Getting new members involved

27 Oct 2015

Former Lib Dem councillor Daisy Benson - who Paddy Ashdown tipped at conference as one of the party's future MPs- has been one of the leading lights in the 'Lib Dem Newbies' informal grouping, welcoming new members into the party. Here she writes about what the Lib Dems can learn from her experience:

For too long seasoned party activists have often viewed party members in two ways: if they move give them leaflets, if they don't ask them for money. But for me, political involvement must primarily be about feeling inspired and inspiring others.

That is why I have been piloting new ways of engaging members using newbies as a bit of a test bed but these ideas need not be limited to new members only:

Daisy Benson
  • Being friendly and welcoming. This may sound obvious but all too often we forget to do it. Lots of our newbies joined local parties where no-one has reached out and they know no-one - so allocate a buddy for each new member and find out a bit about them, why they joined and what they would like to do.
  • Running inspiring events with inspiring speakers. Who doesn't get a kick from hearing Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, Tim Farron or Nick Clegg speak? Apart from firing up our newbies I've found also this a great way to remind our brilliant senior members and former MPs how much we value them - a win-win (and sadly rather easier to organise now as many of them have less crowded diaries post-May).
  • Variety is the spice of life. Try not to think about a typical Lib Dem event would be. Instead think of what a fun event with a political angle would be, and then invite Lib Dems. This is how I got the idea of organising a visit to the film Suffragette.

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