Campaign Corner: How do we recruit more members?

The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: How do we recruit more members?

Although the national political scene sets the backdrop against which members join, renew or leave, there is consistently a huge variation between the membership story in different local parties depending on their own levels of activity. Here then are three tips to help make your own local party be one of the over-performers rather than an under-performer:

1. Keep good records and ask helpers: People who are active supporters in some way are a good pool of people to ask. Make sure the local party keeps good records of who delivers leaflets, who comes to social events, who puts up posters and so on – and combines the name into one, up-to-date list. This is necessary as these people should get all the newsletters and invites to social events anyway, but in addition it gives you a great list to work through to ask people to join.

2. Work through your list of prospects, picking off the easiest ones first: whether it is the list from #1 or a list of regular Lib Dem voters, start with the easiest and quickest method first – send an email to those you can, including a link to join online straight away via www.libdems.org.uk/join. Then refine the list to exclude those who respond (either positively or negatively) and drop off a letter to those remaining. Winnow down the list again, and follow-up with phone calls. Finally go for door-to-door calls. The latter are the most effective, but also the most time-consuming. Phone calls are not quite so effective and not quite so time consuming, but more so than the earlier options. That is why working your way through the techniques in order makes sense, as you then maximise the benefits from everyone’s time.

3. Cut the lapsing rate: Chances are, it isn’t really more members but a higher membership that is your goal – and so cutting the number of people who lapse helps get there too. The single most effective way to do that is to get more people to switch to paying their membership by direct debit. This also means they can pay their membership subscription in small monthly instalments – handy for people short of money and also a good way of encouraging better off members to give more overall.

Want to know more about local campaigning? Campaigning In Your Community by myself and Shaun Roberts should be right up your street. It’s available for only £4 from ALDC and you can read an extract for free here.

Previous Campaign Corners have included:

You can read them all here.

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