Don Porter CBE is a former chairman of the National Conservative Convention
and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Board.
Following the successful launch of Conservative Voice in September, our enhanced website was launched on the eve of Party Conference here in Birmingham – www.conservativevoice.co.uk. You can follow us on twitter as @Con_Voice.
Conservative Voice was formed in order to drive more effective campaigning at all levels of the Party, with a particular focus on helping to win a majority in 2015. The organisation also aims to give a greater say to members of the voluntary party – the activists who play such a vital role in helping to win elections on the ground.
Since the launch, thousands of supporters have joined Conservative Voice, demonstrating the appetite within the Party for campaigning in new and different ways.
The core team includes the following MPs: Steve Barclay, Conor Burns, Robert Halfon, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab from the 2010 intake together with David Davis, Rt Hon Liam Fox, and Jacqi Foster MEP. Now that Party Conference is underway, we have been approached by many of their Parliamentary colleagues who also wish to be part of this successful team.
There is a great deal that we will learn from social media campaigning in USA. Barak Obama, Mitt Romney and Steve Jobs share one thing in common – they built organisations that collect, manage and use data exceptionally well to win market share. Their approach is data-led and customer-driven in order to out-manoeuvre the competition.
In the US political landscape, every voter contact is logged – whether it be on the phone, at the door or via social media. This is then linked directly to the voter record. The focus is on engaging with each individual elector and generating an emotional connection between the voter and the candidate. As part of the early activity for the Obama 2012 campaign, online activists were asked to celebrate the President’s 50th birthday by doing one of three things:
- Collect 50 “I’m in commitments”
- Inspire 50 Donors to give
- Get 50 people to attend a campaign event
As an incentive, successful activists were entered into a draw to attend the President’s birthday celebrations. This demonstrates real engagement between a political party and its activists.
Both the Republican and Democrat Parties know that having many tiers of people involved at varying levels of engagement enables them to go back time and again to ask for more support and more money.
These U.S Parties understand that a large number of small donors creates a stronger base of activity than a handful of large donors. For example, although the Democrats successfully raised many millions of dollars to fight the 2008 Presidential election, their average donation was just $69.
Conservative Voice’s new website demonstrates some of our recent campaigning initiatives. You will see our current campaigns – 'Stop the Petrol Rip-Off' led so effectively by Robert Halfon MP and "We Need More Apprenticeships" launched on Sunday by Jackie Doyle-Price MP. Conservative Voice is also very pleased to have a close working relationship with ConHome.