Grant Shapps is Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Welwyn Hatfield
ConHome readers already know that volunteers
play a crucial part in our party’s operation. They are the lifeblood of the
Conservatives – standing shoulder to shoulder with our party professionals,
candidates and MPs – many of whom have volunteered for years themselves.
During the last election, I ended up with
a lot of volunteers helping me out on the ground. But after polling day I was
still stunned to discover I needed to sign a thousand thank you letters to folk
who’d directly helped in my re-election campaign – far more than the number of
members in my Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Association.
The power of volunteers was clear. So when
I became Party Chairman last year, one of the very first things I did was to
examine the opportunities to create a nationwide volunteer network.
We went out to talk to our members and
existing volunteers and got a firm idea of what motivated them, studying the
London Olympic Gamesmaker programme and the experience of both Democrats and
Republicans in last year’s US elections, before setting to work building our own grassroots volunteer
It’s called Team2015 and it’s run by our volunteers
themselves. The principle is
simple. We seek out those who want a brighter future for this country.
Those who believe that we’re on the right track with our reforms to the economy
and the benefits system. Those who know that you can do more for less and that
it is the talent of entrepreneurs and businesses that will build on the
1.3 million private sector jobs that we’ve already helped to create. Then we simply
ask them to join Team 2105.
Every volunteer is phone interviewed by
our team of voluntary coordinators who are based full time in CCHQ – just outside
the door to my office. We then assign each member to one of our 40/40
target seats, based on the skills they possess.
The key to Team 2015 is careful targeting. We’re
focused on seeking out the talents and abilities of each person who signs-up
and we allocate volunteers to each target seat based, not just on their
location, but also for the first time in the history of the Party, based on the
skills they possess.
We’ve had a film maker sign-up – and he’s
making films for our website. We’ve had a graphic designer sign-up – so he’s
designing Team 2015 literature. And the professional
bus driver, well he’s moving our new troops around the country. These are just three of the people who’ve
volunteered to date. They join over 1,000 individuals who have joined Team 2015 so far.
But here’s the thing. Not every person
signed up to Team2015 is a member of the party. This project is of course open
to our members too – and many of the volunteers now working in target seats are
members – but they don’t have to be. That’s also how it worked my own seat.
Many of those who came out to work in the constituency aren’t members – but
they still want to get involved in their own way.
I am grateful for every person who joins
the party as a demonstration of their personal commitment to our values and
plan to help hardworking people. But politics is changing, and it’s also
important for us to engage with individuals who might not want to be members
just yet – and that we do it in a meaningful way.
So whether you’re a Conservative Party
member or not, if you’d like to take a positive step today to ensure that this
country’s best days lie ahead of us, if you’d like to help prevent Ed Miliband
and Ed Balls walking up Downing Street in 674 days time, then please act now. Join Team2015 today by signing up here: www.conservatives.com/team2015. And one of
our Team2015 volunteer coordinators will be in touch soon.