How the Green Party can better communicate with its members
Green Party members are active throughout England and Wales campaigning for environmental and social justice, standing in elections, and serving the residents of the areas they are elected to represent. Local and regional parties bring together willing volunteers to advance all aspects of our party’s activities.
As Green Party members we all need to know how our party is run and how we can share ideas and techniques for promoting campaigns and winning elections, and we all need to understand how policy and operational decisions are arrived at.
I have been a Green Party member for a little over 7 years, so I still feel myself a relative newcomer. There are still things I don’t know or don’t fully understand about how the party functions, even though I am a local and regional party officer and I have been to conference. But when I first joined, I had no idea what was going on. What was a “paper candidate”? (Was it anything like a “paper tiger”?) Why did we need a “local party contact”? What were GPRC and GPEx and DC and DRC and SOC and SOCC and SOPD and PDC? It was all very confusing.
When hi-tech companies design sophisticated products, someone needs to explain how those products will help people do their jobs more efficiently. Unfortunately, it is often the case that hi-tech documentation is not useful because it was written by developers who imagined that their readers would also be developers. However, the role I had in my career as a professional technical communicator for over 25 years was being responsible for making sure non-specialist audiences understood complex technical subjects, to the extent that they could make use of them to do their work.
In my mind there are strong parallels between the information needs of hi-tech product users and Green Party activists. The information they need to do their jobs probably exists, but it is often inaccessible. It is either written with the wrong sort of audience in mind, or it is difficult to find or access, or sometimes both. I have heard from members that they find the members website difficult to navigate, and that the information they find there is inadequate. This is a particular problem for local officers who are trying to complete routine administrative matters.
As a local party treasurer, I have helped the national party’s finance team revise and update the instructions sent to treasurers for their quarterly reports. I believe that this should happen for other administrative functions, and that members currently serving in various roles need to be involved in preparing relevant guidance. I think we need to look again at the members’ website and see how it can be improved. Any proposed changes need to be tested properly before being launched. Finally, we need to look for alternatives for Green Spaces, which has not achieved its goal of making it easier to share ideas and organise.
David Farbey is a candidate for internal communications coordinator in the 2022 Green Party of England and Wales executive elections.
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Image credit: Bristol Green Party – Public Domain
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