I couldn't have put it better myself.
A few weeks ago when I first blogged about this substantial mailshot (and there's another 15,000 being packed in Tunbridge Wells on Thursday, making a total of 40,000 targets), I was contacted by a mailing house offering their services. This particular company is run by former CCHQ employees and is sympathetic to our cause; hence their price was below market rate. They offered a full design, print, data merging and packing service (including a business reply envelope) for £3,000 (ex VAT) for 10,000 targets (or 30p per target).
Keeping it all in house we managed to keep costs at 8p per target (or £800 for 10,000) which is quite a saving (though in fairness once my time and Jon's time was built in, the saving becomes marginal).
However, even if money was no object, I almost certainly would retain it in house - for the very reasons Martyn Punyer outlines above.
"The value of friendships forged over a pile of envelopes is immeasurable and, for some members, such work has provided a safe and welcome outlet to do something really worthwhile when they find themselves alone in their later years. The Party ignores such human needs at its peril."
"...all these people working together reminds me of the old days, we felt we made a difference then."
Last February I posted my thoughts on the loss of the Eastleigh by-election. That post, more than any other, drew attention to this blog and helped build readership to the 30,000 per month I now enjoy. I linked our failure to capture Eastleigh to the demise of the voluntary party in so many parts of the country. I have just re-read that post and wouldn't change a word HERE
"The lesson from Eastleigh is this is what happens when a political party loses its membership, loses its branches, loses its district, county and parish councillors and ultimately loses its roots and understanding of the community it is there to represent."
And that is why I value our army of volunteers - they are worth their weight in gold; not just to pack envelopes and reduce costs, but more importantly as our eyes and ears (and champions) in their local communities, a fact which which no mailing house can ever replace.
At his speech accepting the 1988 Republican Party nomination, Vice President George Bush spoke of community activists and volunteers as "a thousand points of light on a broad and moonlit sky".
Our army of willing volunteers are own very own "thousand points of light". We should value them.