Friday, September 05, 2008

Lessons for Local Party Secretaries: no. 1 – establishing your target audience

Not necessarily the first thing that might normally come to mind, I admit. However, in order to successfully transmit information, you really need to know who you’re supposed to send it to.

The first task of an incoming Secretary should be to find out who your stakeholders are. Naturally, the identity of the members of the Executive Committee is important, but is there anyone else who needs to know what the Local Party is doing? If you have an MP, they should probably be on the mailing list, although they aren’t always, and the same goes for any PPCs you might have knocking about. Is their head of office on the list? They should be. Is your Council Group Leader there, and/or the Group Whip? Add them too. Do you have branches? Don’t forget the Branch Chairs then. And, of course, you’re part of a Regional Party. Is there a contact from the Regional Executive (some Regions do this)? Help them to help you by including them.

You’ve got the names, now make up a spreadsheet, which will include their names, roles (if appropriate), addresses, contact telephone and e-mail addresses. Make sure that you distribute it to everyone concerned, so that they can check the details and correct any errors. That way, you know how to contact everyone, and your key contacts will have a readily available sheet of paper with all of the contacts they might need on it.


Left Lib said...

I am a local party secretary and my experience is rather different. I suppose my position evolved. I do not like writing the minutes, but to compensate for that, I am responsible for the newsletter. To produce a newsletter I have to put something in it, so I start organising social events. To do that I need to know who can host them. Then I get concerned that people receive the newsletter and then forget what we are doing. So I put together an email list and thanks to the Lib Dem list server, I can send them reminders. It is not just the stakeholders, it is everyone in the party you need to be in touch with.
You also have to be aware of your calendar. By now you should have organised your AGM. Ideally you should get a good speaker who can inspire people to volunteer to stand for your executive.
It really is a hands on role, and potentially an agenda setting one.

Mark Valladares said...

An interesting view, although the Secretary's job, as defined by the Constitution, is little more than acting as a minute and correspondence secretary.

On the other hand, you've taken on two roles that, in a Local Party with a decent membership, would be done by two different people. I have to admire you for that, and you've got a very fortunate Local party by the sound of things...