The new Lib Dem Delivery App will change the way you approach letterboxes

Members of the party’s campaigners email list have started receiving emails inviting them to install our latest campaigning app. We already have MiniVAN for canvassing, the new conference app produce by Young Liberals and now there is also Penhaligon for leaflet delivery.

It is named after David Penhaligon, whose quote adorns many a mug in Lib Dem kitchens: “stick it on a piece of paper and stuff it through a letterbox”.

The interface is similar to MiniVAN: you load (or are sent) a delivery list, and the app gives you both a map with pins on it or a list of addresses to guide you through the delivery.

On its own, that wouldn’t be enough to make the app useful compared with our traditional printed delivery slips, but the app already comes with plenty of bells and whistles to make it more useful.

Literally, bells and whistles as one feature is getting geolocated audible notifications, such as if you are approaching a house recorded in Connect as ‘do not deliver’ or having a dangerous dog.

You can also report back through the app that a delivery round has been completed, with the data coming in to a new reporting screen in Connect. The local party Connect manager can, in a feature I was particularly keen on, automatically generate a random winner from those who have done their rounds to get a small thank you gift. For election law reasons, this feature will turn off during regulated periods, but outside of them, it’s a nice nudge towards best practice in looking after our wonderful deliverers.

The app also comes with much better mapping than MiniVAN, with the ability to customise the mapping data to show exact letterbox locations – very useful for those flat doors around the back of buildings it is so easy to miss.

It also uses a live data feed from the Met Office to suggest the best time to do the delivery round in the next few days, taking into account not only the weather but its after-effects too. For example, the app knows that pavements can be very slippery even after the rain has stopped.

But the very best part of the app is the set of icons that appear as you approach each letterbox on your delivery round. Behind the scenes, Connect data (supplemented by data from Wintringham 1) and demographic information from public sources such as the census is used to tell you which way round to orient the leaflet: is the person likely to be at home, and so the leaflet should land on the doormat headline towards the door so that they can easily read it when they come to the door, or is the person likely to be away, and so the leaflet should land headline away from the door, so it’s facing the right way when they come home?

A small detail, but a potential game changer. The party’s trials have shown a 7.2% increase in petition signatures and grumble slip returns when the app is used to orient leaflet delivery compared with what now seems our horribly old fashioned approach of not thinking about this at all.

There’s more to the app too. You can use your phone’s camera to send the app a photo of the leaflet you are about to deliver, and it will use artificial intelligence from DALL.E2 to analyse the size, weight and paper grain of the leaflet to recommend the best insertion technique for use with it. Heavy A3 leaflets printed across the grain may get a recommendation to use the soft bend and push classic technique, while light A5 leaflets printed along the grain, for example, may get a recommendation to use a spatula.

Best of all, you can also use the app to hone your own leaflet delivery technique. Set your phone up inside at home, pointing at the letterbox, connect a Bluetooth headset, grab a stash of leaflets and close the door behind you.

The phone will then send verbal instructions to you via the headset to try delivering one leaflet at a time through the letterbox, filming and analysing the outcome, before giving you coaching instructions on how to improve your technique before you try again. With just a little bit of coaching, scrunched up leaflets need never occur again.

The voice coach can be customised to suit your preferences. The voices currently available include William Gladstone, David Penhaligon, Shirley Williams and Cllr Dave McCobb.

If you’ve not yet received the app invite email, keep an eye out on your inbox over the next few days. The email will comes from loof.lirpa@libdems.org.uk.

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3 responses to “The new Lib Dem Delivery App will change the way you approach letterboxes”

  1. Im reliably told you have to hurry as the deadline for ordering this wonderfully-useful app is 11.59 today, April 1st.

  2. I trust you’ll be sending a copy to all the local dogs to register their presence and attitude to deliveries?

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