Rejoice, rejoice, online direct debits are here

November 22, 2012 9:35 PM
By Mark Pack

Long term students of of the Liberal Democrat membership department will (a) be able to recite all the different names it has had in the last 20 years and (b) know how for years it was imminent that the party would start having the facility to take membership subs via electronic direct debits (i.e. forms filled in online rather than printed off, written on and posted - or more often, printed off, lost and forgotten).*

Imminence has now arrived.

Hooray**. And well done everyone involved.***

* Double points if you also know during which war a piece of software was developed to military spare parts and which then mutated into the database software that was used for the previous incarnation of the party's membership records system.

** Of course my enthusiasm is no way related to the photograph at the top of the page having "PACK" emblazoned on a banner peering over Nick Clegg's shoulder.

*** Look, I know you'll think my website has been hacked if I don't include a "and one thing to do improveā€¦" caveat, so here it is. I love the way that if you pick the option to renew your membership, you can get all the fields filled in automatically from the party's existing records. That however doesn't really encourage people to check and supplement them, e.g. by adding a missing phone number or email. So it would be good to see the next iteration of the form promoting people more to fill in relevant blank fields.

And to make it an even more attractive offer

Your ineffective Membership Development Officer will offer a bottle of Good Red Wine at the Spring Conference to every Local Party which signs up five new members between 22 November 2012 and 21 February 2013 with Direct Debit and Email. Just email me every time you sign up a new member at Returning lapsed members will also count if they sign up to direct debit and email.