Ten tips for running a better local party AGM

Despite the weather’s recent best efforts to pretend we are currently in June and in the south of France, the encroaching nights mean that local party AGM season is nearly upon us.

To help local parties get the most out of them, I’ve written in conjunction with London Liberal Democrats a simple factsheet giving 10 tips to lift an AGM from being a boring, business meeting that no-one comes to into an interesting and successful event. Though written for London, the tips are applicable elsewhere.

Hope you find it useful – and of course please do share this post (or this pdf) with whoever is involved in organising the AGM in your own local party.

Liberal Democrat local party AGMs: ten tips for improvement

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8 Comments

  • David Wright 10th Oct '11 - 2:36pm

    Mark, can you provide a link to the PDF please?

    You can’t print or download from Scribd unless you register with them, or give them your Facebook details, which I’m not prepared to do. And the big DOWNOAD button tries to download a program, not the document. I’m registered at too many sites already, and don’t need any more, nor do I want any more download programs.

    I passed the link onto our Local Party secretary, and she was unable to download it too. I realise that once you actually use Scribd, it’s probably easy, but most people don’t and for them it’s a barrier.

  • Adrian Dnes 11th Oct '11 - 3:51pm

    Why are you so late with the agm advice, to do any good, it needs to be released around late July or early August at the latest.

    I am the Secretary to MK Lib Dems, our AGM is Oct 20th, mailing for the meeting went out during the last week in September (I did most of the preparation in Mid July).

    I agree with the comment about links to *.pdf files, not every one wants to belong to seemingly hundreds of these download sites. You should already know who the Local Party Secretaries are, we have to provide up to date lists of officers to keep pace with electoral legislation.

  • Liberal Neil 11th Oct '11 - 5:57pm

    Adrian – well done to MK for being ahead of the game. (Although, based on my experience, I always expect MK to be organised!)

    It is worth remembering though that Mark is a volunteer, and the advice he has produced here is an ‘extra’ on top of what the national party sends out. And he’s published similar advice previously on this site.

    Saying that, several of the suggestions are things that can be picked up on now, even if the initial publicity has already gone out. I’d suggest looking through the ten suggestions and picking one or two that will still help, like having a good sign in sheet, for example.

  • Pete Dollimore 12th Oct '11 - 9:07am

    I published this to LP officers in London because as a Regional Officer, I have access to the contact details of local chairs, secretaries etc. Maybe you think Mark is still an HQ employee – he hasn’t been for a while now – but he contributes so much to our party you might think he was! Well done for this Mark, it’s been a popular piece of work.

    It’s never too early to start planning your AGM in2012. Why not print out copies of Mark’s tips and discuss at your AGM who you’d like to ask to speak next year. You never know what great ideas might come up!

    A sign in sheet is such a good idea as Neil says – collect more emails! And also use those you’ve got to remind people. BTW do the tips say “send a text to people 48 hrs before to remind them of the time, place and venue”? Many members find that really useful. I use Dynmark’s e-txt

  • Adrian Dnes 12th Oct '11 - 3:12pm

    I actually stand by my original comments, what should have happened (and I accept that Mark, like the rest of us is a volunteer) is that this should have gone out in Mid June along with a gentle reminder about the deadlines for notice of an AGM, the correct time to hold one and the reporting deadline. That would have ‘jogged people’s memory’ at the right time of year.

    My point about this document being far too late has only been partly answered. AGMs need 21 Days notice, have to be held between 1st October and 30th November. Ours in MK is always held on the third Thursday in October, meaning that the paperwork HAS to go out during the final week of September. Unless people want a lot to do in August and I prefer to take it a bit easier during August, the prep work for an AGM has to be done in June or July.

    IF we left it until after conference to organise our AGM the earliest it could be held is very late November, giving very little time for any would be contested posts (last year I had contested Chair and vice chair to deal with) given the fact that results from AGMs need to be submitted by Dec 12th or so.

    We did have a dinner planned for after the AGM but with so few takers, it had to be cancelled, so we are left with a stand alone AGM in a different venue.

    What I do is start putting it on the exec agenda in June mostly to jog other people’s memory

    This is almost on par with office supply companies doing a mailing about print runs or printing equipment two weeks before the May elections.

    And just for the record, I have ALWAYS used a signing in sheet, I may change its layout to allow for new technology, but if nothing else, it makes compiling the list of who was present for the meeting minutes so much easier.

    Good idea about an electronic reminder, I will send out e mails next Monday Night.

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