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Getting our technology prices right

GF
9 May 2022

We know that value for money is one of the most important things to get right for Liberal Democrats. All over the party, money is tight and we need to ensure that we are spending our members’ and donors’ money wisely.

We want to give you the tools you need to win elections and make membership rewarding, with helpful support when you need it.

It’s also crucial that our tools work seamlessly with each other: lots of people have told us how frustrating it is when data doesn’t match or flow across systems

Over the past year we’ve spoken to hundreds of Lib Dem activists, and are offering a different set of tools as a result. 

There is no perfect solution to this and we’ve had to make trade-offs, on both technology and price. 

At the moment our core tools, Connect and Lighthouse are paid for by a top-slice on membership fees, subsidised by other fundraising from the Federal party. 

For other tools - like Nationbuilder - that local parties can choose whether to use, we charge local parties at cost. In looking at the pricing structure for the new tools, we’ve been trying to ensure that:

  • Most local parties are paying as close to the headline rate for Nationbuilder (£35 per month) as we can possibly get
  • The package includes phone and email support.
  • We can keep improving  the technology we offer, so you have up to date tools.
  • Local parties have flexibility to choose the tools they need.

We think we’ve managed to achieve that in the package we’re releasing today.

Here’s how it works.

As a party organisation, you can sign up for each of the tools below - website hosting, email that’s integrated with Connect, and other tools - individually. (Although if you’re a current Nationbuilder user we need to migrate you to using both the website and email tools together).

Some tools come with monthly costs. These are  based on the Tier of Local Party you are or the type of organisation you are.

Smaller organisations and local parties in the “start-up” category will generally have lower prices, with more advanced seats paying slightly more.

All of the tools come with a 3 month free trial when you sign up. If you sign up for both the website & email tool, you’ll also get a 20% discount on the first year’s costs.

This allows us to keep tools as affordable as possible for groups with the least resources. It also reflects the pricing we are charged by suppliers. We do also want everyone to be using the new tools, so if the prices below are a challenge for your resources, please get in touch and we can take a look at options for you.

Website Pricing

Organisation Type

Price

Startup local party or Small AO

£27 per month

Development or non-UK local party

£30 per month

Moving Forward / Advanced local party, County Co-ordinating Committee, Small Region or Large AO

£36 per month

Large Region or State Party

£48 per month

 

Important notes: The pricing for the website platform is per site - not per organisation.

Where local parties within a larger area want to share one website (within a County Council, for example) the pricing will be charged at the size of the largest organisation in the grouping, this allows multiple local parties to share the burden.

The pricing also includes a domain name and a bundled email account - meaning that whilst the pricing is similar to Nationbuilder’s headline rate for most organisations, you are getting a complete package for that price, which does reduce the overall cost to an organisation.

Email Pricing

Organisation Type

Price

Startup local party or Small AO

£10 per month

Development or non-UK local party

£15 per month

Moving Forward / Advanced local party, County Co-ordinating Committee, Small Region or Large AO

£20 per month

Large Region or State Party

£30 per month

 

The base pricing here is extremely competitive. For a large Region with just their members and supporters in the tool, they would be paying around £60 a month for Mailchimp’s Standard Plan* - and around £200 a month for all their email contacts. An average development local party would be paying £16 a month for their members & supporters and £45 a month for all of their contacts.

That price doesn’t change based on the number of contacts you have and helps support the necessary integrations to make this work.

*We’ve used Mailchimp as a comparator here because they are the market leader in this area and many local parties will already be familiar with their pricing structure.

Donation Tools

Donation tools will be provided free of charge to all local parties. At launch, they will only be available via the website platform, but towards the end of 2022, we expect to launch a process by which users of other website tools can have access to them as well.

You’ll be charged 2% + 25p on every successful transaction that is processed through the donation tools. We think this is very competitive with market rates and obviously is only paid when you actually collect donations.

Eventcube

Eventcube will be provided free of charge to any local party that signs up for it. Running free or paying at the door events will be free, but running ticketed online events will cost 5% + 25p from the total ticket price.

We hope to be able to bring that price down, but whether or not we are able to do that will depend very much on how many transactions we get through the tool - which will allow us to negotiate better transaction fees.

The pricing for Eventcube at 5% + 25p is very competitive - EventBrite, the leading tool in the market charges 6.5% + 20p per ticket. 

You will also, in the platform, be able to ask attendees to cover the transaction costs - allowing you to keep 100% of the ticket price.

Typeform

The pricing for Typeform remains unchanged at £14 and initially at least, it will not automatically integrate into the other tools (due to the complex and very flexible nature of Typeform), but if more organisations were to sign up for it, we could potentially bring the per-account costs down.

Email Accounts

Email accounts can be added to your website package for an additional £3 per mailbox per month.

Discussion Groups

We know many local parties need email discussion lists and that this is something that has not been well served since the old List Server was retired.

We are delighted to say that we can now offer a fully GDPR compliant solution via Google Groups. 

You will not be able to use this to market to members, supporters or voters.

Final thoughts

We hope that’s clear in terms of what local parties have as options and, importantly, what it will cost.

One final note - we did extensively explore if we could have funded this package entirely through membership fees, subsidised by HQ national fundraising, as we do with Connect and Lighthouse already.

Unfortunately, there was no way to free up enough money within the money we bring in from membership without making very large cuts elsewhere in Regional, State and HQ budgets, and in grants to ALDC, G8 funding and other party bodies.

 

 

PS: The article above talks about our headline rates for the sake of simplicity.

We can also look at discounts on a case-by-case basis, once the minimum number of sites in our contract has been reached - but please note that anyone applying for a discount will be ineligible to move onto the new website platform until our minimum (100 sites) has been reached.

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