Who is the fundraiser-in-chief for your political campaign?
You may be surprised to learn that it isn’t the finance director, or the chairman of the finance committee. It’s not the campaign manager, not the best friend of the candidate who works for the biggest law firm in town, and it certainly isn’t the local political party your candidate belongs to.
The fundraiser-in-chief for your campaign – and for every campaign, no matter how small or large, no matter where it is located, no matter how much it plans to raise – is the candidate himself.
The candidate may want to handle more “important” duties. She may want to “focus on issues” or be out “meeting the voters.” Issues and grassroots politicking are important. But nothing – and I mean nothing – is more important to winning an election than fundraising.
If you’re running for office, you need to pick up the phone and dial for dollars. You need to call everyone you know, everyone you are related to, everyone you went to college with, everyone you used to work with…. everyone… to ask them to make a donation to your campaign. Then, you need to be willing to hold meetings, make phone calls, go to events, and expand your network, so that you can ask these new friends for donations.
If you’re not willing to do that, than you shouldn’t be running for office.
Donors don’t want to be asked for a donation by a staff member, a volunteer, or friend of the candidate (unless they already knew the staff member, volunteer, or friend before the campaign started). They want to be asked by the candidate. They expect to be asked by the candidate.
Your finance director can help you get organized, set-up meetings and events, motivate volunteers, write letters, and support your efforts. Your finance committee can introduce you to their friends, colleagues and network. But you… the candidate… need to be the one who makes the majority of the asks for your campaign. You – the candidate – are the fundraiser-in-chief for your campaign.
If you are running for office, get ready to make some asks. Practice, rehearse, get ready. You can do this!
If you are working for a candidate who refuses to fundraise, or who tries to avoid it, show him this article. If he still refuses to fundraise, run for the hills. It’s highly likely he will lose this election, and in the meantime, you’ll be miserable and underfunded.