How are you getting on with Tim Farron’s membership recruitment challenge?

When we went into the rally at Conference 9 days ago, there were two bits of paper on our seats. Och, that’ll just be Euro campaign  tat, I thought. Actually, it wasn’t. Tim issued a challenge to everyone in the room. These bits of paper were membership forms and he told us to get out there and recruit two members each by the end of this month.

Leaders have made such challenges before and not much has come of them. You see, it needs us to actually make the effort and once the passion of the rally has died down and we’ve got into the bar, we forget all about it. But we shouldn’t.

Why should we bother?

There are three very good reasons why we should get out there and recruit as many people as possible.

The more the merrier

You might be looking at a garage full of Focus leaflets wondering how you are going to get them all delivered before the next leaflet is ready. You might be the only Lib Dem in the village wondering if you are ever going to have company. There isn’t a circumstance in which having more people is going to anything other than a very good thing. More people to share the load. More people to help you achieve more than you ever thought possible. More people who have different friends and contacts and networks.

New ideas

You can just see what the amazing people who have joined us since May have brought us. It was brilliant to walk into rooms in York and see lots of people I’d never seen before. They have brought with them creativity and new ideas, things like  Your Liberal Britain and Lib Dem Pint which have become part of the party’s vocabulary. They didn’t even exist this time last year. Heavens, Lib Dem Pint is so popular, it’s even happened in Glasgow.  Amazing people came our way, like Becca and Wendy and Joyce Onstad and Jim Williams. At the Conference rally, Dr Saleyah Ahsan spoke so powerfully about her work as a junior doctor, inviting us to stand with her through a gruelling shift – eating when she does, going to the toilet when she does. I doubt many of us would last.

And look at fantastic people like Lauren Pemberton-Nelson who ran such a spirited campaign in the Faraday by-election in Southwark.



If none of that grabs you, remember that there is serious money in it through the Membership Incentive Scheme. Born over a curry in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, this means that it is well worth the while of local parties to recruit members cos they get a good whack of all the membership subs back if they grow. Here are the details:

  • Net growth of between 1 and 10 members will qualify local parties to receive 18% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter. 
  • Net growth of more than 10 members will qualify local parties to receive 33% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter.  

Not to be sneezed at.

Who might join?

This is where it’s worth having chunks of your life that you don’t spend with other Lib Dems. What about your friends and family? If any of them show any sort of enthusiasm about the EU, for example, it’s worth asking them to join. Similarly, anyone who volunteers admiration for Tim Farron or their local Lib Dem campaigners in any way. Anyone you hear complaining about the Snoopers’ Charter. Let’s face it, there’s no point in them joining Labour or the SNP who passed up the chance to kill it last week.

When you’re canvassing, get into the habit of asking anybody who expresses enthusiastic support if they would like to join to help whoever the candidate is get elected.

Also, make sure that you’ve engaged with all the new members who joined last year. They need to have a reason to renew.

How do they join?

All the details came out in an email last week:

Direct debit is cheaper, environmentally friendly, and substantially increases your retention rate. This means you don’t have to ask as many people to renew each year, making your life easier!

If you don’t have a copy of the membership form, you can download one here.

Alternatively, sign them up by going to:

Your recruitment successes

If you have joined recently, tell us why in the comments below. If your local party has had success with a recruitment campaign, tell us how you did it.

If we succeed in Tim’s challenge, we could have 65000 members within the next 10 days. If we are going to meet his target 0f 100,000 members by 2020 we have to get cracking. Good luck!

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Rob Gilliam 20th Mar '16 - 3:26pm

    Well I was all fired up after reading Tim’s rally speech on Friday; then “the diversity motion” (aka “let’s explicitly discriminate against a large proportion of our membership”) passed on the Sunday and I started to wonder what the point of any of it is.

    So, basically, I CBA right now.

  • Almost a year after rejoining (continuous member for over 30 years since joining Young Liberals in 1977 – with a gap of 4), I am disappointed and unmotivated. My local Branch only wants deliverers to put out poor quality Focus (by their own admission), despite my offers to help with DTP – photos & training help. The local Party has also not taken up my offer to be an activist once again. They wanted me to go onto committees which I refused, saying they lack of activists willing to campaign/knock on doors is where my time would be best spent, because there is no one doing that! I have been chief cook & bottle washer – 12 years on Principle Councils – over 20 on Parish – Branch Chair etc – Constituency Chair of two local Parties – Conference Rep. Regional Party Exec member etc . I think I’ll go back to being a non member as that is at least gives me freedom (I’m anti Nuc – both power & weapons) to push my view point & try and persuade others without fear of Party embarrassment. Oh I also tried to re-join the Green Lib Dems without success despite several emails.

  • Same as Rob – I actually did go out leafleting this morning – it was too nice not to – but since the party adopted positive discrimination – I am afraid my heart – after 35 years – is not really in it.

  • Rob Gilliam 20th Mar '16 - 9:27pm

    @Ab – I have no doubt you have been discriminated against – if you feel you have been then you probably have been – and I’m also aware that I probably can’t fully appreciate the extent or the effect as a white, able-bodied, middle-class, middle-aged, cisgendered, male.

    However I am certain that positive discrimination (or discimination against the majority, which is what “positive” discrimination is) of any kind is the wrong solution, largely because it’s not a solution to the problem, only a remedy for the symptoms. Furthermore it hands a weapon to our opponents who can now say “of course she’s not really good enough, or she’d have got on without all-women shortlists”.

    Like david, I’ve been out leafletting since the decision and I’ll continue to work hard to regain two of the council seats in May that we lost in Birmingham during the coalition government. But I can’t, hand-on-heart, recommend to other people that they join the party while I’m at a loss to explain its current direction.

  • The more the merrier! #IAgreeWithCaron

  • Galen Milne 20th Mar '16 - 9:46pm

    We keep getting re-runs of the same challenge. What we continue to lack is an implementation of a practical strategy, or have I missed something.

  • People on the doorstep still see the Lib Dems as discredited and Tim Farron as feeble and weak. Not huge selling points ? Discrimination against large sections of the Party is not helping either. Never known moral to be so low when talking to Lib Dem supporters or in most cases now ex Lib Dems.

  • Within a Guardian article today: “With the Tory party in turmoil and possibly facing a leadership contest after the EU referendum, some senior Labour figures are already turning their thoughts to the possibility of another general election as early as this year, or at least sooner than the official date of 2020, underlining the urgent need for the [Labour] party to start renewing its policy thinking”.

    Lib Dems need to prepare for a potential Tory break-up. We could need parliamentary candidates sooner than we thought. Are all our former Westminster seats already prepared?

  • @John Marriott
    Parliament can also be dissolved by a simple majority voting on a motion of no confidence, so long as a subsequent motion of confidence is not introduced and resolved within fourteen days of the original resolution.

    Just a few words about the LibDems’ legacy of raising the tax threshold: apparently there isn’t one.
    The increase in the personal income tax allowance was cited as evidence of a policy that the Conservatives (not the coalition, mind you) introduced to tackle inequality by every minister or MP who was wheeled out to defend the government in the face of Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation.

  • Cllr Nick Cotter 21st Mar '16 - 11:10pm

    Yes, I Agree with most of the posts on here.

    The irony of the current situation is that the party could/should be riding high in the polls as things stand. Where are all our ex MP’s ? Where are the PPC’s targeting the few seats that might (possibly) be won back in 2020 ?? !! Where has everyone gone ?

  • I live in a just-lost seat, easily regainable if we had a good PPC there now, working alongside us. But we are told we can’t because of possible boundary changes. Can’t we be a bit flexible here?

  • Thomas Shakespeare 22nd Mar '16 - 5:56pm

    Reading this comments thread is just so life-sapping. Come on, Lib Dems! Where’s the enthusiasm?

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