I’ve written before about how important the membership incentive scheme for Liberal Democrat local parties is, and why the English Party was wrong to put together a budget for 2016 which would have axed it by removing nearly all the money that funded it.
One of its major benefits has been that over £500,000 has been funnelled into local parties through the scheme since it was introduced in 2013. Of that, over £250,000 was paid in 2015 alone. That made it a vital source of funds for the party’s grassroots, and all based on encouraging the sort of membership work which is vital for our long-term success – especially given the parallel success in the second half of 2015 in moving more members over to paying by direct debit, which both saves on administrative costs and raises the renewal rate.
So it was great news that wiser heads prevailed in the end and the scheme was rescued for 2016, with a lower percentage of incentive payments to local parties to match the surprisingly far higher party membership after the general election. With more members, it’s quite possible for local parties to end up receiving as much income next year from the incentives as they did this year, but of course the change also provides a great incentive for local parties to hit their targets for the final quarter of 2015 and get one last payment under the current rules.
It doesn’t matter how members are signed up or renewed by the end of 31 December. They all add to each local party’s total for the membership incentive scheme in the last quarter of this year. You can (re)join the Liberal Democrats online in a matter of moments here.
As a footnote, I have one small suggestion. Here’s the wording from Sal Brinton’s email to local party offices about the scheme’s rates for 2016:
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.
With a few quick edits, here’s how that could be worded better in future:
For each quarter, all local parties who are complying with their legal and constitutional requirements will get 3% of the membership fees paid by their members during that quarter.
In addition, if a local party has a net growth in membership of between 1 and 10 members in the quarter, it will get a further 15% (i.e. 18% in total) of all the membership fees.
Local parties with a net growth of more than 10 will get a further 15% on top of that too (i.e. 33% in total).