Branch secretary Taylor Riach says they have more members involved in this year’s ballot, after recruiting, training and nurturing more activists following the 2018 campaign: “We’ve found the branch app a brilliant tool for helping us identify members who we haven’t yet spoken with or who haven’t indicated they’ve posted their ballot paper. Our organiser Kirsty Brown passed on the login details for the app to all of our reps. We have taken notes of members names and updated the app daily. We have managed to cover most of our branch and are now at a stage of identifying individual members who haven’t been contacted yet and seeking them out directly.
Our aim for the first two weeks was to saturate the branch with leaflets. We split our time over our two buildings, with reps taking turns to leaflet at both buildings. From the last ballot, we found that leafleting in the morning is best – colleagues are less pushed for time than they would be on a break/lunch or on their way home – so we leafleted both buildings every morning, after consulting reps in different directorates on members’ rough start times.
Our organiser set up a rota on Google Drive which all reps had access to and could update. This allowed everyone to see slots that were yet to be covered and let less experienced reps find a slot where they could leaflet alongside someone. We’ve found that three people is the ideal number to have leafleting at peak times – two to hand out and a third to record the names.
We printed local leaflets to keep our members’ interest, and we encourage members to pass them on to friends if they say they’ve had them already.
From week 3 we organised specific events around key dates, and planned leafleting sessions at different times to make sure we’re catching any members with alternative shift patterns.
We also have a branch Whatsapp group. In the run up to the ballot period we ensured that as many reps and Advocates as possible were signed up. We use this to share guidance, tips, and links to the app and leafleting rota. We also use it to encourage each other and arrange social events!
Ahead of the ballot period we put in place resource kits in each building. These have different kinds of leaflets, application forms, pens, clipboards, magic gloves, hi-vis vests etc. Having these in an accessible location near the entrance to the building means that activists don’t need to keep their own stash or go hunting for materials every time they want to go leafleting. You can literally grab some kit and get on with it.
Weeks 1 & 2 were all about leafleting, weeks 3 & 4 were all about collecting names. Moving into weeks 5 & 6 we’ve cross-referenced our app data with our mapping data to get lists of which members haven’t voted in each section, and sent them to activists in that area.
We have also been very active on Facebook, posting messages to remind members why it’s important to vote and congratulating other branches on the amazing work they’re doing. Our reps have been contacting everyone in their friends lists to ensure that they have voted.
Several reps have phone-banked and have found the system much easier to use than last year and handy to be able to do from home. A lot of members don’t answer but being able to send on the message from Mark Serwotka and move on to the next caller is much more efficient.
This time around we have learned how important it is to support each other and build each other up. Six weeks is a long time, and it can be easy to become discouraged. We have a lot of new activists since the last ballot so one thing we did this time was hold training sessions to prepare new activists, not just on how to talk to members, but also how to keep their energy levels up.
We held a mid-year election shortly after the last ballot to provide a route for active members to get even more involved. We gave these new reps additional organising and mapping training and got them involved with this work from the get-go. We have also put in place an Advocates Coordinator and have advertised for new Advocates through our branch newsletters.
We definitely have more members involved this time around and we’re making sure that all members are talking to their friends and colleagues about the ballot, making sure to come back to us with updates.”