Campaign Corner: What should I measure?

The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: I work in marketing for the day job, where measuring impact and altering our plans as a result is the norm. In the evenings when I become a Lib Dem campaigner however, measuring seems to go out the window and we just do what we always did. Surely we can do better than that?

A very good question! The short answer is ‘yes’. I’ve talked before about some of the online numbers that should be tracked (The two crucial email numbers I didn’t mention), so here are three offline figures:

  1. LetterboxDelivery network coverage: what percentage of your ward is covered by local helpers, excluding your key activists? A good delivery network (complete with good delivery slips) is vital for getting our messages out all year round. A genuinely local network which does not rely on one or two super-activists doing masses on their own is also much more sustainable. It can cope with events such as one of them falling ill, becoming a councillor or getting a new, busy job.
  2. Canvass data: the sibling figure is how many residents do you have voting intention data for? It is a particularly useful number to track as people often neglect canvassing relative to other campaigning activities.
  3. Money raised: having a good broad base of fundraising makes the local campaign finances much more robust than if you are reliant on just a few key activists stumping up the cash at election time. It also makes for a healthier party with stronger local roots – and there is always something more you can sensibly spend money on.
The usual caution about performance statistics applies: numbers do not capture everything and there is a risk that focusing on a small set of numbers distorts your behaviour. However, it would be an extremely strange set of circumstances in which you have a good delivery network, plenty of canvass data and a regular flow of funds coming in and the organisation wasn’t in a good state overall, especially as some of them can only come good if you are getting other things right. For example, choosing the right local campaigns is important, but if you aren’t doing that, you won’t be generating the local support and goodwill necessary for a good delivery network to be achievable.

Got any other tips? Please do share them in the comment thread below.

Want to know more about local campaigning? Campaigning In Your Community by myself and Shaun Roberts should be right up your street. It’s available for only £4 from ALDC and you can read an extract for free here.

Previous Campaign Corners have included:

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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  • How many votes you get is also a measure of impact.

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