Intelledgement, L.L.C.

Intelligent knowledge management

Knowledge Implementation: LPNC

“Intelledgment gave us a great boost on our transition from an all-volunteer organization with marginal impact to a competitive, professional political operation.”

— J. J. Summerell, Chair, LPNC

Who is the customer?

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) is an affiliate of the national Libertarian Party. Founded in 1976, the LPNC is the smallest but by far the fastest growing of the three political parties officially recognized by the NC Board of Elections.

What needed to be done?

In its 39 years of existence, North Carolina’s Libertarian Party has never elected anyone to NC Senate or House, never received more than 4% of the vote in a statewide election, and has achieved only a tenuous place on the ballot. (Parties in NC need to field a candidate for Governor and he or she must garner at least 2% of the vote to qualify for the following four years...and the LPNC has met this requirement just three times out of ten elections since 1976.)

In December 2013, only 16 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties had organized LPNC affiliate parties, and as a consequence, candidate and volunteer recruiting was sporadic at best. Fundraising was another weak point; in 2012 the party raised just $11 thousand from individual donations, their poorest performance since 1995. Then in 2013 they raised just $10 thousand. The party had been buoyed financially for several years by a state income tax checkoff program that afforded them tens of thousands of dollars a year...but that program had been terminated in 2013, forcing the LPNC to go back to raising their own money.

The LPNC operated on an ad hoc basis, staffed entirely by volunteers. Corporate memory was weak: there was no comprehensive list of donors, of members, of volunteers, of former or potential future candidates. The party had an expired bulk rate mail permit, their website URL was owned by the estate of a deceased party officer, and two members of the sitting executive committee turned out to be ineligible to serve, being registered one had bothered to vet them.

The party had made the decision to subscribe to the customer relationship management (CRM) service NationBuilder in the summer of 2013. (CRM tech has been a critical component of organized political campaigns since the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns pioneered its use.) But the individual who drove that decision got an unanticipated private sector opportunity and resigned as executive director a month December 2013, no one was tending to the NationBuilder database or understood how to utilize it.

Why choose Intelledgement?

“It’s evident that dissatisfaction with the legacy parties is extremely high,” stated LPNC Chair J.J. Summerell. “Nationally, 60% of Americans want to see a third party and here in North Carolina, the number of registered Democrats and Republicans have declined since 2010, even as the overall population has increased. Meanwhile, the number of unaffiliated voters is growing 4% per year, and registered Libertarian voters in North Carolina are growing 25% annually. But I’m convinced that to manage this growth and to take advantage of the opportunity knocking on our door we need to develop a cadre of dedicated professionals who can leverage our small but motivated army of volunteers and help us focus our limited resources most effectively.”

“We weren’t ready to hire a full-time employee, but Intelledgement came up with a part-time consulting services arrangement at a reasonable price. And they clearly had the organizational and communications capabilities, technical knowledge, and experience working with volunteers to be able to help us.”

What was Intelledgement’s solution?

Intelledgement proposed that the LPNC hire a part-time executive director to serve 15-to-20 hours a week (commensurate with what they could afford) focusing on three main areas: organizational development, affiliates expansion, and fundraising.

Organizational Development

Affiliate Development


How did the solution work?

Starting with an informal working group that evolved into a standing subcommittee of the executive committee, we nurtured the design and development of the LPNC’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which focused on four major areas: fundraising, policy influence and election support, constituency development, and administration. The 2020 Strategic Plan is now the touchstone for all operations conducted by the LPNC—to ensure proper alignment with party objectives—and it also informs and focuses marketing and fundraising campaigns.

We also recruited an informal working group of libertarian lawyers, and in conjunction with them developed intellectual property and privacy protection policies embodied in a standard non-disclosure agreement now required of all staff and volunteers with access to the NationBuilder database and other LPNC confidential information.

And speaking of the NationBuilder CRM service, we established routinized processes for handling regular imports of newly registered Libertarian voters and vectoring volunteers-informational inquiries-potential candidates-new donors et cetera to pertinent LPNC staff, coordinated a migration of the LPNC website from WordPress to NationBuilder, managed the rollout and operations of subnations for county affiliate parties and 2014 candidates (so they could share data with the LPNC database), trained users, and managed the relationship with the vendor.

As for affiliate development, we developed county-organizer training and affiliate development programs and designed a regional system that enabled the LPNC to enhance the support available to each affiliate—or organizers in counties where no affiliate yet exists. Once those were in place, the number of counties with organized LPNC-affiliated parties rose from 16 to 22, with two of the top-ten-in-population counties included among the additions. Overall, the percentage of registered Libertarian in counties with an active affiliate rose from 55% to 65%.

On the fundraising front, we initiated a series of targeted e-mail, phone, and one major snail-mail campaigns in pursuit of one-time contributions from individuals. We also worked to promote commitments by donors to regular automatic monthly payments, initiating a regular e-mail newsletter targeted to current and past “sustainers”. We coordinated the planning and managed the 2015 LPNC Convention in April which—despite occurring in a off-off-election year, normally a down-year for the Convention—exceeded 2014 for attendance and set a new all-time revenue record. And we set up a series of breakfast-lunch-dinner meetups for donors who had contributed $1000 or more in the past to present the 2020 Strategic Plan and solicit their help going forward.

Overall, contributions from individuals were up 81% year-over-year in 2014 and through the first half of 2015, were up another 7% year-over-year. The increases in donations from small one-time contributors and sustainers were roughly in line with our targets, but large contributor donations lagged. Back in the mid-2000s, the LPNC did pretty well raising money from individual contributors. By 2012-13, they were down about 85% from their prior performance. We helped get them back to being down about 75%, but obviously there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Bottom line: is the customer satisfied?

“By no means are we yet where we need to be to compete on an even basis with the Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina,” stated Summerell. “But thanks to Intelledgement, we are a lot closer than we were 18 months ago. Working with pure volunteer organizations and boards can be a challenge, but Intelledgement demonstrated a solid understanding not only of where we needed to go but how to get everyone more-or-less cheerfully rowing in the right direction. Brad Hessel—the guy Intelledgement provided to serve as our executive director—will be a tough act to follow.”


The Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) is an affiliate of the national Libertarian Party. Founded in 1976, the LPNC is the smallest but by far the fastest growing of the three political parties officially recognized by the NC Board of Elections. The LPNC platform espouses a mixture of social tolerance and fiscal conservatism, the consistent theme of which is limiting the power of government to restrict the liberty of individuals.

Established in 1999, Intelledgement, LLC is a knowledge management consulting business with extensive experience in the design and development of information collation, organization, and distribution solutions. Intelledgement has helped organizations select and implement marketing information systems, customer relationship management systems, sales or (for nonprofits) donation tracking systems, pricing configurators, employee intranets, customer extranets and much more. For more information, please visit