With your help, 5 million people will use their vote with real confidence at the next general election.
How do you choose who to vote for?
Do you choose the party with the leader you like the most? Do you go with how your family or friends vote, or what the media says, or do you just vote for whoever you voted for last time?
It’s not easy to decide, but for democracy to work we need to know what the parties actually stand for - what they’re promising to do. In other words, their policies.
The trouble is their policies are buried in manifestos that nobody reads. Political parties don’t tend to shout about their manifestos, and instead what we tend to get is focus on 1 or 2 particular policies, along with a lot of spin and media bias, and the usual negative campaigning and bickering between parties.
With all this noise and confusion, it's difficult to get a clear view of what parties are actually promising to do. This means that you could end up voting for the wrong party...or you could end up not voting at all.
Over a third of us didn’t vote in the last general election, for young people it was over a half. Worse still, almost two thirds of us didn’t vote in the recent European elections.
The problem with this is that we’re facing big decisions about our future, big decisions about the economy, the EU, immigration, public services. So there’s never been a better time to use our vote, and know exactly what we’re voting for.
What’s our solution?
In 2010 a group of volunteers set up Vote for Policies - a really simple service that helps you to compare policies, without showing which party they belong to. No media spin, no bias, just you making an informed choice based on your own views and opinions. The results can be surprising, and you even get to see how people in your constituency think too.
Other sites help you decide where you are on the political spectrum - our service is the only one that helps you decide based on exactly what the parties are promising to do. And you get to read it in their own words, direct from the manifestos.
What’s more, once we really know what we’re voting for, it’s much easier to hold our politicians to account. So this isn’t just about voting, it’s about creating a better democracy.
415,000 users and counting!
Launching just six weeks before the 2010 general election, over 280,000 people used the service before polling day, sharing their results and spreading the word via Twitter and Facebook, and attracting attention from all of the major newspapers, online forums and even a few mentions on TV.
Such demand caught us by surprise, and a few technical issues meant the site crashed a lot. Without those issues, we could have reached twice as many people, if not more. Since then the figure has risen to over 415,000, so there’s real demand for this kind of service even between major elections.
The ultimate seal of approval comes from the amazing feedback we’ve had from thousands of users. Things like:
So what next?
Now we know it works, we really need your help. How can Vote for Policies reach even more people and make an even bigger difference in the next election?
Our vision is for voter turnout rates in the UK to be above 80%, and where the government is elected based purely on the popularity of their policies, and nothing else. More than that though, we want more people to be informed, confident and excited about having their say.
So for the next election, we’re aiming to help over 5 million people - young and old - to use the site, and use their vote.
And to achieve this we need THREE things:
1. A super-fast website that works on mobiles and tablets tooThat means rebuilding it and using more advanced hosting so it doesn’t crash when we get a mention on TV or a link from a major newspaper. It also needs to work just as well on mobile phones and tablets as that’s where a big chunk of our users come from. This is the most important step in being able to reach our target of 5 million people.
2. Include parties from Wales, Scotland and Northern IrelandVote for Policies needs to be more inclusive for people right across the UK. This means being a little more sophisticated so that different parties load depending on your location.
3. A planned marketing campaignThis will be heavily based on social media, but also will mean finding partners and publishers so that we can reach a much wider audiences this time.
Those are our three priorities for reaching our goal for the next election.
But there's so much more we want to do and great ideas from our users that we want to make happen. If we go beyond our fundraising target, here's what else we'll be able to offer;- Make it easier to share results and discuss specific policies- Collect feedback about results from any users that want to provide it- Improve the content and advice around what to do with your results- Enable our site to be embedded in other sites - such as news publishers - to reach their audiences more directly.
Here are a selection of Rewards (there are more on the right of this page)
Please help us if you can.
Politics is for everyone. It belongs to the people, and we can make it easier for people to get involved. Help us reach 5 million people in the next election - and create a better democracy.
If you'd like to know more about Vote for Policies, our vision and our plans, or to ask any questions about the rewards, please email [email protected].