Make Votes Matter

How a political activist raised £22,420 from almost 900 backers in just 35 days to Make Votes Matter

An overwhelming sense of injustice over the 2015 General Election result spurred political activist Klina Jordan into action.

Klina had always been a campaigner: she staged her first event aged seven, when she led a sponsored silence for Friends of the Earth. 

Back then, urgent action on climate change was her goal. 

But in May 2015, as the election results came in overnight, her determination to make the world more sustainable had morphed into a new drive - to ensure the next seismic change in Britain’s political landscape would represent voters fairly.

Klina joined forces with Owen, a Member of Youth Parliament, and many other activists online, forming a group that later gained the name 'Make Votes Matter', following a vote by many thousands of supporters. 

She was determined to start a debate on proportional representation - the electoral system that decides the make-up of parliament by allocating seats on the basis of the number of votes each party receives.

Make Votes Matter was Klina’s way of getting cross-party MPs on board to help her lobby to make PR a realistic prospect by 2021

And she knew the only way to do that was to secure much-needed funding through Crowdfunder.

"The 2015 election was the most disproportionate in British history," says Klina, who co-facilitates the campaign from Bristol. 

"Parliament hasn't been so unrepresentative since women got the vote. Only 37% of voters voted for the party that got into power - just 24% of those registered to vote. 

"Democracy means majority rule, so when 76% of the electorate did not vote for the Government, we cannot say we're living in a democracy. 

"First Past the Post not only distorts election results but also means the majority do not have a vote that matters. All the polls, for decades, have shown the majority of the public want proportional representation. 

"For a long time, I'd been thinking that I might need to get involved in democracy, but I was very reticent because it's such a mess. I was going to do something, sometime - but the election was the tipping point." 

Owen, Klina, fellow co-facilitator Joe Sousek and the core team of volunteers launched a dynamic campaign with Crowdfunder to inspire backers to raise money for the not-for-profit organisation. 

Rewards starting at just £5 inspired almost 900 supporters to pledge, and the project's initial £10,000 campaign quickly grew as the days went on. 

By the time the project closed, £22,420 had flooded in thanks to promises of cotton shopping bags, limited edition T-shirts and VIP tickets to the Make Votes Matter Christmas party. 

In just 35 days, Crowdfunder had helped Make Votes Matter become even more of a force to be reckoned with, and Klina and her team could begin to plan a new phase of their campaign. 

The money will be spent on key campaign priorities like holding rallies and events, marketing software, supporting local groups and printing leaflets to distribute to supporters. 

"Crowdfunder has been brilliant," Klina added. "Incredibly helpful, with expert coaching. We've been really grateful for their help." 

Klina is spending the autumn at every political party conference, persuading MPs and other political heavyweights to back her PR campaign. 

Political leaders like Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, and Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell are already signed up to the Alliance to Make Votes Matter, and a high-profile rally is planned thanks to the pledges which came through Crowdfunder. 

Klina is particularly delighted that the campaign has secured the backing of its first Tory MP, Ben Howlett of Bath. 

"The tectonic plates of politics are shifting," says Klina. 

"We've got most of the major political parties on board. We don't want another election where so many people are unfairly represented. 

"This is just the beginning."