About me

Welcome to my blog. Im always looking for new ways of bringing people together to build campaigns. Im always amazed by the energy and passion of the people I meet and the different skills they bring to making change happen - the ideas we try out, the campaigns we work on, the relationships we build together. I want to share those stories with you. I hope you enjoy them!

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You've got an idea or activity that you would like to develop, an issue that matters to you or would just like to find out more? Contact me now by email, twitter, or facebook.

encouraging people to support you

And after empowering your activists to campaign for you, the next part of the toolkit on getting (s)elected is how to get people to support you in your campaign.

Start with your personal story

We used a variety of techniques to spread Sam’s personal story –
social reporting, tweeting and blogging, to complement his website and manifesto. You may think that his story is so unique and powerful, from grassroots organising against tuition fees, the Iraq war and the BNP to campaigning across the country to get the Sustainable Communities Act passed into law. But many of you will have been involved in campaigning for issues that matter to you, whether it’s for civil liberties, abortion rights or for the planet.

Get a friend to film you talking to young people where they live
about how you got involved in politics (i.e. use a campaign which will trigger people's memories of the issue without you needing to make it explicit or current), if they are facilitating a workshop or speaking from the floor at a debate. Get people to take photos of you out campaigning with their local activists and MP.

Connect up your personal story to the collective story of your activists

As important as your personal story is how you connect this up to the different stories that the campaign is telling through the work of your activists. Telling their story means they can really feel ownership of your campaign to get elected.

We asked people for their
endorsements and then we asked them for what would be the top ideas they wanted to campaign on if Sam was elected. We wanted to show this wasn’t just about a candidate standing for election, it's about representing all the activists that don't get talked about, don't get on TV talking to ministers, don't work in Westminster, etc. Show how far you can reach out, not only geographically, but politically (from those who have always been on your side to those who are more “non-aligned”).

Go where the people are – adapt the messenger, not the message

Remember it’s not only about attracting supporters to come to your website or events, it's about reaching out to where they are. Reach out to the different activist groups & social networks you are involved in, but rather than just going yourself – identify allies who are active in those individual groups and get them to recommend you. For members of all of these networks, if they don't know you, they may think you are just doing the rounds.

Which is why for Sam Tarry’s campaign for Young Labour Chair, we only used microblogging when people started telling us they wanted to find out how Sam was campaigning on a daily basis. They wanted to know how he was explaining his proposals to people and how they were feeding them new ideas. It’s better to be honest about how you're trying to win people over than using spin to pretend you're not.

Which is why we only used
videoing when people asked who Sam really was. As he wasn't the incumbent, most of them didn't know who he was and wanted to know what evidence there was to suggest he would make the changes he promised. That's why we quickly filmed a "who is Sam Tarry" vox pop with the man himself and produced a series of short videos to ask him the questions that people wanted answered about his different pledges.

Which is why we focused on texting only in the last few hours of the campaign, as we were keen to make sure all our supporters could get to the election venue. We wanted to reassure them that whether they were coming from Glasgow by train or walking down the road from Gillingham itself, we would meet them and go together to the conference.

Track the causes & campaigns that matter to your potential supporters

Identify progressive networks you are involved in and
write an article about the issue that matters to them most – so that members of those networks can relate to you and trust that you will champion the issues they care about, but when up against your challenger, they can clearly identify you with that issue (which they themselves identify with).

Use these issues as a way of contacting your potential supporters and encouraging the most supportive & influential of these to endorse you. This will be far more effective than “cold calling” them out of the blue to vote for you & will get your message out on their mailing lists.

Build on your pre-existing campaigns & networks – especially if they haven't been actively engaged by the other side – they will prefer you championing them as part of your own candidacy.

Use each issue you’re standing on to show your campaigning capacity – only get involved or lead on the “low effort, high gain” activities which you can promote to your potential supporters (emailing them about the campaign, getting interviewed or on photo shoots which you can then share with them).

Identify progressive networks (particularly local) your friends are involved in and ask them to recommend you to their networks. Identify your potential audiences through general networks and “niche” networks on the issues you’re standing on.

Get a photo/video of you campaigning with your local party and with councillors/MPs/MEPs (these will be essential for those who endorse you, but also important for those who don't want to endorse either side, they are always happy to have their photo taken on the campaigning trail!).

Get in touch with people you know who are active in the media – whether its up and coming journalists or bloggers – and see if they can talk about your campaign. Feed the links to these articles back to the delegates from your region to show you can get the regional young Labour voice heard in the media.

Get in touch with friends or relatives who aren't involved in your party or campaign group but can help you with areas of your campaign which either demand greater resource (designing a flyer/website/video, ringing people up, etc) or show the direct impact you can have (organise or heavily promote one local campaigning activity to your potential supporters in your area and then invite as many local friends as possible). You can then promote this story.

Encourage bloggers who support you to place articles, banners or even just a link to their websites. This enhances the debate, attracts support, provokes publicity and spread links. You need to ensure everything you write about links back to your blog/website.

Thanks to Hannes Treichl for the photo published under Creative Commons license.

Next stop, developing your message and coping with your campaign.

Hope you enjoy reading and who knows, you may find the articles useful or even interesting! Please feel free to comment - I welcome criticism as much as compliments.


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