21st century Campaigning

March 9, 2012 1:17 pm

What does a 21st century party look like for…Field Operations and Campaigning?

Successful campaigns are built on effective candidates, a well thought out strategy, a clear structure, and a vision built upon the priorities of the local community.  Campaigns also hinge on involving and motivating volunteers, and on this count, we’re not always hitting the mark.

Currently campaigning in the party too often fails to properly explain itself and connect the campaigning activity people are asked to do with the vision of the campaign and the longer- term work of the party.  Campaigns are often too hierarchical and suffer from campaign teams which lack the skills and vision to facilitate proper involvement and create a meaningful experience for volunteers. This in turn leads to a situation of us and them in many campaigns – a small number of “elite” roles which develop strategy, plans and undertake creative activities, as compared to the majority who undertake repetitive, low skilled activities which offer little variety, excitement or opportunity for learning.

To motivate volunteers, campaigns must create a wide a range of participatory roles that A) connect to existing skills and interests and B) provide the opportunity for all volunteers to learn new skills and develop as they are involved in the campaign.

The Party should therefore work to support and develop the skills and capacity of campaigners and campaign teams across the country and share best practice between them. This will involve the development and implementation of more up to date technology that enables more autonomy and flexibility of working at the local level.

The Party must also enable local parties and campaigns to see the relationships with their volunteers as “long term investments” and support this culture change with relevant training for campaign teams and in turn learning opportunities for volunteers at all levels.

The new Executive Director will also need to respect locally developed campaign strategies and messages – and support a culture change in campaigning which allow members to listen and talk to the public and build up local  relationships over time.

This post is part of a series produced by LabourList and Labour Values.

Latest

  • Featured 100 days until the election – and 5 challenges for Ed Miliband

    100 days until the election – and 5 challenges for Ed Miliband

    There’s a countdown clock on my desk. I bought it when I was a Labour Party organiser, and remember the impending panic as the number of days ticked towards double digits, then single digits, then hours. Unlike in 2010 though, we’ve known the date of the general election for years. That’s had a profound impact on the way politics has been conducted in Britain and may – in part – have even played into the general sense of malaise amongst […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour have selected more women in safe seats but not a single BME candidate

    Labour have selected more women in safe seats but not a single BME candidate

    Research has found that of Labour’s 24 “safe” seats in England and Wales where a selection is taking place, the party is selecting more women than at the last general election. Analysis from Westbourne Communications, conducted by Lewis Baston, found that only 7 of the MPs retiring from these 24 seats are women. Yet 13 of the candidates are, so far, female. And with 7 male candidates, 4 seats are still undecided – meaning more women could be selected. More […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Syriza’s victory? I’ve got mixed feelings

    Syriza’s victory? I’ve got mixed feelings

    I don’t share the unalloyed delight about Syriza’s victory in Greece, and the sense that there are lessons in this for Labour, that many Labour colleagues do. I’m delighted that the right has lost in Greece – both the conventional equivalent of our Tory Party, New Democracy, and the fascist Golden Dawn. I hope that the economic and social nightmare the Greek people have endured will be brought to an end. The economic medicine the international community demanded Greece swallow […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Only by understanding the Holocaust can we adequately tackle modern-day intolerance

    Only by understanding the Holocaust can we adequately tackle modern-day intolerance

    Seventy years on from the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, it is more important than ever to remember the Holocaust. We must mark the anniversaries and milestones in solemn commemoration of the millions who perished. We must celebrate the lives of those who survived. We must honour those who still today share their experiences with the rest of us. And we must educate each coming generation about the realities of the Holocaust, as direct memories fade and our enemies seek to distort […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Miliband unveils NHS promise as Labour’s 3rd election pledge – as Burnham outlines 10-year vision for the health service

    Miliband unveils NHS promise as Labour’s 3rd election pledge – as Burnham outlines 10-year vision for the health service

    Tomorrow Ed Miliband will announce Labour’s third election pledge – following those on the deficit and immigration – and it’s on the NHS. Miliband will seek to hammer home the promise made at Labour conference (to fund more healthcare staff through the Mansion Tax, hitting tobacco firms and cracking down on tax avoidance) pledging to: “Build an NHS with the time to care:  20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. Join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments […]

    Read more →