Fundraising events are the backbone of local political campaigns. Next to personal calls by the candidate, few tactics are able to raise as much money for local candidates as fundraising events.
The key to a successful fundraising event strategy is to have numerous, varied events. By having events in different geographical locations, hitting different target networks at different financial levels, and your campaign can reach out to new groups and constantly hit new prospects. For example, you might hold a low-dollar fundraiser in a blue-collar section of the district, a high-dollar fundraiser in a supporter’s home in a wealthier section of the district, and a mid-level event at a popular club targeting young professionals across the entire district.
The only way to be able to hold a good number of fundraising events, each targeting a different network, is by sharing the work. The number one tip for a successful fundraising event strategy is this: put together host committees. Putting together strong host committees for each event will allow you to expand your fundraising reach dramatically.
What is a host committee?
Simply put, the host committee is the leadership of your event. A host committee can be as small as three people and as large as hundreds, but no matter the size, the first goal of the host committee is inviting their individual contacts, friends, and colleagues to the event. By getting your host committee to invite their own network to your event, you can raise dollars from people you might otherwise be unable to reach. In addition to inviting people to the event, the host committee can help plan, set-up, and pay for the event.
Without strong host committees for each event, the campaign’s fundraising events are doomed to failure. If the campaign relies on the candidate’s contacts for each event, they will soon be tapped out. Utilize a host committee to help reach into groups that would otherwise go untapped.
The first thing you do…
Before putting any event on your campaign calendar, it is crucial that you begin putting together the host committee. Putting together a host committee is the number one way to test the strength of any fundraising event idea you have. If you can’t find a host committee to sponsor an event, it is unlikely that you will be able to find enough attendees to make the event a success. Likewise, ask all of your supporters if they would consider hosting an event for you in their home, office, or at a local restaurant. As with all events, ask these supporters to put together a host committee before committing the candidate to the event.
Fundraising events can and should be an integral part of your fundraising plan. Remember, though: your event is only as strong as your host committee. Work hard to put together active host committees for every event your campaign holds.
If you have not already done so, be sure to read 10 Steps to a Successful Fundraising Event.