One of our strengths as a party is our broad, committed base of activists. Sometimes, it can be hard to pick out who in your area might be willing to help - so we've put together a guide for you!
You likely already have a large amount of data that you can use to identify potential volunteers - even without canvassing. When someone signs a petition on the national party's website, the data they provide is synced to Connect too.
We've seen this work astonishingly well with our Exit Brexit petition. In some cases over 50% of those in an area who've signed it have then gone on to volunteer for us. That's a pool of a few thousand extra people you could ask!
(Note: you'll need a Connect account. If you don't, talk to your local party to get set up. If you're new to Connect or need a refresher we have plenty of guides available on Lib Dem Learning.)
So how do I find them?
You can set up a list of volunteer prospects using Connect target pools. It's easy enough to do:
- Open Connect, and click Create A New List.
(If you're struggling to read any of these images, click them to open them in a new tab)
- Scroll down to Target Pools
- Ensure that the option for including people is set to ANY and not ALL.
- Scroll down and select "Volunteer Prospects" options. This bit involves some trial and error – start with Tier 1, run a search and then add tiers by clicking “Edit Search” until you have enough people. (Hint: if you're struggling to find them, press Ctrl+F [⌘+F on Mac] and search for "volunteer")
- From the same list, scroll down further and select all four options that begin with "National Website Petition".
- Run the search!
Note: the party's new supporters scheme is another excellent source of potential volunteers. You can identify supporters through Salesforce - find out how here.
I've got my list of prospective volunteers. Now, what should I do with them?
- Give them a call where you can, or arrange a face to face meeting. It's always better to have a two-way conversation! Listen to them - find out what they want to contribute and why.
- Ease them in. Don't ask them to join the party or stand for election off the bat unless they seem interested in doing so. Keep it low-commitment - delivery is a good starting point.
- Give them a reason to volunteer! Get them to meet your candidate and explain how your volunteers' work makes a difference.
- Hold group campaigning events. Make it a social event - people will be more keen to help out if they're enjoying themselves!
- Make sure newbies are paired up with more experienced campaigners! Make sure they know they can take as long as they want, too. It's better for them and your campaign for them to learn the ropes before you let them off on their own.
- Be accessible. Phonebanking is a great option for people who struggle with mobility. Clerical work can be offered to those who'd rather not talk to other people.
I can't understate how important recruiting volunteers is. Whether local elections are looming for you or you're gearing up for the next time around, a wide, diverse volunteer base is essential.
The more volunteers we have, the more Liberal Democrats we can elect to make a difference on every level. There are millions of British people who agree with our aims. Even a small percentage of them represents a sizeable force - and a big amplification of our voice.