Wednesday, 28 August 2013

"No thanks - we don't need any help!"

A good friend (a former Party Agent whose husband is a councillor in one of my Associations) recently emailed another Association, asking if they needed any additional help from her 19 year old nephew. I receive emails like these regularly, and always respond positively.  Even at quiet times, there is always something to do. Furthermore, a refusal sends out all the wrong signals; one of the surest ways to ensure the volunteer never offers to help again.  

She was therefore surprised to receive this reply

What's even more surprising is this Association has is a critical marginal with a majority of just over 4,000 votes, and at the County elections in May they lost three seats to the opposition.
At the moment in the West Kent office we are:
  • Data capturing three constituencies worth of marked registers
  • Data capturing responses to a 30,000 postal vote mailing to pledges
  • Data capturing Voter ID surveys from five campaign teams who are door knocking each month
  • Packing 15,000 Christmas draw ticket packs
  • Packing 3,500 surveys to attainers (which will soon need data capturing)
  • Removing 620 invalid email addresses from our database and adding new ones
Perhaps the Association has done all of the above, but I would be surprised!
If they have, why not ask the young man to help recruit postal voters? How difficult would be for them to give him a list of pledges who did not vote in a critical marginal ward, and ask them to pay a visit and sign them up for a postal vote? Such an exercise would boost his confidence, make him feel wanted whilst doing something really useful for the party?
If they don't want to do that, why not choose a target ward and give him a list of strong pledges to contact by phone and ask them to deliver newsletters to their own road at election time?   Again, something really useful which we usually don't have time to do due to everything else pressing on our time.
Or perhaps call lapsed members to see if they would like to re-join ?
But maybe this marginal constituency who have lost their council seats have more than enough delivery helpers, have no lapsed members, don't need any help recruiting postal voters and have done all the things they need to do to help win the next election.
If so (and it's a big if) there is still one job they could ask him to do. They could ask him to update their website, because when I checked it 20 minutes ago it hasn't been updated since 2011!
Am I cynical to assume that an Association which hasn't updated its website for two years probably isn't doing all those other things they should do enable us to win. 
But never mind.... far easier when an enthusiastic young man offers to help to say "we don't need any help" than to actually make him feel welcome and wanted.

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