Very good advice Mark. Local volunteers put in a lot of hard graft and they can sometimes go feeling unappreciated for their efforts. I think by saying thank you, and by adding that personal touch (it could be a sentence) mentioning a thing you observed or heard back about how well they did, it really does make them feel wanted, special and an important part of something. Thank you is as good as payment for a job. What's worse is working hard and not being thanked and even more so being inconsistent with the thank you! Example could be you have said thanks the last few times but sometimes it is easy to fall into the 'taking it for granted' mode because you are used to receiving the help. I think post-election thank you gatherings are crucial to keeping people on board. At the last thank you gathering post East Walworth, we had local councillors, our candidate out forward and our local MP get up and say thank you and they also managed to mention everyone in the room and how important they were (probably not always possible) and also putting on a good spread. Putting on a good spread can be a game changer!
One of my most embarrassing moments when writing words of campaigning advice happened nearly a decade ago when a colleague and I realised we had managed to write pages and pages about the importance of having a good voluntary team, how to organise volunteers, what you need to get them to do and so on – all without once mentioning anything about saying ‘thank you’. Variations on ‘and remember to say thank you’ were then hurriedly scattered across the pages in atonement.
So when Ed Maxfield and I sat down to plan out 101 Ways To Win An Election, one of the first chapters we pencilled in was called simply “Say thank you”. It’s there in the finished version, starting with the story of George Bush Senior, who based much of his political success on a life-long habit of sending thank you notes.
It was a story I was reminded of when this came through the post:
I suspect Brixton Hill candidate Liz Maffei wasn’t setting out to be like George Bush Senior mind you… but the spirit is the same. A good one. So thank you too Liz.