The Power of Networks │ Matt Gillow
There’s, maybe surprisingly, quite a big network of ‘youth voice’ and ‘democratic reform’ groups in the UK. Since day one of our work at TalkPolitics, that network has been absolutely fundamental in all of our successes. Frequent emails, exchanging articles and advice, and as of recently, WhatsApp groups. I, personally, have benefitted tremendously from the advice of individuals such as Matteo Bergamini (ShoutOutUK) and Titus Alexander (Democracy Matters.)
These networks are fundamental hubs for marketing, policy development, shared discourse and improving your list of contacts. It would, probably, be one of my first ‘top tips’ to any start-up, grassroots campaign, or even individual on a mission – ping some emails around, let people know you’re there, point out areas you can collaborate, offer your help. It’s a bit of work, particularly if you’re in the early stages of your work, but I can’t overstate the importance.
The truth is, nobody is going to turn down free help. Especially in fields like this, as is maybe generally the case in politics, we’re all working towards common goals. Sharing work, joint projects, or putting you in touch with a useful individual isn’t harming anybody’s interests – it’s making progress towards a goal that both of you want to achieve – and in many cases taking work off of their shoulders.
So, don’t underestimate the power of an email. These inter-sector networks may take a little bit of a grind to forge, but they’re indispensable to the growth of a start-up or grassroots campaign. They open eyes, open doors, and pave the way for potential friendships – they certainly make your job a whole lot easier. And when you’re working towards a common goal, where’s the harm?