Last week, I talked about building the membership up this year (which can be found here) and a few people reached out to me asking, what is the best way to get people to take a Green membership.
Before I go any further, this post is more focused on how to build up the membership within your inner social circles. I will do another post if enough people are interested in how CA’s can help build their membership up.
The first thing you need to know is, not everyone is going to want to join the party; lots of people don’t believe in joining political parties and that’s okay. You’re going to get a lot more “no” then “yes”. My best advice to that is not to let it discourage you. Just imagine that they are going to vote Green in the next election.
The best way to get people in your inner circle to take out a Green membership is by making connections with them and the party. You have the upper hand over every other party when it comes to getting your friends, family, and colleagues to join. So don’t try to sell them on it the same way you would sell products, meaning, giving a list of why it’s a good idea to buy a membership. Instead, talk about an issue that they are concerned about and tell them what the Green policy is. They may respond with, “well that’s good but it’s not enough”, to which you can then respond with, “I understand that; I think you should buy a membership so you can help shape our policies for the better”. You have now gained their interest, and you’ve made them feel like they can contribute something to the party. You don’t have to sell it to your inner circle by making a list and selling it through a 30-second conversation. You know them better and you can talk about how the Green party can address their issues of concern and how they can help shape the policy around those issues.
Make them feel like buying a membership is empowering them to make a difference. When it comes to selling a membership, you don’t want to sound too soliciting, as in, “have you had time to hear about the Green Party”; people automatically shut their brains off once you start talking about a list. You don’t want to make a list of why they should join the party. You want them to feel like their membership is going to help shape the party. It will let them get to vote for their Green candidate in the next election, so they get to shape the party’s policies. Make them think, “wow, I have the power to make a difference in my community”.
The next way to help get someone to buy a membership is to beat the stigma that all politicians are the same. Politics gets ugly and we mostly see only that on TV. Use that to your advantage – talk about how the Greens are truly different when it comes to politics. Now that doesn’t mean to give them a list of why the Green party is different. Talk about a memory that you’ve had with the Greens – break down that barrier that all politicians are in it for themselves. I always talk about some of my canvassing stories. A lot of people are like the one where I was canvassing during the winter when I slid down the walkway into a snowbank. The person that was walking by helped me up. So naturally, after I was back up I started to ask them if they decided who they were going to vote for while handing them our brochure, only for them to look at me and hand me an NDP one. I didn’t realize the person that helped me up was also canvassing. That story breaks the ice – it gets people to laugh and it shows that even if you’re a Green member, the other party isn’t our enemy. We understand that we all want to make Ontario better, we just have different ideas about how to do that.
Now making those connections is great but inviting them to some Green events also works. Invite them to an event especially ones that aren’t mainly focused on politics, like a Christmas party. There’s a lot of fun with the Greens and membership doesn’t mean they gave to contribute time or their money. Membership allows for them to have a say within the local party, and vote in leadership races. Their membership helps grow the party and that $10 is still something. Think about this – if you sign up 10 new members, the party just gained an extra $100.
My final advice on signing up new members is talking about how they can help you and the party. Our friends and family want to help us. Making it more personal gives them a personal reason to get involved. It’s why during nominations, it’s easier to sign up new members. Of course, we aren’t always going to have nominations, but each year the local Constituency Association does hold an AGM and that’s a perfect time to ask people to buy a membership, especially if you are running for an executive position. It might not be a contested position, but no one knows for sure because someone could declare themselves at the AGM for any position. Treat it as if it’s possible for you to lose without their vote. Giving people a cause to join the party will increase the chances of them buying a membership.
These are just a few ways of getting your inner circle to buy their Green Party of Ontario membership today. We can elect more Greens in 2022 but we have to build up to that. This year is the time to build our membership – the more members we have, the more we can do.
So what are you waiting for, its time to get your friends, family and colleagues to join the party!