Tag Archives: local parties

Being a PPC: building your team

Following last week’s blog on managing my work/life balance as a PPC, I’m writing this week on building a team in a constituency.

I have some expertise in working with volunteers – in the past, I chaired the Parent Teacher Association at my child’s secondary school. Leading a group of volunteers, who each had different amounts of time to give and various reasons for giving that time, was a challenge. Nothing like playground politics among parents!

A team in a local party can be similar – everyone is a volunteer, some with masses of time to give, others with very little time. All are motivated, but have a range of issues behind that motivation. Inspiring your volunteers is a balance between accepting what time they can offer and not asking too much, and learning more about them and why they would like to be involved.

In many constituencies, we run skills audits, finding out what talents people have to offer to pair with what jobs need to be done. I think it is really important to ask what people want to do. It could be they are highly skilled in one area, but that is their day job, and what they really want to do as a volunteer is something different. Having those discussions is important. Allowing people to give time on their terms and in the way they wish is key.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Three things a local party can do for newbies

With another(!) influx of new members, it seemed time to write about some things that work for us in Harrow. They’re not unique to us, but they’re not universal either, so it seemed worth sharing.

Say hello!

Here in Harrow Liberal Democrats we try and make sure all new members — if they want — get an individual personal welcome. Our (awesome) membership secretary, or someone else from the exec, or a ward organiser, or whoever, just arranges to meet for a chat at a café/pub.

It’s a really good way to a) make sure new members feel cared about; b) get a chance to find out what their interests / skills are, what they’d like to help with, and what they’d like to see the local party doing; c) let them ask any questions — on policy, or procedures, or local information. d) give them the hard sell on the next Harrow Lib Dem Pint where they can meet more of the team.


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Four reasons why your local party would benefit from doing even more EU campaigning

Pledge card01Liberal Democrats across the country are campaigning hard for a Remain vote, with hundreds of events from Cornwall to the Highlands.

With the polls leaping from squeaky bum territory to something much worse, we have all the motivation we need to work even harder over the next few days. My experience is that it’s not been very difficult to persuade people from undecided to Remain and secure a commitment to vote. We need to speak to many, many people over the next few days. It’s difficult to imagine a greater motivation than avoiding handing our country over to the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, whose racist and mendacious campaign to Leave is deceiving the electorate.  I always thought the Better Together campaign was the worst in the history of democracy. Vote Leave takes that mantle by some margin.

Anyway, there are some very positive reasons why local parties should do more campaigning.

Potential new members

If you find people who are very pro EU, the chances are you will be able to persuade them to join us.

More money

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

How to maximise money for your local party by recruiting more members

If you’re one of the many local parties who have grown in membership, you will have benefitted from vastly increased service fees since the introduction of the Membership Incentive Scheme in 2013.  This scheme gives local parties 20% of all subscriptions if their membership grows at all in a quarter. For those which grow by more than 10 members, that jumps to 40%.

From the beginning of next year, the amount you get will reduce slightly. From an email sent by Sal Brinton to local parties this week:

Local parties with net growth of between 1 and 10 members during a quarter will be qualified to receive 18% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter (which includes the 3% payable to all compliant local parties)

Local parties with net growth of more than 10 during a quarter will be qualified to receive 33% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter (which includes the 3% payable to all compliant local parties)

All compliant local parties will be qualified to receive 3% of all their membership subscription fees paid during that quarter.

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Making Liberal Democrat Policy – the Calderdale Solution

Flick through a Federal or Yorkshire Regional conference agenda these days and it’s likely that you’ll see Calderdale as the sponsor of several motions or amendments. This article shows how we’ve made that happen:

The short version for those who just want the how and not the why

  1. keep policy and admin totally separate,
  2. always involve people at every step of the way,
  3. have a definite aim to a definite deadline,
  4. have visible outcomes so people can see they are making a difference, and
  5. always make sure there is food/drink at every event.

The longer version: when I took over as chair of Calderdale one of my main frustrations was that most exec meetings went on for hours and hours and would get bogged down in policy arguments (as well as other off topic rambling discussions). It’s not that I don’t like policy arguments and rambling off topic discussions – I love them – it’s just that an exec meeting is not the time or place to be having them. Exec meetings should be about getting the boring admin stuff done and out of the way as quickly as possible.

When I mentioned this to him, Alisdair Calder McGregor recalled a solution that had been used in a couple of other local parties he’d been involved with, to greater or lesser effect: if you hive off policy to a policy working group then exec meetings go much better. So Calderdale’s policy working group was originally formed purely as a device to speed up exec meetingsWhat makes it so successful is a different story.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Is it right to expand a Local Party by a third?

Following changes to the English Party’s rules regarding the formation of Local Parties, in a number of places, local Liberal Democrats are being asked to decide upon new boundaries in their area. Here, our former day editor, Paul Walter, raises some of the issues that members will need to consider.

On December 7th, Newbury local party members will have a proposed constitutional amendment before them at our AGM, which I think other local parties have also faced. If passed, this motion would expand the local party area to include the six West Berkshire Council wards (Birch Copse, Calcot, Pangbourne, Purley on …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 16 Comments

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