It is important that charities strive for personalised and focused engagement if they are to win the support of MPs, the interim head of public policy at Relate has said.

In a web chat on the relationship between politics and the third sector for the Guardian's voluntary sector network, John Loughton said using digital platforms like email to send out mass mailings is outmoded.

“The era of dense and generic bulk mailings is over – carpet bombing email addresses and sending reports to each and every MP probably won't be as effective as something more distilled and focused,” he said.

“I always feel personalised, short, outcome-focused engagement works best,” he stated.

He added that while pitching up at party conferences with a stall may not always be the best use of resources, one thing having a stall is good for is general awareness raising.

Manning a stand at party conferences is a great way to make use of promotioanl items – handing out promotional pens and mugs.

“I would recommend going to a party conference with a clear diary of meetings pre-booked,” Mr Loughton summarised.

Best bits: politics and the voluntary sector“. The Guardian. Thursday September 15th 2011.

Posted by Cheryl Jackson-Leafield