News from the Membership Department – 60k people joined us this year – and how to get a replacement membership card

There are now (as of the time I’m typing) 120,995 members and 17,083 registered supporter of the Liberal Democrats.

That’s a record high – and means that just shy of 60,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats as either a member or supporter this year. Most of them have joined, since fantastic local elections in May.

This latest membership surge comes after six months of extensive work to try and make membership better for everyone.

This all started with the implementation of the Supporter’s Scheme – which enabled us to do some really extensive work on the party’s membership database and fix a lot of long standing issues with how memberships were managed.

There’s still a lot more work to do (more on that further down) but we have made huge improvements to how the system works and it’s far more reliable and accurate than ever before.

Of course, the supporter scheme itself has proved both successful and popular – even without some of the more generous rights originally proposed.

The team have pulled together a report on the first three months of the scheme, which you can read here: 

One of the big things those database changes enabled was to allow us to introduce a lot more automation.

Some of you will have already had it – the vast majority of our renewal communications happen automatically and members new get a confirmation when they’ve renewed their membership.

We’ve got big plans for where we want to take this next year – especially when it comes to supporting Local Party Officers and making sure they get support and advice on their new roles.

The next set of improvements will be a bit more visible than everything that’s been done so far.

We’re planning to replace the existing Salesforce interface local parties use with a user-friendly web interface we’re developing in conjunction with Prater Raines.

Prater Raines (as many of you know) are long-time suppliers to the party and almost all of their staff have been local party officers – so they’re the ideal people to help us build this.

The new interface won’t replace Salesforce – that will still be there in the background and be used by HQ, but local parties will enjoy a tailor made way to handle their donation reporting, manage memberships and their local parties.

We’ll also be able to implement a number of long asked for improvements which have not been possible in the current system – like knowing who your moved out members area.

The development timetable is tight but is intended to deliver access to the new portal from the start of January 2020. 

Discussion and feedback with user groups and testing of modules will start at Federal Conference in Bournemouth and mainly place during the October – December 2019 period of the development.

If you’d like to be part of that – please just drop me a line. My email is [email protected]. We’re looking for local party officers of all types (and technical abilities) to help us make sure the system is fit for purpose.

Lastly, there’s one thing I’ve wanted to do since I started as Head of Membership 18 months ago, that in all of the chaos finally launched this week.

Members can now order a replacement membership card online.

You’ve got 16 new designs to choose from – including a lot of the favourites from the old set, as well as some new cards. 

The cards are free – but if you can afford it, we’d ask you to make a voluntary donation of £2 to cover the cost (or more if you can also cover the cost of someone else’s card!).

It’ll take a couple of weeks for your new card to arrive – as new members who are waiting on their membership packs will get priority – but if you order one today, you’ll have a brand new Membership card very soon.

There’s still a lot more to do on membership, but I’m really proud of all the work the team have been doing and I hope you’ve noticed at least some of the improvements we’ve been making.

Lastly – I want to say a big thank you to all the staff who’ve made this all possible. I couldn’t have done it without you!


* Greg Foster is the Liberal Democrats' Head of Technology

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  • Andrew Hinton 6th Sep '19 - 6:42pm

    A shame the party’s management of the Phillip Lee business has also pushed a number of longstanding members away.

  • This is great news. I’m glad party membership is up so much – and people are agreeing with our principles. 🙂

    Talking of principles – do we happen to have an estimate of the number of people who have ceased to be a member since Dr Lee joined our party?

  • Paul Barker 6th Sep '19 - 7:15pm

    After Decades of talking about Political Realignment in Britain, it now seems to be beginning. This is just the time for us to open our arms & hearts wider still, however uncomfortable that may be in the short-term. Its a shame that we can’t take everyone with us & I regret the loss of good people but we have to look at the big picture, this is our best chance in at least 4 Decades & we cannot afford to miss it.

  • Mary Regnier-Wilson 6th Sep '19 - 7:17pm

    If only the campaigns department were as proactive in addressing the integration of membership data with voter data…

  • I gather Robert Flello (Labour M.P. for Stoke on Trent South until 2017 when he lost his seat) is one of the new members today (source : Mark Pack). Maybe some in the party will be interested to know (according to Wikipedia) about Mr Flello’s views :

    He is “a convert to Catholicism and stated in 2014 “I could no more leave my faith at the door of the House of Commons than I could my name or my gender or my arms and legs”. He was a member of the anti-abortion All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group. He also opposes same-sex marriage and was one of the few Labour MPs to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, citing his religious views.”

  • Joined to vote in the leadership election. Yet to recieve membership card or pack. Though I have had a poorly photcopied letter from my local party asking for money.

  • Í signed up a registered supporter last month. It’s been a largely positive experience with the caveat the volume and type of personal data they ask for is extraordinary. You don’t have to give it but I was very surprised. The email contact is sleek and it’s easy to give feedback. I’ve had one round robin email from the local party about a prorogation protest so they are using the data which is good. It’s tipped me into donating to the national party for the first time in seven years. Though I used the website link rather than a
    supporter email one so don’t know if it will count in supporter totals. A gentle start but so far so good.

  • Allan Brame 7th Sep '19 - 12:50am

    “do we happen to have an estimate of the number of people who have ceased to be a member since Dr Lee joined our party?”

    I can only speak for Wirral, where a further 15 members have joined since Philip Lee changed parties. One member has resigned, but whether that had any connection with Dr Lee I have no idea.
    We have not questioned any of the 15 about their views on same sex marriage, or any other issue.
    All have received a new member’s audit asking among more practical things, what prompted them to join. The overwhelming reason is our opposition to Brexit and the woeful state of the two ‘main’ parties

  • Hywel – welcome. Speaking from my own experience a few years ago: being a small party in terms of staffing, it does take a while for new members to get their cards/welcome pack. Especially where there is (hurray!) a big influx of people all at once.

    I have Paddy Ashdown on my card – he was my inspiration to support the party – and I’ll be keeping it as a tribute.

  • Gosh – does this mean I can actually HAVE a membership card?
    Some of us (at least) who’ve been members for a very long time were told when the new ones came out with Liberal heroes on them that they were only for new members and we would have to hang on to the manky thin things we had had (and which had not been re-issued or renewed) for years. Always assuming we hadn’t lost them.

  • Tony Greaves 8th Sep '19 - 1:24pm

    I sent off a membership (for my daughter as it happens) before the leadership election. She did not get a vote and she has still not heard from HQ. I have reminded them and got no acknowledgement.

  • @Cassandra – that would be a valid point if the Lib Dems were a small amateurish organisation. But they are a 100,000+ membership organisiation which spends over £3 million a year on staffing and which is aspiring to become the largest party in Parliament at the next election. You cannot by any definition say this is a small organisation.

    Given that it’s common practice to ask people to produce membership cards (or other evidence of membership) at training events it does also have other implications.

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