Running a Grassroots Contributions Campaign

by Joe Garecht

When it comes to political fundraising, there are major efforts and there are minor efforts.  There are strategies, like major donor groups, personal solicitation, and big-ticket events that will raise large percentages of your fundraising dollars.   There are also small-ball fundraising efforts, like Internet fundraising, telemarketing, and minor donor groups, which will raise a relatively small percentage of your total campaign revenue, but which are still important to utilize in order to reach your overall fundraising goals.

Grassroots fundraising (a grassroots contributions campaign) is one of these smaller, yet still important, pieces of your overall political fundraising effort.  Grassroots fundraising is raising money for your campaign through the efforts of your grassroots organization.  Generally these donations are small… yet when dealing with a large grassroots campaign, they can add up.

How Do I Do It?

How do you go about raising money at the grassroots?  First and foremost, you need to build a grassroots organization.  You do this not only to raise money, but also (and primarily) to get the word out about your campaign, carryout grassroots activities (like going door to door) and getting out the vote on Election Day.

One you have your grassroots organization built and active, you can start to think about a grassroots contributions campaign.  This type of coordinated fundraising effort can take any number of forms:

  1. Integrate Fundraising into Your Grassroots Events – Think about holding some fundraising events for your grassroots organization, or integrating some fundraising activity into your already-planned events.
  2. Enlist Your Grassroots Leaders – You could also ask your campaign’s grassroots leaders to raise money for you as part of their commitment to the campaign.  For example, if you have broken up your town by ward, and you have placed a leader in each ward with a number of volunteers to support him or her, consider asking each leader to raise $100 or $500 during a certain month as part of a targeted campaign (perhaps even a contest).
  3. Set-Up and Promote a Small-Ball Campaign – If you want to get creative, your campaign could also set up a small-ball fundraising campaign for your grassroots organization that involves them in a very concrete campaign activity.  For example, you could say that it will cost the campaign an average of $25 per city block to campaign effectively (the cost of that street’s yard signs, palm cards, direct mail, etc.), then promote a campaign to your grassroots organization saying you want to find sponsors for 500 blocks.  Then, aggressively promote this opportunity to your supporters.

Running a grassroots contributions campaign is hard work, but, like fundraising over the Internet, or engaging in prospecting direct mail, grassroots fundraising can help your campaign make small (but necessary) steps to reach your overall fundraising goals.

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