When I started in DECA, I never imagined being an officer. However, I knew that I wanted to inspire others the way DECA members had inspired me. Campaigning was inevitable after being a chapter president, association officer, and now an executive officer. Most of the time campaigns in school are based on popularity, but DECA strives to show that leading is based on who you truly are and your passion for serving the organization. With experience in campaigning at each office level, here are the biggest tips I can give:
1. Be Specific
When it comes to initiatives and goals, knowing them like the back of your hand and how to accomplish them is important. Depending on what office you’re campaigning for, there may be the chance that your initiative may not work due to resources, time, etc., so having an open idea that can adapt is even better. You can have a great idea, but if you don’t outline how you want to accomplish it, people are less likely to vote for you.
2. Start Connecting NOW
Even if you have an inkling of the idea of running, it’s important to put your name out there. While in most cases, you aren’t allowed to campaign before a certain date, you can still connect with people. Getting to know people as friends or acquaintances rather than as another vote will set you apart because these are the people you will be serving and working with. Being present on social media, One DECA calls and regional calls can really help show your dedication to the organization and put a face to the name for people early on.
3. Be Genuine
This is the most important tip. You do not have to be perfect to serve well. Showing you can have fun and still be a responsible leader is key since you’ll be working with dozens, if not thousands of people. In my executive officer campaign specifically, the main point that helped me stand out was emphasizing how close of a relationship I wanted to build with the people I wanted to work with. I handwrote messages to over 80 delegates, moved tables closer during caucuses, and more, all to show the delegates with my actions that I meant what I said. So, when campaigning, have fun and be you.
Running for DECA office is no easy task, but if you don’t take the chance, you may regret it. The experience as a DECA officer will set you up for years to come and prepare you for anything you put your mind to, so if you’re considering running, do it! If you want more tips on running, reach out to your association officers and any of the executive officers. We hope these tips help you Get The Edge when campaigning!
Danielle Poulin served as DECA's Western Region Vice President during the 2022-2023 school year.