A few years back, my post “Why did I not get that email from the Liberal Democrats?” proved rather popular, helping untangle various issues with party members missing out on information about what is going on in the party. So here’s the latest version, lightly updated for what 2019 is bringing…
Whether it’s you wondering why you’ve not received that email others are talking about, or whether it’s someone you’re in conversation with, I hope this guide is useful – and as ever suggestions and additions welcome.
Check your spam and other folders
It is an occupational hazard of running large email lists that some people will find the messages for them end up in spam/junk mail folders rather than in their inbox. If you think you have missed out on an email, checking to see if this has happened is the sensible first step.
If you are using Gmail with its automatically sorted inbox feature turned on, remember to check the other tabs in addition to your Primary one. You might well want to drag emails you receive from the party into your Primary tab so that they appear there in future.
The email addresses most frequently used by the party to send out messages to members and supporters is firstname.lastname@example.org.
These steps are particularly important if you have an email address with a system that is quite aggressive at blocking suspect spam. BT Internet, Virgin, TalkTalk BT Openworld and CIX can all be so aggressive that even with everything done right, they do sometimes block emails anyway. (Anyone with a CIX email has long since stopped receiving my own Lib Dem news emails too for this reason.)
Do the Liberal Democrat records have the right email address for you?
There are four main sets of relevant records:
- the party’s membership records (the Salesforce system),
- the separate federal conference database,
- the party’s database of electors (the Connect system), and
- local Lib Dem website/email systems (almost all use NationBuilder or PraterRaines).
In theory, and to a large extent in practice, email updates flow between the different systems. It isn’t a flawless system, however, especially if you have more than one email address.
The membership records are used for emails out to party members much more often than Connect, whilst the conference database is just used for conference. But it’s worth being sure all the records are correct, especially as the Connect data is also often used for updates about local issues and events.
You can check what email address the party has in Salesforce, along with associated information regarding opt-in / opt-outs to various types of emails at www.libdems.org.uk/email-settings. The page also has a link through to getting your email address updated or corrected.
Is the email being sent using a different set of data?
For a mix of reasons, not all emails sent out by a Liberal Democrat use the same records. Some of these are technical reasons, some administrative and some legal. What they all mean is that if you are not getting a particular email, it might be because it is being run off a different set of records, and those records need updating.
So get in touch with the sender of the email, ask them which records they have been using and take it from there.
Was the email actually meant to go to you?
Party HQ, in particular, is increasingly segmenting the emails it sends out. So it’s always a good idea to try to be as specific as possible about which email(s) have not been received and then ask email@example.com.
One thing to note in particular is that emails about internal party elections and selections usually go onto to those qualified to vote in those contests. That can mean that, for example, if you joined very recently (after the cut-off date for qualifying to vote in a contest) then you may be deliberately omitted. Likewise if the party’s records, rightly or wrongly, show you as being a member in a different part of the country from where the selection is taking place, such as because you have recently moved.
In addition, as a general guide there are four main groups of emails which come out from the party HQ in Great George Street:
- Campaigns messages: sent to current party members, supporters, and people HQ think might be interested in the campaign. Signing up on the campaign’s page is the best way to stay informed. For example, to receive emails about Brexit, sign up to the Brexit campaign on the party website.
- Announcements: these too are sent to current party members, supporters, and people HQ think might be interested.
- Super Activists: these emails are sent to a dedicated list of party activists who would like more information about government announcements, party policies and campaigning methods. To get on this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, membership number, and why you think you should be on the list. Approval is on a case by case basis given the internal nature of some of the material sent out.
If you are involved in running a local party and come across someone in your area who is missing out on some emails for some reason, I find it’s a really good idea to step through these steps with them. That’s not only because it’s a good way to treat fellow members. But also because sometimes tugging on a loose end of a data problem untangles a much bigger issue, such as discovering that someone is using an out-of-date list somewhere or that a batch of people have been put down with the wrong local party information. In sorting out one person, you may well end up helping several others too.
It’s also worth remembering that many local supporters and helpers are interested in what the party is up to but, due to not being members or registered supporters, may be missing out on an awful lot of the information. One answer to that, of course, is to encourage them to join the Liberal Democrats or sign up as a registered supporter. Another is to put them in touch with their local party to get added to any relevant local email lists.
Plus, there’s always my Liberal Democrat Newswire email newsletter.
Thank you to Greg Foster at Liberal Democrat HQ for his help with the update and to Peter Martin and Austin Rathe for their help with the earlier versions.