I have an idea for Young Liberals clubs, which can perhaps be extended to Riding Associations.
In terms of the Young Liberals, outside of the scope of an election, we get pretty useless. Oftentimes, young liberal clubs end up deratified when they have nothing to do. Furthermore, quite a bit of human resources remains wasted every second it isn’t used, and that applies to the members of these clubs. There is ample time that can be spent building the Liberal brand, which often goes underutilized, largely since there is nary a clue on how to build the brand at the local level. I mean, YL’s are mostly poli sci majors, not those that specialize in marketing. No offense, all my dear friends in YUYL 🙂
So I propose something quite simple. We work towards the following brand image and notion:
“Liberals are here to help”
Essentially, how we work towards it is that in the absence of an election, Young Liberal Clubs across Canada would serve primarily as a pool of volunteers that can be called upon to help out with local non-profit organizations and chapters, community events, and community issues. We need to make it so that if a soup kitchen needs volunteers, they would look towards the Young Liberals first for the human resources.
Essentially, it engrains the Young Liberals into their community, it provides them with volunteer experience that would be helpful later on for use in the party, it builds connections with community leaders, it serves inherently as a method of marketing the Liberal Party locally, and ultimately we would come off as the one group that the community can rely on.
It doesn’t have to end there, as a mere pool of volunteers that is called upon, which is somewhat reactive. We can serve as a proactive force as well.
For example, there could be a snowstorm, and a group of Young Liberals living in a suburb band together to shovel snow off driveways for no cost after asking property owners for permission to do so, (perhaps a donation afterhand to the party could be nice) and then celebrate the end of the day with a warm cup of Timmies or something.
Essentially, Young Liberals can help on an ad hoc basis, as possibly discussed during meetings.
Through this, as Young Liberals, we can in an autonomous fashion build at the local level the Liberal brand. Young Liberals, via this sort of program, can learn the importance of the notion of public service, as it would likely be a humbling experience. For riding-level young liberal clubs, it could serve as a method to connect high school students who need to get their 40 hours completed (at least in Ontario) with a community organization they can volunteer at. Alas, it can establish lasting friendships between Young Liberals as they work together, which may last for a generation when they become the ones to grab the reins of a level of municipal, regional, provincial, or federal government.
This can also be done with Riding Associations. Once again, the help that is provided can be either reactive (as the Riding Association is called upon for something such as weekend volunteers), or an ad hoc approach to provide help with regards to situations that arise. For example, every income tax season, member of the Riding Association who is a seasoned CGA, CA, or even a CMA can host a Tax Clinic every weekend, with a donation box at the door. Simple things, such as this, where Liberals volunteer not just for organizations that need the human capital, but offer their specialized skills to those who may need it the most in turn for a voluntary donation. Heck, we can even sign up “supporters” or members in the process if their donation amounts to $10.
The sky is the limit in terms of what we can do to help the community, and surely, I argue, we would be remembered and thanked for it for when the time of the next election rolls by. I imagine a Canada where communities look to the Liberal Party as an organization that is always there to help.
Alas, I hope the implementation of these ideas don’t break any laws.