How to write a Great Manifesto

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How to write a Great Manifesto

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How to write a Great Manifesto

GCU Students’ Association




Generating Ideas


Creating Pledges



Generating Ideas

Although it may sound simple, the best way to get started is to sit down with a pen and paper and write out all of your ideas

They might not all be great ideas but they will all help you cover everything that you might want to include


Generating Ideas

There isn’t just one correct way to generate ideas for your manifesto but here are a few that you should find useful:

Think about your own student experience – what would have made things better for you in your time at GCU?

Think about all the different types of GCU students – different ages, nationalities, degree programmes etc. What different things to different groups of students want?

Think about why people are here – what do they want to get out of university? What is of the most importance to them

Think about what the Students’ Association already does – could this be done better or improved? Is there something we should stop doing?



Now you have some “good” ideas you need to do some research before they are ready to go into your manifesto

Research can take many forms but most importantly, some is better than none



The best research allows you to be confident that your idea will be popular with students. Some general things to consider that will point you in the right direction:

Web resources –


– NUS have lots of useful information about students generally and the issues they are facing and the GCU Students’ Association website has lots of information on what we have done in the past and what our plans are (the About Us section is very useful).

has a wealth of information available at individual programme level

Speak to the current officers - this cannot be stressed enough but year after year candidates put pledges in their manifesto that are either already happening or impossible!

Survey students – your friends, people on your course, random people in the Saltire Centre. Check that your ideas are credible with real people.


Creating Pledges

Now you have ideas that are supported by research, it is time to turn them into a pledge that you can use in your campaign

Some candidates like to make these rhyme or use some other type of word play but the most important thing is to make sure that a pledge is short and can be easily understood

Your pledge doesn’t have to be heavy on details but it does have to be specific. “More good things, less bad things” is not sufficient.


Creating Pledges

The Pledge Checklist

Is this something new?

Will it benefit all or most students? (or disadvantage very few)

Can it be easily understood?

Does this make me different from other candidates?

Will most people agree with it?



There are some things that should appear on all manifestos:

your name

the position you are standing for

when and how people can vote for you

After that it is sensible to include

your pledges

a photograph (who was that person who spoke at my lecture?)

a short biography (course, interests, experience in the University or SA)

Then you can include other things that you think might be useful

links to social media

email address

more photographs

more details on your pledges (on page 2)

Once your manifesto is complete make sure to proof read it thoroughly and get a friend or two to check it over

Use appropriate humour if you wish as students will respond well to something which make them smile!



Creating a great looking manifesto is surprisingly easy and requires no advanced computing skills

Microsoft Word, for example, contains many examples of flyer templates that can work well for candidates

The current officers’ manifestos are on our website and the Deputy Returning Officer will be circulating some more examples

When you have the finished article do share it with a few friends and get their feedback as once voting opens you can’t make any changes.

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