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Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps: Welcome to Team2015 – the initiative that takes us beyond party membership

Grant Shapps is Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Welwyn Hatfield

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ConHome readers already know that volunteers play a crucial part in our party’s operation. They are the lifeblood of the Conservatives - standing shoulder to shoulder with our party professionals, candidates and MPs – many of whom have volunteered for years themselves.

During the last election, I ended up with a lot of volunteers helping me out on the ground. But after polling day I was still stunned to discover I needed to sign a thousand thank you letters to folk who’d directly helped in my re-election campaign - far more than the number of members in my Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Association.

The power of volunteers was clear. So when I became Party Chairman last year, one of the very first things I did was to examine the opportunities to create a nationwide volunteer network.

We went out to talk to our members and existing volunteers and got a firm idea of what motivated them, studying the London Olympic Gamesmaker programme and the experience of both Democrats and Republicans in last year’s US elections, before setting to work building our own grassroots volunteer network.

It’s called Team2015 and it’s run by our volunteers themselves. The principle is simple. We seek out those who want a brighter future for this country. Those who believe that we’re on the right track with our reforms to the economy and the benefits system. Those who know that you can do more for less and that it is the talent of entrepreneurs and businesses that will build on the 1.3 million private sector jobs that we’ve already helped to create. Then we simply ask them to join Team 2105.

Every volunteer is phone interviewed by our team of voluntary coordinators who are based full time in CCHQ – just outside the door to my office.  We then assign each member to one of our 40/40 target seats, based on the skills they possess.

The key to Team 2015 is careful targeting. We’re focused on seeking out the talents and abilities of each person who signs-up and we allocate volunteers to each target seat based, not just on their location, but also for the first time in the history of the Party, based on the skills they possess.

We’ve had a film maker sign-up – and he’s making films for our website. We’ve had a graphic designer sign-up – so he’s designing Team 2015 literature. And the professional bus driver, well he’s moving our new troops around the country. These are just three of the people who’ve volunteered to date. They join over 1,000 individuals who have joined Team 2015 so far.

But here’s the thing. Not every person signed up to Team2015 is a member of the party. This project is of course open to our members too - and many of the volunteers now working in target seats are members - but they don’t have to be. That’s also how it worked my own seat. Many of those who came out to work in the constituency aren’t members – but they still want to get involved in their own way.

I am grateful for every person who joins the party as a demonstration of their personal commitment to our values and plan to help hardworking people. But politics is changing, and it’s also important for us to engage with individuals who might not want to be members just yet – and that we do it in a meaningful way.

So whether you’re a Conservative Party member or not, if you’d like to take a positive step today to ensure that this country’s best days lie ahead of us, if you’d like to help prevent Ed Miliband and Ed Balls walking up Downing Street in 674 days time, then please act now. Join Team2015 today by signing up here: www.conservatives.com/team2015. And one of our Team2015 volunteer coordinators will be in touch soon.


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