The choice of “campaigns” in the title is the key to why this is good news. Traditionally the party’s approach to campaigning has been to see it as all about elections. Although people have and are (Deputy) Directors of Campaigns & Elections, in practice pretty much the only campaigns run, with just the occasional exception, have been campaigns directly tied to the next election polling day.
However, as I’ve argued in my pamphlet on rebuilding the Liberal Democrats via Targeting Plus, there is an important role for wider campaigns of the sort you would see a pressure group, NGO, charity or community group run.
We see a little of this already with Liberal Democrat participation in events such as Pride, but it’s only a taster of what could be achieved:
- Running campaigns to change the world is part of the wider purpose of the Liberal Democrats, as captured in Community Politics. Elections are a vital part of that but not the only part.
- Running campaigns broader than simply ‘please vote for us’ is also a powerful way to communicate our values, and to build that larger Liberal Democrat core vote.
- Running campaigns which have successes outside of polling days provides an important boost to membership recruitment, morale and fundraising. You can be winning and building without a polling day near.
- Running campaigns builds bridges to other organisations, attracts new people, garners attentions and generates data – all of which directly helps election campaigns too.
Hence my pleasure in seeing this in the new Head of Campaigns job description:
- To develop advocacy and single issue campaigns that deliver change, engagement and build the Lib Dem brand.
- To manage and coordinate issue based campaigns ensuring strong integration across multiple online and offline campaign channels and audiences.
- To develop innovative campaign techniques that engage key audiences for the Liberal Democrats.
- To encourage more Lib Dem seats to use national campaigns.
- To build relationships with key stakeholders and partners to ensure strong campaigns
- To put issue campaigns at the heart of everything the Lib Dems do from fighting elections to member comms to fundraising.
I’ve written before about how the party’s new(-ish, now) Director of Campaigns and Elections, Shaun Roberts, wants to change the way the party campaigns. This is another positive step in that direction.