Properly funding Democracy Club

Democracy Club logoPolitics is broken.

At the last election, a few people made an amazing organisation to try and fix it.

Democracy Club is a non-party-political group of volunteers. At the next election, we want to hold candidates to account, and stimulate public engagement.

We do this by emailing people small, easily achievable tasks. These small tasks will add up to hugely useful resources. (Democracy Club about page)

7000 volunteers (in every constituency!) found out who the candidates are, what they thought about local and national issues, and monitored their election leaflets. (I wrote up what they did on the OKFN blog.)

Amazingly, another group of people is emerging who want to do it again. Better. I think it can have a real impact. However, to really have reach on a national scale, it needs money. I want Democracy Club to be a permanent national institution.

The question is, would you pay?

It’s really hard making a new revenue model work, there’s lots of risks. We could just run a Kickstarter to fund this General Election. Then, everything would collapse again come May 2015. I think this is too important – we should do local elections and European elections, and build up information, volunteers, media contacts between elections.

I want to pay monthly.

The question is, do enough people? Is it even feasible? To find out, I would very much appreciate it if you could fill in the short questionnaire below.

I’ll blog again [update: left a comment below instead] with the answers in a week or two.

Thanks for your help! Let’s fix our politics.

Comments (3)

  1. Francis wrote::

    I marketed the blog post in a limited way – as well as the RSS feed / email alerts, I tweeted a few times about it and posting it on Facebook (to get some *slightly* more diverse people than Twitter).

    There were 17 replies (first two blank rows were my own testing I removed).

    Of those 10 said yes, and 7 no, to paying monthly.

    Amounts people would like to pay were pretty evenly divided between £1, £5 and £10.

    Comments were very varied – lack of money, suggesting Kickstarter, doubt about the potential impact and offering voluntary help (instead or as well).

    Of course, I have a very distorted sample of friends. That said, of people who left identifying information, I only recognized 2/3rds of them, so demand goes a bit beyond just people I know.

    I think this kind of funding might be viable, but we’d only really find out with a real campaign. I think that the others restarting DemocracyClub are likely to use other funding methods short term, and then try and build subscription. I don’t know details yet though!

    Thanks everyone for responding – this kind of research, however basic, is really really useful and important.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm #
  2. R wrote::

    How does democracyclub differ from, say, unlockdemocracy? I’d suggest both would be able to benefit from the other. There must be other organisations of a similar ilk, why are they not all working together?

    Perhaps this is a case where decentralisation of effort won’t work, too many competing voices with the same message may just confuse ppl and make them stop listening.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 10:02 am #
  3. Francis wrote::

    R – a fair question!

    Election Leaflets is working with Unlock Democracy at the moment (you can see it on their home page http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/).

    And Democracy Club are organising an event to try and get more collaboration between us all http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/democracy-club-tickets-11441621197

    But at the end, a non-partisan on the ground network of volunteers is its own thing. Lots of people who would want to do that, think Unlock Democracy is partisan.

    Branding is much harder than it looks – we struggled a bit at mySociety about the branding of each site (e.g. FixMyStreet) vs. the organization.

    Friday, May 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm #