This weekend, two Federal Ministers, Chris Evans and Nicola Roxon, announced their resignation from politics.
While pundits will write hundreds of column inches about the significance of these resignations and what it means for an election over seven months away, there are some immediate consequences for campaigning organisations.
In the US, when Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State, scores of Democratic-aligned organisations sent out calls to their supporters to sign “thank you” cards.
Here’s one from the Democratic National Committee’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz that I received on 2 February:
Today is Hillary Clinton’s last day as Secretary of State.
She did an outstanding job representing our country for the past four years — and I wanted to thank her for her service.
Add your name to our thank-you note to Secretary Clinton. We’ll deliver your message to her:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Democratic National Committee
While there is the fact that Clinton was truly a giant amongst Democrats (she is one of the most popular public figures in the US) and some of the gratitude is genuine, the other element underscoring these “thank yous” is that they are excellent opportunities for campaigning organisations to engage their supporters.
Recipients of these kinds of emails are urged to update their details with campaign groups. It helps keep email lists fresh, and can engage supporters by urging social sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Ideally, people who sign these online cards share them with others — family, friends, colleagues — and so the campaign group can actually grow their email list.
The cards also help these groups expand their supporter profiles. This kind of information builds up a picture of each supporter, which can be used when it comes to a campaign or election.
In Australia, there is an opportunity with the resignation of Evans and Roxon for progressive organisations and unions to engage their members. A thank-you campaign for example over Evans’ increases to higher education funding, or Roxon’s championing of plain package cigarette laws.