Whilst we all enjoy the delivery exercise that goes with any campaign delivering thousands of leaflets weekend in, weekend out, is not always the best use of councillors and other campaigners’ time. There does come a point when ward organisers, activists and councillors need to stop being delivery machines, and build up a network of deliverers to help distribute Focus. This frees up time for councillors and activists to campaign, knock on doors and build up even more support for the party.
But many people find it hard to find deliverers. London Assembly Member Cllr Caroline Pidgeon outline’s her top tips on finding and keeping focus deliverers:
- A good place to start in any area is with a local survey. This can be on a range of issues, or more focussed on a local topic such as parking, crime or the NHS. Always include a help box with the words ‘I can help deliver a few leaflets in my area’ clearly visible.
- Always follow up anyone who ticks this box with a phone call or personal visit and see how much they are prepared to deliver. Not everyone who ticks will be able to help, but don’t get disillusioned.
- Don’t offer too large walk. If a person is happy to deliver their block or street for example, which is part of a delivery walk, then take them up on it! Giving someone 500 leaflets will put them off from the start.
- If there is a particular estate or street where it is tough to find deliverers, try going through the data you have on EARS. Telephoning or knocking on the doors of known supporters asking if they might be able to help distribute our Focus newsletter regularly or if they know of anyone who could help, often can come up trumps.
- Look at who the community activists are at local meetings such as Friends of Parks, School Governors, Tenants’ Associations or Community Councils. These people already care about the area and put in many hours of unpaid work. Find out if they are supportive, and if so if they might deliver our newsletters.
- Casework is another good place to look. If you have helped someone with an issue, ask them if there is any chance they can help you. Many residents are only too happy to help and even if they are not able to, will be pleased to have been asked.
- Age is no barrier to being a deliverer either. Many deliverers I have known are retired and in their 70s and even 80s! They like to have a way of helping out and even if they are not able to themselves, they may have children and grandchildren who are only too willing to assist!
- Don’t forget to regularly check your membership list. People who have paid up to be members of the party may well be able to help out with a local delivery route, or one near their work.
- Always thank your helpers regularly and host an annual free social event. Always include helpers – even if they are not party members – they may become members if they feel part of the team. And don’t forget to send deliverers a Christmas card, or drop in a ‘cream egg’ if it is around Easter time. Small things showing how much you value their help, will keep a deliverer motivated and part of the team.
The more deliverers you have the better. They not only do the hard work on the ground, they also will talk to people and spread the word about the Lib Dems. In addition they are a pool of people who you can approach for telling on polling day, or help with stuffing envelopes.
And finally, never be afraid to ask – what is the worst thing that could happen?
Cllr Caroline Pidgeon AM is a Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and a councillor in Southwark
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