The Liberal Party of Canada is opening its doors to all Canadians who wish to connect with and be engaged by the Party. Liberal delegates at the Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention decided to transform our Party into a more open and modern political movement by allowing a whole new group of supporters to participate in choosing our next Leader.
The LPC Constitution states that to be eligible as a supporter you must be either a member of the Party or:
(a) at least 18 years of age;
(b) support the purposes of the Party;
(c) qualify as an elector who may vote in accordance with part 11 of the Canada Elections Act or ordinarily live in Canada; and
(d) not a member of any other federal political party in Canada.
Identifying Potential Supporters
The right to vote in the Party is, historically, one of the most widely recognized and effective incentives to be involved in the Party. Potential supporters need to be made aware of the upcoming leadership vote and their eligibility to participate in it. The best way to communicate this is to build relationships.
People recruit people. The most effective way of recruiting is to foster personal relationships with people, and communicate the benefits of becoming a Liberal supporter. Think of how you would like to be approached when planning how to recruit new supporters. Build a relationship by planning opportunities to interact (such as community events) instead of just outright asking. The more meaningful the relationship your riding association builds with potential supporters, the more likely they are to become supporters or join the Party.
Identifying potential supporters in your Riding
Target the following groups when pursuing supporters. The different groups below are all people that have shown interest in the Party, whether the active commitment or self-identification with our values. They are listed from a high level of engagement with the Party to low.
- Active Volunteers and event attendees – personal relationships and further opportunity for involvement (by participating in the Leadership Vote) will appeal to this group and help when recruiting them.
- Past Volunteers and previous sign takers – reaching out to these individuals through community events and other engagement activities can help to get them involved so that they are exposed to the benefits of becoming a supporter.
- Liberal Voters – These people have been self-identified as Liberal, and therefore are committed to our Party and values. Engage these people by inviting them to events in their community.
Visit http://liberalist.liberal.ca to learn how to create a list of volunteers, event attendees, sign takers and Liberal voters.
Executing effective projects to recruit supporters to your riding
Building your team
Consult with your most active members and riding association executive when deciding which recruitment methods would be most effective in your riding. The more people with a hand in the decision-making, the more people with a vested interest in the results.
It may be helpful to organize a steering committee that reports to the riding association on your progress. Some of the people that you bring to the table will be empowered by the responsibility and may be more inclined to ask other people to join because they will be a part of your team. Members of your steering committee may also have personal contacts or ideas to improve your campaign/event. Whatever the approach your riding association decides on, it is helpful to reach out to members as well as to past and active volunteers to be a part of the project once you have enough of the basics determined for you to communicate the opportunity to get involved.
Getting it done
There are a variety of ways to approach potential supporters: in person, by telephone, by email and by regular mail. However, experience has shown that people respond best by being approached by volunteers committed to the Party, whether in person (door-to-door, events, etc) or by phone. Furthermore, using a base of volunteers make these people more engaged in the Party. Regular mail is the least cost effective method to communicate.
Organizing a Phone Canvass
First clearly define the audience (i.e. who) and content (i.e. of your phone canvass so that you can put together a script for volunteers. Simplify the “ask”: clearly define why you are approaching this particular group and why becoming a supporter would appeal to them.
Phone canvasses are most effective when run from one location: set a specific date, time, and location and make it a group bonding experience for volunteers. Volunteers are more motivated to make phone calls at the same time as other volunteers in a central location. The geographic size of your riding may make this inconvenient so you may prefer to set up a couple different home centers or to split up your lists and have a telephone meeting to report on everyone’s progress. It’s important to have fun and to feed your volunteers.
Virtual Phone Banks on Liberalist show canvassers the information they need about each person to call and allow them to enter the canvassing results right away. Often the greatest obstacle is resources: finding a computer and phone line for each volunteer. Skype is a useful solution. Skype is an internet program that allows very inexpensive computer to land line phone calls. All you need is a wireless internet connection, and you can have volunteers bring in their laptops to run the phone canvass. Another solution is printing out canvassing sheets from a different list so that some of your callers can use the virtual phone bank and some can call from canvassing sheets. If you don’t have the resources you need to set up a virtual phone bank, simply print all of your lists and focus on getting the phone lines you need. Many volunteers will have free cell service on evenings and week-ends, so ask them to bring a phone.
Please visit http://liberalist.liberal.ca to learn how to print lists and/or set up a virtual phone bank.
Organizing an Event
Events are a great opportunity to build relationships because people get to meet in person. Different kinds of events are helpful for building relationships with different groups. Community events, for example policy discussions, should be promoted as widely as possible to encourage non-members, members and donors to have their say. Ridings may choose to hold an open AGM and invite people who are not members; however, only members have the right to vote at these meetings. An open AGM is a good example of an event that engages both members and supporters.
It is helpful to have some sort of purpose or incentive to interest people in attending your event. Traditionally, organizers promote an opportunity to network, to listen to a guest speaker and to enjoy food or drinks. For example, a great low cost event is a spaghetti dinner with a speaker. Higher ticketed events are intimate events for networking and meeting with special guests.
Once you have determined the time, cost and special nature of the event, you should do a phone canvass and send an email to your target audience to invite them to come. It is also easy to promote your event online and manage the registration on Liberalist by submitting your event here- http://events.liberal.ca/ This will provide you with a registration link that you can share by email and through social media like Facebook or Twitter. For more information on managing your list of attendees on liberalist, visit http://liberalist.liberal.ca.