Organising an Action Day

Action days are the lifeblood of Lib Dem campaigning. Although all other parties have their own versions of the Lib Dem Action Day, like the Marks and Spencers ads of old, ours aren’t just any action day, they’re Liberal Democrat action days!

However, there are some really crucial things that we should do to make sure our action days are the best they can be. In this article, I’ll show you examples of key action day ingredients from across the North East so you can make sure your action days are the best they can be. 

1. An email is not an ask

An action day isn’t an action day if there’s no one there to do anything! It’s really important to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of success by getting as many people to come as possible. As easy as it is to fire-off an email, sit-back and think ‘job done’, time and time again, we’ve seen that just sending an email ask is a really ineffectual way to get people to come and knock on doors.

During a by-election in Northumberland, we had a virtual phone-bank set up specifically to call members to tell them about the upcoming action day, this was so much more effective than just an email. In Sunderland, one candidate has been known to send personal WhatsApps to people they know who have attended before. In Newcastle, I’ve even gone out knocking on doors to ask people to come to our next action day. Anything is better than just sending an email.

2. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! 

There’s nothing more annoying than turning up to an action day to find everyone running around like headless chickens, with no delivery available, nor a MiniVan list in sight. If we want to make sure people have a good time at your action day and most importantly come back again, then it pays to properly prepare.

When telling people where your action day is, give clear instructions of where to meet and make sure you as the organiser get there early with your leaflets already bundled and your list numbers ready to go. You can easily run an action day out of a car boot in a car park, but only if you get everything prepare properly before hand. 

3. An army marches on its stomach

It’s cliched, but one of the most important bits of an action day is the food and drink you provide during and after. Although you don’t want to have people spending more time snacking than knocking, it’s still vital to make sure you have adequate refreshments or a plan to get them.

In Northumberland, our meeting point was often a cafe meaning a lovely lunch and post canvas coffee was easily sorted. In Newcastle we’ve had volunteer made sandwiches and baps for the lunchtime break. A happy action day is one with well fed volunteers. 

4. Make it fun

Another important part of an action day is making it fun and enjoyable. Our volunteers are just that, volunteers and we need to make sure they have a fun time else they won’t want to come back again.

Consider an after action day activity like going to a cafe or getting something to eat together. Use this as an opportunity to get feedback on the doors and work out what you can do to make it better next time. In Sunderland, canvass sessions are almost always finished with a trip to the pub where funny anecdotes from the doors are shared, a great way to make the action day fun. 

5. Thank you, thank you, thank you

The final thing to make sure you do is say thank you. If we don’t properly thank our valued volunteers then they will pretty quickly stop volunteering for us.

At the start of the action day when you’re greeting people make sure to thank them for coming. At the end of the day when people are going, make sure you thank them for volunteering. After the by-election or local elections send a card or do an event saying thank you.

In Newcastle, we always hold a thank you party for our activists and volunteers after the local elections as a way of giving back and saying thank you. 

These are just 5 things we think will make sure your action day is the best it can be. 

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