This has been a tight financial year for political fundraising.
There are a few reasons why raising money in politics is more difficult this year.
First, there are many states who are seeing upticks in candidates who have filed to fill open seats or challenge incumbents, Florida and Washington are good examples. This makes it especially difficult to get money from donors that are typical donors. More candidates asking the same people for money will make it more difficult to raise money.
Secondly, there is general economic uncertainty during this (and other) presidential election years. Investments are down the stock market is seeing swings and businesses profits are suffering. This is seen directly in fundraising. With less disposable income political donors are holding on a little tighter or donating in lesser quantities than normal.
With these factors in 2016 you must be smarter than your opponent when raising money.
Here are 7 Do’s and Don’ts for Raising Money in Politics (in 2016)
- Do think outside the box. Try new strategies. Have you started making fundraising asks from your email list? What about texting close friends? I have seen several Facebook asks for campaigns this year, have you tried utilizing social media? Make sure that you are thinking of ways to raise money that your opponents OR candidates in other areas are not utilizing. You could be compelling the same people. So think of new ways to reach new donors.
- Don’t just call “typical donors.“ Everyone is calling the tried and true donors this year. They could also be highly engaged in national races, so make sure you are exhausting your own list of contacts. Your list is your best fundraising list.
- Don’t waste your time. If you are driving across your district for campaign events, double up and create fundraising opportunities. Find a friend or volunteer to host a fundraising meet and greet or use the driving time to make fundraising calls.
- Do carry contribution cards everywhere. Make sure you don’t miss a fundraising opportunity. It hurts me when I hear of candidates who have turned money away because they didn’t have their donor materials on them.
- Do have an optimized website. There are no excuses for democratic campaigns that do not take contributions online. Yes, some people are still using checks, but many donors prefer online donations. If you don’t already have yours set up then you can visit Act Blue and get started immediately.
- Do ALWAYS follow election laws. Campaign compliance is serious and you do not want to go to jail over donations to your campaign. I have written about compliance before and have linked to a list of ethics compliance offices in every state. If you are unsure about the laws in your state then LEARN THEM.
- Do ask everyone for money. One way to make sure you are raising as much as you can is to ask everyone that you meet for a donation. Not only does this mean you are exhausting your list, but you are expanding your donor base in every possible way.
Raising money in politics is not easy. You need to make sure you are maximizing your time, your abilities and your relationships so that you will have success raising the money you need to win.
If you want more help you can download my free ebook “6 Keys to Successful Fundraising Calls.”