Your first step after you decide to run is to plan your fundraising efforts. Here are some tips and ideas on how to make it a little easier…
Develop Your Message
You must have a clear message about who you are, why you’re running, and how you’re going to help your supporters. Without it, you’re just selling thin air.
Raise some funds before you announce your campaign to the public. You want to appear professional and organized or no one will support you. You’ll need office space, phone, supplies and materials.
Develop Your Fundraising Team
Red America Consulting will help you every step of the way, but you’ll also need local people on the ground to help.
Do Some Fundraising Events
Hold a cookout, breakfast, or other sort of fun event that will attract a crowd. If you can tie the event to your overall campaign theme, that’s even better. So the “Save the Environment” candidate would have a fundraiser at a local park or wildlife reserve, while a candidate positioned as “Someone from Your Hometown” might have a barbeque and show off his cooking skills. Don’t skimp on the price, people know you’re trying to raise money.
Run Your Campaign Like a Business
Be efficient and frugal with your spending. Use volunteers and interns as much as possible, if a donor has an office supply store, ask for him to donate some materials, or pay for some printing. Cutting your costs by 50% is the same as doubling your funds raised!
Ask for Contributions by Phone or Mail
Call or write people who have expressed interest in your campaign.
Sell Campaign Materials
Promote your campaign and raise money by selling buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats or other items that resonate with your campaign. So the “Save the Environment” might sell something on recycled paper, or the “Hometown Candidate” might sell barbeque sauce with his name and photo. Don’t forget to include your website, email and other contact information.
Is it Tax Deductible?
Check with the IRS and mention if contributions are tax deductible.
Sometimes it’s more productive to ask for a few larger contributions than trying to go for lots of tiny ones. On the other hand, using your website to ask for a $10-$20 donation means you can go back to the same donor for an additional contribution later. Having a specific reason for the request helps. “I’m going to be in a debate Monday night and I need $10,000 to run TV ads afterwards…”