The Data Game
And it’s not just fundraising – the CPC are going to start the next campaign with more identified voters and sign locations than us, and they’re going to start the next campaign with their massive fear factory. And, between now and then, they’ll keep softening the Liberal support up with their hokey, but effective, attack ads. Let’s face it – despite some communication weaknesses, Dion hasn’t actually had an awful first year as leader but the perception that he’s a weak leader has set in, mainly due to the Tory ads.
So what needs to be done? Well, rather than cry about the massive Conservative database of voters as being an infringement of privacy, get your own. The CBC piece featured the Liberal Manage Elect program but the problem with that system is that the data gets flushed after every campaign (at least in Alberta it does…it is possible that the party is more organized in
On the fundraising side, the LPC needs to take a close look at what those people named Barrack, Hillary, and Howard have done in the states and they should just bite the bullet and hire someone who knows what they’re doing to take over fundraising for the party. Get volunteers or hire people to phone every party member asking for a donation. Go through the list of party and leadership donors from last year and make sure they donate again this year, and next year, and the one after that (hell, if you keep good enough records, you’ll be able to hit up the Volpe kids legally in a few years). The LPC needs to get Liberals into the habit of donating to the party – and it needs to bluntly tell people that Stephen Harper is going to be Prime Minister for a long time unless average Liberals cut the yearly cheques to the party. Even the ALP have a fairly large direct deposit list for donations to the party but I’ve never seen anything like that for the federal party (again, Ontario may have it, but it just shows how the party needs to centralize more since there’s a ton of money to be milked from Alberta, if not votes).
Another good idea I heard from someone a lot smarter than I am is to structure field worker pay on an incentive system. If you’re going to hire party staff, why not make a couple hundred fundraising phone calls part of their job description, with a large chunk of their salary being determined on how much they can raise? Ideally, you’d also include incentives for membership renewals and other firm benchmarks that help grow the party.
The bottom line is there’s a lot of work to be done. There needs to be a comprehensive plan in place to build a database of comparable size and detail as the Tories’ and to get the LPC to the point where they’re raising at least half as much money as the Conservatives every year. At this point, the party’s financial and structural health is a lot more important than some of the policy and strategy debates no doubt going on inside of it.