Events, Activities and Elections

Campaigning activities

Election campaigns can create barriers to participation for people in underrepresented groups. There are many tasks which need doing during an election, however, canvassing is often the main activity which parties ask activists to do. There will be people in your party who will need adjustments to be made to enable them to canvass door to door, or who are unable to do canvassing. These people may feel excluded during these periods. These people include: disabled people with a physical impairment, people with a mental health condition, and women with caring responsibilities. In some constituencies, your ethnic minority or LGBTI members might be anxious of doing door to door canvassing because of poor experiences of racist or homophobic abuse.

Always keep in mind that some of your members will have an impairment which is not visible or otherwise obvious to other people, and that traditional ways of campaigning will be inaccessible for them. They might not feel comfortable telling other people in the party why they can’t canvass. Reasonable adjustments should be considered and other tasks offered in place of canvassing which would allow a wider range of people to participate in election campaigns. These different activities might include:

 

  • Phone canvassing
  • Coordinating some of your digital campaign activities
  • Fundraising
  • Administrative tasks such as preparing mailouts or emailing candidates

 

By giving people choices in the activities you offer, you are able to use their skills for the good of the organisation, whilst making them feel valued. You may also free up other members who would really rather be out on the doors. However, in all these circumstances, you should not assume what roles a person might or might not be comfortable with based on their identity and you should always value different roles equally. You may wish to consider creating volunteer job descriptions or role briefs so that all members can gain a clear understanding of what is involved in a particular activity or role.

For more information about how to value different roles equally please see the Attitudes and Assumptions section of the Equal Representation in Politics tool.

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