How the Plymouth Greens are using Crowdfunder to make a mark in the general election

Green Party MP for PlymouthLast month Lauren Packham of the Plymouth Green Party made the groundbreaking decision to use Crowdfunder to back a local parliamentary candidate to stand in next year’s general election.

 

Her campaign was so successful that they have already raised enough to stand a candidate in not just one but two Plymouth constituencies, with more pledges pouring in to cover publicity and campaigning costs. We caught up with Lauren to find out how crowdfunding is playing a pivotal role in their fight to win seats.

 

The fee to stand as an MP is £500, and as the Green Party lacks the financial backing that other major UK parties enjoy they don’t have the funds needed to stand MPs all over the country. Lauren was confident that the support was there in the South West – the Greens just needed to find a new way to tap into the funds that they needed. Having seen other Crowdfunder campaigns prove successful she realised this could be the perfect way to get the financial support to stand a Green candidate in Plymouth.

 

“The Plymouth Greens needed the funds to stand MPs and the ‘usual’ methods of raising funds weren’t really working,” explains Lauren. “I knew there was a huge online following for the Green Party, but not so much ‘real world’ support – if you talk about the Green Party in public there is often a mixed response, whereas online it is easier to find and target supporters.”

 

The response to the Crowdfunder campaign was overwhelming. In less than two days the Plymouth Greens had raised the first £1,000 and were then able to stretch their target to £2,000. Again, they easily reached this, giving them enough financial support to stand candidates in two Plymouth constituencies. They have now stretched their target once again, this time to £3,000 – the extra money will be spent on marketing for the Plymouth Green Party, such as printing flyers and online advertising.

 

GPLogoGreenForWebLauren says she thinks Crowdfunder has worked so well for them because it has enabled them to take their campaign right to the heart of Green Party support.

 

“Crowdfunding is a great way to engage because, as I said before, finding and targeting supporters through social media is made much easier. For example, on stories published on Facebook relating to politics, you might find people who say ‘Vote Green’ and show support for the party – they are good people to target as you already know they are Green at heart. Or on stories about the Green Party that have lots of comments – sharing the link in the comments section means it is likely to be viewed by supporters and people sympathetic to the cause.

 

“Of course you will encounter the odd negative response but that’s part of it unfortunately, and most of the comments have been positive. I know this works, because after sharing the link a few times, my phone pings to tell me I have an email and I think ‘Fab – someone has pledged!’.

 

It’s such a good buzz, knowing that my work has paid off.”

 

If you would like to crowdfund your seat for the 2015 elections, upload your project today!

 

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