Building a support base ‘Grafting’

The day after the night before: I had no real plans for today except to go to the Conference Centre and be there at the Q and A session. Having become familiar with the layout if the Conference Centre, I gave myself three minutes to get to the How to plan a successful campaign (or some such title) I arrived to find it had been relocated, and not just to another room but to another building. My sense of humour was tested when they told me it was now going to be held in the Osborne Room. Insult to injury.
but I’m so glad I went. Ian McNicol was chairing the group and introduced us to Arnie Graf This laconic American spoke about the need for campaigners to properly engage with people and to hear their story, before asking them for support. So we set about doing an interactive exercise finding out about a stranger in the room. This point was to illustrate the importance of building up a relationship with each potential supporter. Arnie told the story of how the good Labour council in Preston set about reclaiming the Council seats that had turned away after the 2010 elections. So he urged door knocking and street stalls starting with two or three and rather like a pyramid scheme, involving those two or three to go forth.
The plan is so obvious! Just recruiting during up to an election leaves the public feeling like pawns in a Westminster game.
Then the session morphed into the NEW campaign on Freezing Energy Bills and on the Labour site you can calculate where we are encouraged to show people how you can save. But the important thing is to get people talking: down the pub ( volunteers?) at the school gate? Church? Basically we should be out there in the community finding out what are people’s local concerns and then talk about National Policy issues like Energy costs. Most empirical research shows that when presented with a survey of issues that are of concern, 100%returns show cost of living boxes ticked.
Anyway, I am definitely on for the street stall to put some of Arnie’s ideas into practice.

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