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Making Members Matter - Onwards And Upwards

Introduction

The Labour Party is a member-centred party and if we want to win power for another two or three terms, it is important for us to increase our membership and keep the party a vibrant and growing organisation. The challenge for all of us is to build on what we have created so far so that we can celebrate together again in 2002 and 2007.

 To repeat our triumph at the next election - and the one after that - means starting now. Millions of people feel really good about the Labour Party. Over the next few weeks we must go out and recruit them as members and build on the successful campaign and the voter contact that were the hallmarks of our election victory.

This membership recruitment pack will help you and your local party build on your membership and keep Labour in power for several terms to come.

Making Members Matter:- Onwards and Upwards contains everything you need to get new members, with advice on how to use information gathered during your most recent election campaign, and integrating membership recruitment into every aspect of your campaigning.

If you need any more advice or support, call your regional office or membership development at head office.

Key Messages:

The key messages we are trying to get across are:-

New Labour Making Britain better step by step

Members now have a key role to play in policy making decisions after the Partnership In Power propsals through policy forums

We are a member centred party - we want to involve as many different individuals as we can so that we can more truly represent all elements of the community

Remember at all times: - Members Matter!!!

From Supporters To Members

After an election, the best place to find new members is from the information gathered on the canvass returns - these should include information on who has put up a poster or a garden stake, who has switched to Labour from other parties and who is a first-time vote r.

Compare the canvass returns with the marked register - Labour supporters who voted are more likely to want to join.

Send a letter of thanks from the new MP or candidate to known Labour supporters. Tell them the result and ask them to join Labour. Include a membership form and reply envelope. Send this within a month of polling day if possible.

Who to target

. People who put up posters or who took garden stakes. These people are very likely to join, especially if asked personally. Often the whole household will be strong Labour supporters, so you may be able to recruit more than one person.

. People who are on our records as voting Labour over several elections.

. Particular groups, such as young voters or trade unionists. Try and involve people similar to those being recruited: young people or students are best recruited by young members; trade unionists by trade union members. They will have a better idea of the issues that concern their peers and speak the same language and can actually take the campaign to where potential members are.

Where to find new members

Talk to your local trade union branch officers - you may be able to cross-reference union members with your canvass returns. Perhaps the union could send a letter and a form to its members and organise a recruitment drive.

Specific geographical areas. If you have a village or an estate with low membership, try and involve local members in the recruitment campaign - potential members will see that people who join the Labour Party are 'people like us'.

Campaining For Members

Agree a date for your campaign to begin. You will want to make the most of the enthusiasm generated by the election, but you will need time to order any recruitment material from head office or from your regional office. Regional offices may have material that is more relevant to your local area.

Prepare your materials - letters, envelopes, application forms, scripts ete in advance of your campaign. We have prepared model letters, scripts and leaflets, which are enclosed in this pack, to help your campaign on its way.

Build a strong team

One person can do a lot of good work recruiting friends and family, but to recruit members on the scale that is really required local parties must involve as many existing members as possible.

The personal touch always works best - phone round party members or pay them a visit to get them involved. Make clear what the minimum commitment is for each team member - two hours is enough to make a difference. In that time one person can deliver a good quantity of direct mail letters, or phone 30 supporters. For those who are wary of getting involved, knowing they are making just a limited commitment may convince them to take part.

Your recruitment campaign

People may also be put off because they assume that recruiting takes great ability or powers of persuasion. It's important that we provide training for recruiters, and that we assure everyone that they will be trained, so that they aren't put off by their own lack of experience.

Once your team is ready, hold a team briefing. Tell people what you are doing and give them the chance to ask questions. Give out a sample of the materials you will be using and a copy of 'Winning the arguments', along with information on the advice surgeries of local councillors and MPs - you never know what you may be asked.

There are many ways to organise a local recruitment campaign, including recruitment by personal contact, telephone or direct mail - or by combining two of more of these methods.

Doorstep recruitment

This is the most effective way of getting supporters to join up. It gets the highest percentage of recruits, but it also shows that the Labour Party is out and about in the local community; it gives us the chance to pick up on local issues we may want to campaign on and helps keep our canvass records up to date. On the downside, this way of recruiting is very time-consuming, and other methods allow you to contact many more supporters.

You can either a) visit all the Labour supporters you identified during your election canvassing or b) telephone supporters to warm them to the idea of joining, and then get party members to visit those who are interested or who want to find out more.

The important thing is that members get out and ask people to join the Labour Party. The personal touch makes all the difference.

Telephone recruitment

This method works well where we have good canvass returns, especially from telephone canvassing - you will already have the numbers to ring. You can contact a lot people in a short space of time.

The main thing you need is a telephone bank, preferably one you can use on weekday evenings or at weekends. Trade unions and friendly local businesses are good places to ask for facilities. Better still, raise the money to install three or four lines in your local party office.

Three main recruiting techniques

Follow up any potential members immediately. Either send out an application form, or visit in the next few days. In both cases, enclose a pack with information on the Labour Party, both locally and nationally, and a letter from the local MP or candidate encouraging the supporter to join. You will also need reply envelopes and ordinary envelopes if you are following up by post, and 'sorry you were out' cards if you are following up with a visit.

Recruiting by direct mail

This can be quite expensive unless you target your mailing very carefully, but you can save money by hand-delivering letters. Always include a reply envelope (Freepost if possible, see below) - if you don't you cut down the number of replies you are likely to receive.

Our experience of mailing potential supporters in the Midlands shows that a three per cent return is excellent, two per cent is average and one per cent is not uncommon. Local parties can increase the return by following up mailings with doorstep or telephone calls.

To gauge the success of your campaign you can use a local return address for completed forms, but remember to send the applications on to head office as soon as you receive them.

There are sample direct mail letters at the back of this pack.

Freepost

If you have the resources, set up a local Freepost address for returned applications. Your local Post Office will be able to give you more information about this option.

A model recruitment campaign Lewisham East's former agent Phil Royal gives a step-by-step guide to running an effective post-election recruitment campaign, using Elpack, the party's election software package.

1 Identify your supporters from your canvass returns.

2 Use your Elpack records to print out labels. Stick the labels to envelopes. and fill the envelopes with a letter from an appropriate person, such as the local MP. The mailing should also include an application from and a Freepost envelope (we have a Freepost address here in Lewisham). We had the application forms returned here so we could contact the new members immediately.

3 Deliver your mailing. We delivered 15,000 altogether to known Labour supporters in Lewisham East - the local branches each delivered in their own areas. 4 Organise telephone and doorstep canvassing to follow up the mailing. 5 Hold a new members' meeting to welcome all your new members.

Results

In the five months following Conference, during which we launched our recruitment drive, we recruited over 250 new members. Timing is important - we launched our campaign during Conference week, when the Labour Party had a very high profile and was in the news with good, positive stories. While the exercise was quite expensive, we managed to more than cover our costs from the CLP portion of the membership subscriptions and the fundraising standing orders which new members completed.

Making Members Matter

Just as important as getting people to join is getting them to stay. There are ways we can help make new members welcome:

send every new member a letter of welcome, as soon as possible after they join . hold regular socials and meetings to welcome new members . many people joined the party to get more information about Labour's policies. Many MPs produce a regular update or newsletter for members on what is happening in Parliament and their local activities and contacts in the community. If your MP does not do so, why not ask them to start . hold a constituency all-member meeting three or four times a year to discuss current political issues. Get expert speakers from the Labour Party or other organisations and lay on refreshments

. send every new member a questionnaire or survey. You can find out what skills they have to offer, what work they can do for us (and how often) and learn what our members expect from the local party . improve the quality of meetings to make them more open and involving, with genuine political discussion and business kept to a minimum

. train new members in election techniques remember, new members will become the activists of the future, helping Labour to win government not just for one term, but for a generation

Welcoming new members

Involve new members in practical activities from the very start of their membership again, this will help all our campaigning and election activities

.

Set up an adopt-a-new-member scheme in your branch or constituency, where an existing member acts as a contact point for a new member or a group of new members for the first few months while they learn the ropes . some local parties have supper clubs - others have study circles . read some of the publications, available from the Membership Development Office at Millbank Tower, for more advice on ways to get new members involved in Labour Party activity.

Potential members may have some doubts even fears - aboutjoining Labour and what it entails. If you can answer their doubts, and give them positive reasons to join, you may be able convince them.

Accentuate the positive

Reasons to join:

- get involved in your local community

have a say in choosing local councillors and other representatives, right up to the Labour Party leader

get your voice heard

make friends

learn about Labour in government

show support for the party

influence policy

Counteract the negative

"I've always supported Labour, but I'm just not sure about joining"

Every member that joins makes Labour a stronger party, better able to take on the

challenge of winning power and building a better Britain. Our members help us to win elections and fund important campaigns. We need as many Labour voters to join us as possible to help with convincing people in this community that only Labour has the real answers to their problems, and that only Labour has the practical policies to rebuild this country.

"I don't have the time for it"

We are happy to have you as a member, no matter how much or how little time you can give. We hold regular social events which are enjoyable and give you the chance to meet other like-minded people. If you can help out, particularly at election time, we would appreciate it, but you are not obliged to do so. Your commitment is enough.

"I don't know enough about politics or Labour Party policy"

The Labour Party has all sorts of people in it - you don't have to be a political pundit to join. But once you are a member you will be able to learn more about the party, its policies and politics in general, both through our meetings and our regular membership magazine. Our branch regularly has local speakers on a variety of topics and current political issues.

Basic level

1 Contact every new member in the area, either by phone or by letter to welcome them within two weeks. Every new member will receive an invitation to their local branch meeting, along with information on the local party.

2 Ensure that all meetings are open and welcoming, where business is kept to a minimum and jargon explained.

3 Send every new member a survey or questionnaire, asking them what they expect from the local party and how they can get involved.

Intermediate level

1 Organise new members' meetings or socials every six months, and invite everyone who has joined in the previous six months.

2 Involve new members in all our campaigning activities from the start of their membership, by inviting them to everything that's arranged. Organise regular training sessions in election and campaigning skills and involve new and existing members.

3 Arrange a personal visit from the branch or constituency to the new member.

A new deal for new members

Advanced level

1 Organise an adopt-a-new-member scheme in the area, so that for the first few crucial months of membership new members are mentored by an experienced member.

2 Establish study circles to inform and educate all our members about Labour Party policies.

Model Recruitment Script:

Introduce yourself

Hello, my name is ... I'm calling from ... Labour Party.

Check that you are speaking to the right person, and that they have been canvassed correctly

Are you ... ?

I understand that you voted Labour in the recent election.

Is that correct?

Explain why you are calling

The Labour Party here in ... is making a special effort to contact our supporters to ask them if they want to join us. Explain what this involves

Can I just quickly explain what it means to join Labour?

By joining the Labour Party you will be showing your support for Labour, and paying an annual subscription which will help fund important campaigns, both locally and nationally.

We want people to join us because we believe that the more members we have, the better we can represent our community here in ... And the more representative we are, the more relevant we are, in our policies and our activities, to this area. Labour Party members pay an annual subscription of 16 if they work or 5 if they don't.

Script for doorstep recruitment

Explain what a member gets for their money For this you get a monthly newsletter from the local party, a quarterly colour magazine, and the chance to attend our monthly meetings and regular socials, as well as the chance to take part in our local other activities. Or, if you prefer not to get involved, you can just show your support by just joining.

Pop the question

Labour supporters join the party for many different reasons .... but it is certainly the best way of showing your support for the new government. We are really keen for you to become a member. So, do you think you'd like join?

If they say yes

Give them the application form and ask them to fill it in immediately. Check the form once it's filled in to make sure nothing has been left out, such as postcodes. Where possible, ask them to pay by direct debit or standing order, as this makes renewing much easier. Also ask if there is anyone else in the household who may be interested in joining. If they pay by cash, give them a receipt. If the new member can't afford the full amount, they can pay quarterly. Make sure that you follow it up a few weeks later for the rest, or the next quarter's payment.

If they say they will think about it Leave information on the Labour Party and an application form, and arrange to call back another day. If they say no, thank them for their support, and say that you hope they will continue to support us in the future.

Checklist for doorstep recruiters

Dress tidily - first impressions are important

Be natural and friendly, but to the point

Have some form of identification with you

Be unfailingly polite

Look them in the eye

Remember to bring: canvass cards, or other list of recruitment targets, pencils or pens, application forms or recruitment action packs, a receipt book, information on the local and national Labour Party, ,sorry you were out' cards, blank paper to note down any local problems

Thank the voter for supporting Labour

Don't smoke, eat, drink, or chew gum

If you get a local question or complaint, make a note of it and of the person asking, then pass it on to the local Labour councillor or MP, or other appropriate person, immediately.

Telephone Recruitment

Speak slowly and introduce yourself. Check you have the right person

Hello, may I speak to ... ? My name is ...and I'm calling on behalf of the Labour Party. I understand you voted Labour at the recent election election. Is that right?

If they say no, say:

"Sorry to have troubled you. Goodbye".

If they say yes continue as below. (if it is not convenient to talk say we will call back later, but always call back if you say you will.)

Say: "Thank you for your support. We did very well round here, thanks to the support of you and other people like you".

(Give election result information.) Say why you are calling

I'll tell you why I'm calling, ... The Labour Party here in ... is making a special effort to contact our supporters to ask them if they want to join us.

Explain what this involves

Can I just quickly explain what it means to join Labour?

By joining the Labour Party you will be showing your support for Labour, and paying an annual subscription which will help fund important campaigns, both locally and nationally.

We want people to join us because we believe that the more members we have, the better we can represent our community here in ... And the more representative we are, the more relevant we are, in our policies and our activities, to this area.

Labour Party members pay an annual subscription of 16 if they work or 5 if they d o n't.

Explain what a member gets for their money For this you get a monthly newsletter from the local party, a quarterly colour magazine, and the chance to attend our monthly meetings and regular socials, as well as the chance to take part in our other local activities. Or, if you prefer not to get involved, you can just show your support by just joining.

Pop the question

Labour supporters join the party for many different reasons .... but it is certainly the best way of showing your support for the new government. We are really keen for you to become a member. So, do you think you'd like join?

If they say yes

I'm delighted that you've decided to join. Now, I need to fill in a membership form for you.

Go through the questions on the form one by one. When finished read it all back to the new member to confirm all the details. Then say

There are several ways of paying - by cheque, credit card or direct debit. Which would you

prefer?

If cheque say thank you and continue with the script below. If credit card, take down the card type, the number and the expiry date. If direct debit, ask for bank name and address, sort code, name of account and bank account details - ask them to fetch their cheque book if they don't know the details. Remember, if you can sign them up on direct debit they are far more likely to remain members in the future.

You can also make a donation to the party which will help our research and campaigning. Would you like to do that too? If yes

How much would you like to give?

Bear in mind that a donation by direct debit can be annually or for one year only, so check which is appropriate.

Remember we need a signed form for every member.

"Now we only need you to sign the form, so we'll bring it round tomorrow. When is the best time to call in?"

See if there is anyone else in the house who may be interested

"Before I go, is there anyone else in the household who may be interested in joining us that I could speak to, or anyone else that you know of?"

Finish off

Thank you very much for joining us. We look forward to meeting you soon.

If they say they will think about it say I'll send you some information to help you decide tonight, and, if you like, one of our members will call round on ... day to chat it through with you. Is it better to come in the day or in the evening?

Arrange a time and finish off If they say no

Even though you do not want to join, will you continue to support us in the future? If no ask who they now support, and ask why they have changed their support - it will be useful information for the future.

If yes

Thank you very much for your support. Would you consider making a donation to help us fight future elections?

Take down details if appropriate. Finish off the call

Thank you very much for your support. Goodbye.

If you get an answering machine

Hello, this is ... from the ... Labour Party. We are telephoning you to thank you for your support in the recent election and to invite you to join the Labour Party. If you are interested in joining, or want to find out more, please call us on ... We will try calling again soon anyway.

Checklist for telephone recruiters

. Be pleasant

- Be positive

Smile - it makes a difference to how you sound

Introduce yourself

- Speak slowly and clearly

Keep to the point

Use the name of the person you are calling as often as possible

- Say thank you when appropriate

Fill out the form over the phone before sending it to the new recruit for a signature

- Copy the form before you send it, so you can keep a note of all the potential members.

Follow up a query or an expression of interest as soon as possible, especially if you said you would do so.

Don't rush

. Don't engage in lengthy conversations

. Don't speak in a monotonous voice

- Don't eat, drink, smoke or chew gum

. Don't argue

- If you get a local question or complaint make a note of it and the name of the person asking, then pass it on to the local Labour councillor or other appropriate person immediately.



We hope that the above helps with recruitment in your area. Please email us and tell us what happens if you chose to follow this approach. Good luck, happy recruiting and remember to always: 'Make members matter'!