It’s very important to celebrate the amazing work people put into this set of local elections. Volunteers are absolutely vital, so take the chance to celebrate everyone’s hard work by holding a thank you party.
Here are our top tips for a great thank you party.
Make it positive
Celebration is the narrative of your event so focus on the positive. Luckily this year the national results provide an amazing backdrop, but whether you’ve taken control of your Council, won your seat, taken a step forward, or stood with your team for something you believe in and worked your socks off for it, you should be incredibly proud and thankful.
Thank you parties are best when there are lots of people at them so why not work as a local party or with a neighbouring ward to have one really good event!
Contact donors and recipients
You should make sure you invite your donors to the thank you party and show them what a great organisation they are investing in. Take time to introduce donors to the candidates or councillors their money has helped to support, there is no better way to get them hooked on giving than showing them the human side of our party.
Make it accessible
Your thank you party should be somewhere that is accessible to everyone. That means physical accessibility for wheelchair users and other mobility related issues and it also means a suitable time and place that everyone will be comfortable with, for example a thank you party at a pub may not be suitable for some guests. A weekend during the daytime often makes the best time to have a thank you party. Some of your members may be unwilling to come out in the dark and weekends tend to be suitable for the majority of workers. You’ll never please everyone, but try your best to be thoughtful and think through a time that’s best for most people.
It’s worth putting on a little bit of a spread if possible, it shows thought and how much you appreciate your guests. Remember to think about dietary requirements too! In my area we fund a small buffet to say thank you, putting a little money forward to make the event positive will pay the local party back tenfold.
It’s not a fundraiser
A thank you party serves a different purpose than a fundraiser. You might get away with a raffle, but you shouldn’t charge entry!
Invite and advertise
Invite EVERYONE. Thank you parties are a great free event to get people along to, so make sure you invite as many people as possible (don’t just stick with the people who always help, or help most) invite all your poster sites, deliverers, canvassers, staff, fellow candidates and councillors and anyone who has supported you. The more people you get along the bigger your team will feel and the more inclined people will be to help again.
Do remember to invite those people who’ve helped you but don’t live locally too!
Make sure you advertise properly. Don’t just promote on Facebook or send one email, make sure you get on the phone to people and invite them properly. There is nothing worse than your key helpers feeling shortchanged because they haven’t seen the email inviting them to the thank you party.
Say thank you!
It sounds obvious but take the chance to say a massive thank you. You should have a quick speaker (the agent or candidates would be perfect) to say thank you from the stage. It is also important to take time with as many people as possible to thank them personally.
A captive audience
You don’t need a long speech or a speaker, but someone should say a few words – a local party chair or PPC would be suitable – try to avoid every council candidate speaking.
Remember this is a captive audience of people who supported us and wanted us to win. It’s a great place to start people thinking about other ways they could be involved. Do you need candidates? Deliverers? When are you next going door knocking?
You can not have too many group photos of happy Liberal Democrats or candid chatting shots in your photo library so set someone up with a camera and add to that photobank.
Put all of this together and you have the recipe for a great thank you party. Don’t forget my invite!