Dr. Politics – Keeping an Eye on Fundraising
By Dwight Patel
It is July – You’ve gotten past the primary elections, you’re knocking on doors, you’re telling yourself you are doing great . . . However, you may have neglected fundraising. It is very important that you focus on fundraising now, and I recommend that you utilize all of the methods that I mention below.
First, keep in mind that fundraising isn’t just about having events. While events are a great way to raise your profile and widen your circle of potential donors, in this day and age you need to focus on all of the possible methods that are available. Also, the days of sending out email and hoping really hard that the recipients will give you money are long gone.
In order to attract donors, you not only need to use digital advertising and direct mail, but also go through your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. In order to give your campaign a personal touch, you should also reach out via the phone.
Keep in mind that donors aren’t necessarily going to be banging on your door, begging you to take their money. I can’t stress enough that you need to pick up the phone and dial for dollars. To paraphrase the old AT&T telephone slogan, “Reach out and Touch a Donor.” A candidate who can’t reach out and touch a donor will be struggling to raise money. If you are in a serious race and expect to win just by knocking on doors, you are only fooling yourself. You need to have cash on hand, especially going into September.
Direct outreach to your friends and family is also important. Go through your Facebook friends and ask them to contribute to your campaign. It’s hard to say no to a friend or family member who is running for office. Years ago, I had a relative who ran for mayor. He not only contacted all of his friends, but he also reached out to all his family members, not just by email but also with a personal phone call, asking for 20 to 50 dollars. As a result, he was able to raise a small amount of cash in order to move forward to larger fundraising goals.
When you receive these $25 to $50 contributions, write a quick thank you note immediately – within the first 72 hours is best. Don’t wait more than a week to thank them. Thank you notes can often lead to additional contributions or referrals by friends. BTW, in your thank you notes, be sure to ask if they can give you an introduction to some of their friends and family members who might be interested in helping.
- High Dollar Donors– These are a special class of donors for whom traditional methods don’t work. You need to pick up the phone and ask them directly. Make the case for why they should donate to you. Do some research first and find out which issues concern them. If you agree with their concerns, then talk to them about how you share their views.
- DON’T TRY TO FAKE IT, because they will see through you. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find the issues that you both care about.
- You need to make phone calls to potential donors during the work week. If you’re running for local office, you should pick up the phone and personally thank those who give you $25 - $50.00 as well. A small donor has the potential of becoming a large donor. Think of it like baseball -- don’t look for just the Grand Slams and Home Runs -- focus on the singles, doubles and triples. Don’t neglect them.
- When knocking on doors always keep donor cards with you, because you may impress someone at the door who will give you a contribution on the spot.
The most important point to keep in mind is this: “Don’t be afraid to ask for money.”
Too many candidates are shy about asking for money. A successful campaign is firing on all cylinders. While you need to be knocking on doors, you also need to be dialing for dollars. If you are having issues with fundraising, please reach out to me. I can help you get your fundraising plans moving forward.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
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