The Scottish Independence Convention (The SIC) has hit the halfway figure in its attempts to raise £180,000 to pay for a new push for the Yes movement.
The group has hit halfway after just four weeks of fundraising, through crowdfunding and a number of substantial donations.
According to reports in The National, the SIC are set to recruit staff next month, with an announcement expected for around St Andrew’s Day with more fund raising expected in a bid to get closed to the £180,000 target.
As part of the new plan to launch a campaign, The SIC has said it is “well into the process” of creating an identity for the new organisation whose aim will be to assist the Yes movement with such matters as communications and training.
A number of interviews have been carried out with Yes groups and members of the public to try and improve the overall campaign.
The new organisation’s name is expected to be unveiled early in the new year, but due to improved fundraising, the SIC means are set to appointed two staff members early.
A firm of lawyers is already setting up a company structure ahead of the company launch.
Dave Thompson, SIC vice convener said: “We’ve been really bowled over by the support for this initiative.
“With so many other important things going on and this being the run-up to Christmas, that we’ve got to our half-way mark so quickly is brilliant.
“We are moving forward with everything we need to do to get this organisation set up and, thanks to the amazing support of the independence movement, we’ll be in a position to start making a real impact in the new year.”
The SIC council includes the SNP, Scottish Greens, Scottish Socialist Party, Common Weal, the Radical Independence Campaign, Women for Independence, Scottish CND, Business for Scotland, NHS for Yes and Pensioners for Independence.
The new council will not be tasked with making policies and strategies for the entire Yes movement – there will be no ‘official line’ from either body for the Yes movement to follow.
A source for the SIC said: “In no way will there be a policy-making body laying it down to the Yes movement,” said the source. “Instead we see the new organisation as a support system for the Yes groups and other campaigners for independence.
Next year, campaign organisation are set to work with Yes groups around the country, lending professional support to the movement’s efforts with the aim of boosting support for independence to a position regularly above 50% in opinion polls prior to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon triggering the second referendum.
According to the SIC’s public attitude research surveys No voters who may be thinking of changing their minds are already engaged or interested in having a conversation about independence, but many No or non-voters are less engaged.
The group are set to target the “soft no” sector – people who may be prepared to change their votes – and people in the “undecided” category.
Thompson added: “One of the things we’re doing is trying to add to the great things the independence movement is doing by focussing on groups that are hardest to reach.
“The research work we’ve done suggests that there is a large group of undecided and soft No voters who are by no means completely hostile to listening to the case for independence again.
“But it also tells us that what we’re doing at the moment isn’t quite getting to them.
“Preparing really good materials and arguments to help to reach that group of voters is among the first things we hope to do.”