Richard Gott
Membership Sector Influencer & Thought Leader


Following the UK General Election in December 2019 professional bodies and trade associations across the country should continue to publish their respective manifestos and priorities to ensure they align or call-out key issue/omissions of those published by the new (Conservative) UK government.

Not enough professional bodies and trade associations are conducting this critical activity, so we provide some ideas and pointers to help more organisations get started!

Why is it important to have a manifesto and priorities?

As the professional body or trade association for your industry it should almost be ‘a given’ that you know what you are talking about in your particular area of expertise/profession/trade. A manifesto with clear priorities outwardly demonstrates this and will help you to focus, communicate with members and lobby government on what you believe is important.

Should manifestos align to the new Conservative Party Manifesto

In many cases, yes. Alignment can open doors to potential central government funding and support in central policy areas. It can help cement stronger membership body/government relations and bring your organisation closer to respective Members of Parliament (MPs). Obviously there needs to be parity/alignment in the first instance, however a manifesto  will help to clearly communicate this.

You can view the Manifesto Here…

Is it an opportunity to propose future government priorities?

Yes. This is a great opportunity for membership bodies to clearly communicate what they believe is important for the next government to address, change and develop. E.g. political parties may not have researched specific areas where your organisation has unique insight/knowledge and can provide realistic suggested solutions.

Example 1: Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) – A Manifesto for a 21st Century Health Service

As well as communicating your priorities you need to show members how they can get behind your manifesto at a national and local level. In the case of the RCoA they compiled a Member Briefing that contained advice on tips to engage with their local MPs and suggested questions to ‘get the conversation started’. You can read the Member Briefing here…

Example 2: Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – RCN Nursing Champions

The RCN is asking members to email PPCs via their website and request that they become RCN Nursing Champions. We think this is a great idea!

Should membership bodies align in all cases?

No. It may be that a new government manifesto pledge is somewhat unrealistic and therefore needs to be amended/changed. Membership bodies are again in a unique place to reality check such anomalies.

So, if you have not already written, revisited or re-written your organsiation’s manifesto now is a great time to do so.

Has MemberWise got any other membership body manifesto examples?

Yes. As part of our commitment to share best practice we asked MemberWise subscribers to share their Manifesto documents. Here is a selection:

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