Personal solicitation is one of the most important methods of fundraising for local campaigns.  This method involves having the
candidate and key supporters solicit donations either face-to-face or over the phone in a one on one setting.  Because of the large time commitment it requires, this method is generally reserved for major donors; that is, supporters who are expected to contribute large sums to the campaign.

Who Should Ask?

Possible donors are most likely to contribute when asked by the candidate.  If it is not possible to have the candidate ask all of the major donors, have the finance committee and campaign manager help out, as needed.  Key political and business leaders from the community can also be recruited to help solicit donations.

Building Your List

After your group is organized, and your team in place, you will need to begin prospecting.  The task of prospecting begins with assembling a list of possible donors who need to be contacted.  Your fundraising team, finance committee, and volunteers should all work together to assemble the list you will use to start with.  Some sources of names for this list include:

  • Friends and family of the candidate, finance committee, and volunteers.
  • Supporters from past elections.
  • People who have indicated their support for this election.
  • Donors to the local party and other candidates’ campaigns.
  • Business leaders and professionals in the community.
  • Members of local civic organizations.

Try to assemble a list of names, addresses, telephone numbers, and any other information you can gather on possible donors.

Assign a Giving Level

The next step is to assign a “giving level” to each person on the list.  This is the amount that you believe each person will be able to give.  For names that you get from the finance committee and volunteers, ask them to help you name a giving level.  Check past contributions to campaigns and use the possible donor’s profession and other available information to help you assign giving levels.

Make the Call!

Once your team is in place and your list is has been compiled, you’re ready to start soliciting donations.  Be sure to have a good record keeping system in place before you begin, and don’t be afraid to be a bit of a “salesman” – in order to get people to donate, you have to “sell” your campaign just like any business has to “sell” its products.

If you’re interested in learning more about raising money from your personal network, as well as how to write a fundraising plan and prospect for new donors, check out Raising Money from High Dollar Donors, a Local Victory special report that is part of The Complete Guide to Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground Kit.