By Susan Stratton, President
Our members are the beating heart of the Green Party of Alberta. We choose this party because we rank the health of our planet, our society, and our democracy above being Number One in power, polling or near-future election results. Still, we want and need to make our voices heard, and part of what we do in that effort is to join with other Alberta Greens to support and express our values and pursue electoral success.
The party’s membership is still small, not least because of the three-year break in party standing until just before the 2012 Alberta election. I realized recently that another factor is that we are not good at directly and personally ASKING others whom we know share our values to join the party. This March membership drive is the time to try.
Last weekend, I attended an event put on by federal Greens. Of the 19 people there, 7 were already members of the provincial Greens. Why weren’t the others? It turned out that some of them, newly drawn to the federal party, didn’t know much at all about the provincial party. Given a bit of information in a pamphlet, exposed, however briefly, to a few members in person, and handed a membership form, they readily joined. Others had been members, but emailed prompts to renew hadn’t registered strongly. A personal “ask” evoked a quick positive response.
The importance of the personal ask came home to me even more strongly last night. Ordinarily reluctant to lean on friends, I resolved to use the membership drive to push myself. The two I approached are good friends. I know they get occasional GPA newsletters, and they are well aware how engaged I am in the party, so I thought they must have some reason not to join. But no. Like others who were not sufficiently moved by an email prompt, they needed only to have a friend focus their attention on the party for a few minutes and make it easy to join on the spot. They even offered monthly donations, with no prompt from me at all.
So, at least during March, I’ll keep seeking out people I know are Green at heart and ASKING them to join those of us who know that political action is essential to get meaningful change in our province. After all, it feels good to support a cause that matters, so I’m doing them a favour!
I’ll open the conversations with the good little pamphlet obtainable here: http://greenpartyofalberta.ca/2013/wpcontent/uploads/2014/02/2014_brochure24.pdf Membership forms are easy to print off our GPA website, but admittedly once you have them and the money in hand, you have to mail them in, which takes a few minutes, an envelope and a stamp. Maybe you’d rather stand over your friend at a computer and guide them through the Paypal process or as a last resort, ask them to do it and report to you when they have. March is the time, because if anyone wants to vote in the May Annual General Meeting or run for internal elections, they must be registered as a member by April 3. Anyway, most of us work well to a deadline, so the membership drive is now.