Yesterday was yet another interesting day in the world of Alberta politics (and today even more so).
Like many of you I received a flurry of emails and notes of a political nature. The province is abuzz with what comes next.
It may not surprise you that the two political parties occupying the right side of the political spectrum both appeared in my inbox to capitalize on yesterday’s news of the day (the MLA for Calgary-Elbow’s resignation). As a communicator by profession they both got my attention because they were both very different. And both sent during a critical point in time for both parties: clear, direct communication is a must for both notes.
Here is the email from the PC Party. Download here: PC By-Election Email
Summary: a letter from the President of the party throwing the past leader under the bus (again). The focus was on the past Premier’s mistakes.
As a member of this Party I felt like the President was just reminding me of all the bad news stories from the past several months. He made a strange promise halfway through, “This circumstance won’t happen again”. A promise that a President of a party can’t commit to – the Party and Government are separate. The Party didn’t abuse taxpayer dollars – is the Party trying to step-up and own the wrong doings by saying this? I think the one thing we can’t afford as a Party are more promises that we can’t keep. Then – “Sincerely, Jim”. No request, no call to action, no links.
I can’t imagine this was supposed to act as an announcement of the news – because by time the email was sent you had to be living under a large rock to not know that the MLA had resigned.
Here is the email from the Wildrose Party. Download here: WRP By-Election Email.
Summary: a letter from presumed campaign manager of the party announcing it’s election time – while at least by-election time.
The email had the standard opposition party attack on the governing party. But then focused on the fact that the MLA for Calgary-Elbow stepping down created a great opportunity for the Party to prove itself by winning the pending by-election. Clear call to action – donate, make a difference, links. Links to donate at different price points (showing any amount matters), links to social media, links to the website.
Queue all my PC pals giving me a hard time.
Both notes slam Redford, both notes try to encourage their audiences in different ways, but where they differ is a key communications tactic – CALL TO ACTION.
A volunteer driven organization needs to constantly be focused on mobilization, motivating, and clear calls to action. Every volunteer needs to feel that there is a small, meaningful task that they can complete – this is how you keep supporters engaged. I was shocked that the PC Party didn’t ask for anything in this note; no call to renew memberships to show Alberta the Party was still strong, no call to action to fundraise to ensure they keep Calgary-Elbow PC represented, no call to volunteer for the by-election, no leadership race related call to action, no call to action to go to the website, stay in touch, tell your neighbor.
The nature of the PC email told me to sit tight and things would eventually be ok. The WRP email told me to do something; it told me I could be a part of something important.
The Wildrose got this right. My advice to them: stop focusing on the Calgary-Elbow MLA’s misfortunes (which they seem to be doing – as I write this I’m listening to QR770’s clip of Kerry Towle slamming Minister Horner). But they used this piece of news to rally the troops. They gave their supporters a clear stake and made them feel like they could directly impact the by-election.
The PC’s need to get back to their grassroots and start inspiring. Show us the opportunity ahead – or members may just start believing the narrative that there is none.
PS – my friends to the left. I’d love if you shared links to emails you may have received from AB Party, NDP, Liberals yesterday. I’m curious to see if they used the opportunity to mobilize.