Saturday, 27 December 2008

Tories have "very little to show" for £1m online spend

The Conservative Party has spent £500,000 on a campaign to launch supporters’ groups on four social networking websites: Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and iVillage. However, research by the Financial Times has found that the iVillage group had only drawn one new member.

Tim Montgomerie, editor of the Conservativehome website said, ”The party has very little to show for more than £1m of expenditure on internet-related projects over the last year. Eye-catching initiatives have always been favoured over using the internet for long-term relationship building.”

As the Financial Times reports:
All the main parties are suffering from declining membership. Mr Cameron appears willing to commit significant amounts of money to the internet to try to reverse, or at least mitigate, that trend. A revamp of the official Tory website earlier this year was reported to have cost a six figure sum.

But a squeeze on the party finances will increase the pressure on the Tory leader to show that future internet initiatives are cost effective. A recession-induced drop in City donations, allied to falling membership, is forcing the party to cut back on spending. More than a dozen jobs are being axed at the party’s headquarters.

“Like many organisations in the current economic climate, we need to look carefully at how we are using our resources,” a Tory official said. “Unfortunately, there is a need to make significant budget cuts."

Read the full story here.

Crossposted from Liberal Democrat Voice, an independent, collaborative website run by Liberal Democrat activists. Helen is a contributing editor at the site.

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