Jake Holland writes: Connect is here to help you win

All Liberal Democrat campaigners will agree that there’s no worse feeling at the end of a hard-fought election campaign than losing by a handful of votes.

In the 2010 General Election, we were less than 1000 votes away from winning in 10 constituencies. Analysing these results, it was clear that our campaign technology had fallen behind the other two main parties. Tasks that our opponents took for granted, such as linking a campaign system directly to a website, or organising a nationwide volunteer phone bank, were beyond our capabilities.

Connect is the cutting edge in campaign technology that will put us back at the head of the game. It will enable us to target our messages more effectively than ever before, store more data and integrate better with online tools. It has been battle-tested in real elections in several countries across the world and in the United States, with 80,000 logins in one day alone during Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Lib Dem campaigners have been able to see for themselves just how powerful and easy to use Connect is in demonstrations online and at our conferences. Local party officers have received a registration pack with more details of the system’s secure access and value for money.

Connect is priced per constituency, and how much a local party pays will depend on their income. Wealthier local parties can help out the smallest ones to make sure all our campaigners have the tools they need to win.

  • Local parties with an income under £25,000 pay £25 per month
  • Local parties with an income over £25,000 in each of the last three years pay £40 per month
  • The 100 smallest local parties will have access to a special development fund with a discount of up to 50% (contact [email protected] for more information)

This monthly cost will give seats access for as many local users as they need, account set-up, electoral register and updates, migration of your existing data and access to all the training. We’re able to keep the costs at this level thanks to the support of the regional, state and federal parties who are covering around half the cost of the system. Switching to the new software is a great opportunity to fundraise – there is a “Connect Club” for donors who contribute the full cost of a seat’s access.

Tim Farron’s team in Cumbria is one of many seats across the country that has already signed up to Connect. All local parties that return their registration forms by 31st December will get a free 3 month trial of the new software and a price freeze until the next General Election.

Make sure your local party doesn’t get left behind – return your registration forms today and join the campaign revolution!

Jake Holland is the Liberal Democrats’ Head of Campaign Development.

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This entry was posted in Online politics and Party policy and internal matters.


  • Tony Dawson 16th Nov '11 - 6:34pm

    ” we were less than 1000 votes away from winning in 10 constituencies. Analysing these results, it was clear that our campaign technology had fallen behind the other two main parties.”

    This remark suggests that there might have been an objective oand independent analysis of the poor performance of some Lib Dem constituencies who grossly-underperformed others in the 2010 General Election. Could someone point me to this? For it is my certain knowledge that some constituencies who made serious advances in 2010 had state-of-the-ARK technology and processes. GOTV is very important and can make a difference. But this issue should not be allowed to be used as a cover-up excuse.

  • Liberal Neil 16th Nov '11 - 6:59pm

    I think the key point is that being behind our opponents in technology will make the difference in marginal contests. If Connect means we at least catch up it is well worth having.

  • does this mean its going to cost £600 pa when the regions run out of money ?

    Not surprisingly , no mention of this before.

  • Don Lawrence 20th Nov '11 - 1:33pm

    £600 per annum is a heck of a lot compared to the cost of EARS if I remember rightly. As Tony clearly asks “there might have been an objective and independent analysis of the poor performance of some Lib Dem constituencies who grossly-underperformed others in the 2010 General Election.” If there was, we would have evidence to confirm that what Connect adds is what we need, until then there will remain this doubt that, like past Labour governments, we had a problem and then wasted a fortune on an expensive computer system.

    With EARS you had some sort of guarantee that if the cash ran out the system could continue. I wonder what the result would be if we find we can’t afford it. Do we lose all our data, or just get it back in a format that is effectively unusable?

    I really would be a lot happier if someone who knows about the risks of commitments to this sort of computer system came forward and gave us that assurance. Oh yes and it would help if he/she were a committed Lib Dem.

  • David Moore 3rd Jan '12 - 4:42pm

    As with all computer systems it’s how they are used that can make a difference.
    It would be useful to see this rolled out in a by-election, together with an objective assessment of its impact.

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