Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Rules Have Interesting Twist

When I first heard that the entry fee for leadership hopefuls had almost doubled, it seemed a signal to discourage more people from entering the race. However, now that we see how this fee can be rebated, it seems like an excellent way to enrich the party coffers, and any serious contender should be able to put a dent in the 90 thousand. An interesting twist:
While the leadership candidate entry fee is $90,000, a candidate can get a rebate of $25,000 for each 1,000 individuals he or she signs up to the Liberal Victory Fund. The fund requires a minimum $10 monthly contribution, half to the party and half to a riding association.

The seemingly high entrance fee is offset when a candidate demonstrates the capacity fo motivate supporters. If you can sign up 2000 VF contributors, then the fee is actually less than the last leadership race. That's a steep goal, but one that potentially counters the sting of the entrance fee. Looking at it another way, a candidate only needs to average 7 VF signups per riding to get 50 grand back. All in all, a pretty fair proposition, if one is thinking of the party, as well as the leadership race.

The really encouraging part, Liberals could actually emerge from the convention with a pretty robust base level of fundraising supporters, should the candidates make these goals a priority. I suspect this new setup will apply some "peer pressure", in the sense that the frontrunners, while long on funds, will still make the VF signup a priority, lest they risk looking like frauds on the renewal rhetoric. The ability to sign up VF supporters could actually turn into a litmus test for the leadership candidates, a statement on their ability to inspire and engage Liberals, as well as bring new people into the process. A very clever idea when you think about it.

I also like the 10% tax on all donations, going directly to the party. While a timid percentage, it sends another clear signal that this leadership race mustn't hobble the party's ability to fundraise.

I have some quibbles with the overall announcement, but on the fundraising side, it would appear the party has it just about right, setting a nice tone that choosing a new captain is the least of our problems.


liberazzi said...

Yes, the executive committee and Doug Ferguson should be complimented on a job well done. The rules are fair and creative, plus they did not implement the silly no-debt motion. I am going to Vancouver regardless if I am a delegate or not and I cant wait. Plus, I am glad the fee is slightly lower at $825.

WesternGrit said...

Good post. If a candidate can't get 2000 people to join the victory fund, or come close, then they really shouldn't be leader. I've seen almost that many people at DSMs in ONE riding. I think it is a very fair proposition, and one that will help the party in the long run.

One item that will test a candidate's "grassrootyness" will be their ability to sell these VF memberships. The Victory Fund is a HUGE tool for us, and a tool that appeals to candidates that can generate interest amongst the "grass-roots" of the party. We shouldn't hear any more about the "mega-bucks" campaign, or the "old-money" campaign - rather, we'll hear about the candidate who couldn't appeal to the grassroots...

liberazzi said...

That's a good point, as it should be a basic requirement of the job whether or not you can attract new members. The ability to garner VF contributors will be a good test for the candidates.

MississaugaPeter said...

What do you think?

I continue to be impressed. It's about time he showed his teeth.

Steve V said...


Depends on the sentence ;) One thing about Kennedy, he's completely authentic on renewal.


I agree, the VF is a litmus test for the leadership contenders. The real grassroots part, it isn't measured by total donations, but by numbers, which means big donors have no more weight than small donors. Plus, to be a VF contributor, it's not exactly a massive commitment, which means, again, nobody is excluded.