Many parliamentary candidates and smaller political parties may have welcomed the introduction of fixed-term elections under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. It gave them time to plan, develop campaigns and fundraise.
But the snap election has wiped out the time to raise much-needed funds for essentials such as leaflets, events and staff.
And if candidates don’t have the backing of wealthy donors or trade unions, where can the money come from?
This has long been a problem for independents. Unless they already have a high profile, like former journalist Martin Bell, elected MP for Tatton in 1997, or they are standing on a hot local issue like Dr Richard Taylor, elected MP for Wyre Forest in 2001, it is hard to generate the name recognition needed to win.
This is one of the reasons the main political parties drop leaflets like confetti during elections.
Literature costs money and without the time to fundraise, smaller parties are more likely to struggle too.
However, in this general election, many Labour candidates will also have been caught unawares. Selected only recently, many are finding themselves short of cash.
Traditionally, it has been party members who have to dig deeper into their pockets. Whether it’s a cake sale or sponsoring someone to wear jelly-filled wellies for an entire day, political parties have many and various ways of parting them from their loose change.
But each fundraising event is likely to raise just a few hundred pounds and they take time to organise.
It’s not surprising then – especially if jelly filled wellies really don’t do it for you – that some of our local Labour candidates have turned to crowdfunding to top up their fighting funds.
Launched in April last year, Crowdpac was set up with a mission “to give politics back to people” and it is the first crowdfunding platform designed exclusively for political action.
Online fundraising has the ability to reach out to donors beyond the usual political base who might be attracted to particular characteristics or a brand of politics they can identify with.
Along the south coast, Labour’s parliamentary candidates in Hove, Brighton and Worthing are signed up and raising money online.
The advantage of crowdfunding for these candidates will be in their unique appeal to voters across the UK and the diversity of Labour’s candidates means that each has an interesting story to tell.
You can find out more about Peter Kyle (Hove), Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown), Solomon Curtis (Brighton Pavilion) and Sophie Cook (East Worthing and Shoreham) on the Crowdpac site.
Nancy Platts is a member of the social enterprise Campaign Collective which is working with Crowdpac.
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