Every political campaign needs to raise money to win. Fundraising provides the money you need to spread your campaign message, raise your candidate’s name ID, and get out the vote on Election Day. While there are many different ways to raise money for your campaign, events are a staple of campaign fundraising for a very simple reason: they work.
Here are 5 different ways you can supercharge your political fundraising events to raise more money and win your campaign:
#1 – Put Together a Host Committee
A good host committee can be the key to success for your political fundraising events. When we talk about a “host committee,” we are not talking about a group of people who handle the logistics, set-up, and clean-up for an event. Instead, we are talking about a group of donors and supporters who agree to not only make a sizable donation towards the event, but also promise to sell tickets / tables at the event to people in their own network.
The beauty of host committees is that they allow you to multiply your efforts. While your staff is out talking to your current donors and prospects about the event, your host committee can be out talking to their own friends, neighbors, colleagues and business partners about the event. Ideally, your host committee members will help connect your campaign with donors that you never would have found were it not for the committee’s efforts.
Every truly great fundraising event I have ever participated in had a strong host committee behind the scenes helping to find sponsors and sell tickets.
#2 – Add Tiers to Your Political Fundraising Events
One great way to expand the number of people who attend your events is to add different tiers to each event. Each tier can have its own price and benefits level. For example, you may hold a fundraising dinner and charge $250 per couple for tickets. To add a tier, you could include a VIP cocktail reception before the event for $1,000, which includes a picture with the candidate and a special gold lapel pin for attendees.
Adding tiers allows you to multiply your team’s work in setting up the event. Events take time and resources… tiers help you reach into multiple donor groups for each event without taking significantly more time from your team. Instead of raising $50,000 through a $250/person gala dinner, you can raise $75,000 by adding a pre-reception that takes very little additional time to coordinate.
#3 – Pick Up the Phone
If you’re only sending out e-mail or snail mail invitations for your events and then sitting back and waiting for responses to come in, you are missing out on one of the best event fundraising methods ever created: the telephone.
By picking up the phone and making follow-up calls to everyone who received an event invitation, you can double the number of people who come to your political fundraising events. The calls can be simple asks: “Hi, I’m calling to make sure that you received the invitation to our August 14th Rodgers for Mayor event. Will you be able to attend?” It’s simple and effective.
#4 – Make Your Event Different
Political fundraising events tend to follow a standard formula: cocktails or dinner, with a couple of speeches and some gladhanding by the candidate. The food is mediocre, the candidate is pre-occupied, and everyone goes home with a lapel sticker and a campaign brochure.
If you want to supercharge your next event, why not make it different? I’ve seen campaigns do all sorts of things to make their events stand out, from renting out a train station and having the candidate come in on the back of an 1870’s era caboose… to holding a roast of one of the key campaign advisors. Making your event stand out doesn’t need to be expensive. Consider using a unique theme, inviting some special guests, or holding the event at an exclusive location in order to build buzz and make people want to come.
#5 – Multichannel Marketing
Don’t restrict your event marketing to printed invitations. If you want people to come, you need to reach them where they are to invite them to your event. This means using multichannel marketing to get people excited and interested in your political fundraising events. Some of the channels you can use include printed invitations, e-mail, social media, phone calls, reminder postcards, text messaging, and more. The important thing is to ask people several times, and through several mediums, to come to your next event.
If you want to learn more, read The Step-by-Step Guide to Holding Great Political Fundraising Events.
Photo Credit: Mines & Money