The Claim for Constituency Management in 2016
If this year of political upheaval and shock results shows us anything, it is that the political establishment has to become proactive in engaging with their constituents.
The Brexit referendum, the rise of far-right elements all over the Western register and the continuing sense of dislocation of minorities and youth elements in the body politic are not anomalies. What they are, is a clear representation of ‘unanswered questions’.
When Donald Trump is capable of taking over the Oval Office it seems obvious that his followers are not finding the answers to their questions among existing political options. That those questions are challenging to society is irrelevant. What needs to be done now across the board, is for politicians to engage with constituents and attempt to answer these questions as best they can.
So, how do they do this and what are the potential pitfalls for them?
In the first instance, there are a number of new opportunities for constituency management that have sprung up in recent years on the back of technological advances and improved civic engagement techniques.
Build from the ground up
NationBuilder is one such example of these.
“Serve your constituents with the best leadership software”.
It gets people thinking beyond the victory of getting elected, it pushes us to put a plan in place and this is why organizations like NationBuilder have felt success in the political sphere. They provide outreach through email, social media, and texting. The 21st-century feel can’t be replicated any other way and political figures need to have their fingers on the pulse of their constituents these days. The learning feature that NationBuilder provides is also excellent because by integrating your database with social media, you now have more of an opportunity to foster more personal relationships with your electorate. To learn more about NB, click here.
Ecanvasser - just like NationBuilder, Ecanvasser is focused on building relationships that will last. We provide a simple solution for leaders who have to deal with individuals many issues and offer support through a clean dashboard. Here you can track constituency casework, analyze and engage. The proof is in the pudding and what constituents want more than to feel they are being listened to, is actual proof they are.
Stakeholder engagement software such as Consultation Manager offers to steer the ship in tricky waters for many public consultations. Bringing many services to the table such as training, support, and enterprise management, Consultation Manager is just one in a bunch of useful stakeholder engagement software.
Get engaged or risk missing out
The potential pitfalls of constituent engagement, as politicians would see it, such as being dragged into controversial and potentially damaging debates or being swamped with constituency issues to the detriment of one’s legislative record are real and should be acknowledged. These pitfalls are real but what is also real is the imperative of constituent engagement. Without it, democracy itself is weakened. Any strengthening of voter representation is a strengthening of democracy surely.
What is also real is the need to avoid the political landscape being pulled all over the place by unanswered questions, by whole demographics feeling unheard and having to react in extreme ways. Pro-active constituent engagement is the attempt to head this off at the pass and every politician should take this seriously despite the potential pitfalls.
Take a moment to reflect on how "heard" you feel by your elected representative and if it isn’t what you would hope, then feel free to send this article to them and encourage them to be more pro-active.