Fundraising is hard work, but it has to be done.  Getting your message out, hiring staff, training volunteers… it all costs money.  Fundraising is the lifeline of your campaign, providing the resources you need to do everything you have to do to win. 

Because fundraising is so hard, it’s a tragedy when campaigns leave money on the table – and they often do.  From asking for too little to spending too much on events, campaigns constantly raise less than they otherwise could.  Use the list below to raise more money and maximize your campaign’s fundraising efforts.

  1. Ask for Larger Donations– Too many candidates make the mistake of being shy in their fundraising efforts.  Don’t be!  Don’t play coy with potential donors by asking them for a small contribution and hoping they’ll offer more.  They won’t.  The best way to raise more money is to ask for more money.
  2. Stratify Your Fundraising – If you’re going to be utilizing a fundraising tactic, be it holding an event, sending out mail, or setting up a major donor group, leverage your work by targeting multiple levels of donors with each tactic.  For example, instead of just holding a $500/person fundraising event that targets mid-level donors, hold the $500 event, but also have a $2,000 VIP reception before hand to target larger donors, and a $50/ person desert reception after the main event to target small donors.  That way, your work on one event now reaches three different donor groups.  The same strategy can be applied to direct mail, telemarketing, affinity groups, etc.
  3. Keep Costs Down – The less you spend on your fundraising strategy, the less money you’ll need to raise to cover costs and break even.  Keep costs down!  Have hamburgers instead of filet at that next event, don’t over-order materials, and use volunteers to staff your fundraising activities whenever possible.
  4. Use Best Practices – Don’t re-invent the political fundraising wheel.  It’s (almost) all been done before, so read up on what works and what doesn’t, hire a knowledgeable finance director or fundraising consultant, and avoid making common mistakes.  Learn from and emulate the best fundraising minds in the business.
  5. Delegate – Too many campaigns try to “do it all” with their fundraising, and refuse to delegate tasks to key supporters or volunteers.  If the candidate or campaign staff has to do it all, you’ll never hit your full fundraising stride.  Instead, fund trust-worthy supporters, and put them to work.  Develop host committees for your fundraising events, and task them with actual work.  Establish major donor groups with real responsibilities.  Get your supporters working for you, then support them in their work.  You’ll raise more money, and your supporters will feel like part of your family.