Each candidate can spend up to £50 on their campaign. You cannot spend any more than this. The Students’ Union will reimburse a proportion of the money that you spend on your campaign – this is normally around 50% of your total spending, however it depends on how many candidates there are in total.

If you are part of a slate, your budget will be reduced for each additional candidate. You can use the table below to calculate your budget.

Number of candidates Maximum budget
1 £50
2 £75
3 £87.50
4+ An additional £12.50 per candidate

You must keep all your receipts and keep a log of all your expenditure. To be reimbursed, you will need to submit an Expense Claim Form with your bank details along with the receipts for any purchases you would like to be reimbursed for. Candidates who are elected will also be required to submit an Expenditure Form to show that they have not exceeded the maximum budget.

If you plan to use any items that you already own when campaigning, you will need to value them using a minimum value list available from su-elections@qmul.ac.uk. Items you already own cannot be reimbursed. If you purchased an item outside the UK, you will need to find a quote from a UK supplier showing what the value would be if it was purchased in the UK. If you are unsure of how to value an item, you can contact us at su-elections@qmul.ac.uk.

Download expense claim form Download expenditure form

When you run in an election, you’re putting yourself and your ideas in the spotlight, and it is to be expected that some students will disagree with you. While political debates are encouraged, we do not tolerate abuse or harassment, so if you think someone is being abusive toward or harassing you (or your campaign supporters), we encourage you to seek support and guidance from the Elections Team (email us on su-elections@qmul.ac.uk). In some cases, there may be grounds for a complaint to the Deputy Returning Officer or the University, and we can guide you through these processes.

If you wish to make a complaint, it is important that you can present evidence of your claims. The type of evidence will depend on the situation, but you could, for example, take screenshots or photos. Even if you do not have any evidence, our team is here to support you, so don’t hesitate to reach out for support if something has happened!

Complaints can be made by emailing a completed complaints form to su-elections@qmul.ac.uk. To ensure that complaints can be investigated in a timely manner, we ask you to submit your complaint as soon as possible after the incident has happened. Complaints about campaigning must be submitted no later than 5pm on 4th November (an hour after the voting period has ended). Complaints about the elections count must be submitted within 24 hours of the declaration of results. Late complaints will not be accepted.

Download complaints form

Contact Us

Student Voice Team