Three Keys to Successful Political Fundraising

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Fundraising plays a very important part in getting a candidate elected into public office. Political campaigns and events are critical for raising awareness among voters, and often take large sums of money. Therefore, political fundraising is very important to a candidate’s success. These 3 keys will help ensure that your candidate is well known, and that your political fundraising events are a success.

Key #1: Raise Awareness

Public awareness is the first essential key to successful political fundraising. After all, people won’t donate to a candidate unless they know not only “who” the candidate is, but details about their background, education, beliefs, etc. So what’s the best method of making people aware of your candidate and of your fundraising efforts?

Raise Awareness through Technology

When it comes to building awareness, the latest technology is your best friend. Social media and the internet allow you to reach a large number of people quickly and effectively. These methods are often less expensive than more traditional media like television or newspaper ads, so they are great for when your campaign is just starting out.

Start by building pages and accounts on social media for your candidate. Find out what your target audience uses the most – it might be Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Create pages and profiles on the best networks, and use these accounts as platforms to get the word out. Use social media to open dialogue with local business, voters, and others who can assist in spreading the word.

Set up a custom fundraising website where people can come to learn about your candidate and why they are running for office. This is also a great place to process and receive donations from supports. A website like this is often very easy to setup, and can more than pay for itself in the long run. Offering an easy, simple, secure way for people to donate can really help your fundraising efforts – both online and offline.

Microtargeting

When it comes to successful political fundraising, microtargeting is one of the latest and greatest methods. Microtargeting is based on a technique called data mining – combing through collected personal data to extract what’s useful to your campaign. The data is then used to microtarget specific people, with tailored messaging that can really help to get their attention. For example, an unemployed dock worker might receive a message about how your candidate supports the local construction industry, while a mom of 4 might receive messaging about how education or family care is important. These customized messages really help to catch people’s attention, and improves the chance these people will support your campaign as your message is something that speaks to their specific values and concerns.

Traditional Media

While social media and the internet offer a lot of potential for building awareness, don’t discount the effectiveness of more traditional media. TV advertising, while it can be expensive, is a great way to bring your candidate into the public eye. Billboards, leaflets, and direct mailings are other traditional methods to draw attention. Place lawn signs on highly trafficked areas and roads to get people used to seeing your candidate’s name.

Key #2: Host Political Fundraising Events & Get Involved Locally

Once people are aware of your candidate and your campaign, it’s time to start getting involved locally and hosting events. Both of these methods are wonderful ways to build even more awareness, and will often even attract local journalists which results in more PR and free advertising.

Get Involved

Getting involved in local movements and events is a wonderful way to build awareness for your candidate and to potentially gain free advertising. Look for events that your candidate can attend, like a clean-up day at a local park, or the opening of a new local business. Often times, journalists and local news crews will already be at these events to cover the story, and may give your candidate the chance to be interviewed or mentioned on TV or in the newspaper. Post your candidate’s schedule and which events you’ll be attending online and on social media as well as your fundraising website.

Host Events

There are many people who may not respond or donate because of advertising or a direct mailer, but will be happy to donate for the chance to attend a party or a dinner. Hosting major fundraising events like formal dinners is a very effective way to target high level donors and raise a large amount of funds. Send out invitations at least 4 weeks in advance, with clear instructions on attire and venue. Low, medium, and high donation levels should be available for guests to select, with what’s included at each level. For example, a high level donor might attend the dinner and have access to a VIP party afterward. Allowing for these distinctions helps keep donors happy and able to contribute to a successful fundraiser. Learn more about fundraising event ideas.

Key #3: Stay Connected

Staying connected is the last key that is absolutely critical to your political fundraising success. Thank each and every donor promptly for their contribution. For higher level donors, a personal hand-written thank you note from your candidate can be very effective. It lets donors know that they are appreciated, and that you truly care about them and their involvement in your campaign.

Remember that you will often ask for donations multiple times throughout your campaign, so make sure first-time donors feel appreciated and acknowledged. This will make re-solicitation much more effective. You may even want to call some donors out by name, especially if it’s a local business or someone who’s well known. Thank them with a note, as well as publicly on your website and on social media.

 

Guest post provided by DoJiggy – a company that’s been helping nonprofit and community organization achieve success in their fundraising efforts by utilizing affordable, easy-to-use online fundraising software solutions. DoJiggy.com / @DoJiggy

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How to Create A Master Political Campaign Calendar

busy political campaign calendar

So after attempting to write a 10,000 word post fully fleshing out how to create your own master political campaign calendar, it occurred to me that it’d probably be easier to digest as a series.  Therefore…we’re starting a new series!

You see, as the name implies, in order to make a master calendar, you must first have some underling calendars that feed into it.  Coming in the next few posts, you’ll learn how to make separate calendars that govern GOTV activity, media and public relations activities, public events, fundraisers, debates & speeches, volunteer activities, and everything in between.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot to keep track of.  We’ll also talk about getting a volunteer to act as your scheduler, and the importance and mechanics of that role.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive ourselves into thinking we can do everything all at once!  When you’re working together your master calendar, you’ll need to keep in the back of your mind an idea of which volunteers might be best suited to lead in different areas of the campaign.  These folks will need to be in near-constant communication with the scheduler.

If you’re running for election in 2012, this is definitely a series you don’t want to miss!  And you thought summer campaigning was hectic…

Also, for you 2012 hopefuls…if you’re sensing your campaign is seriously lacking in the way of organization, it’s not too late to apply the principles of the Campaign Planbook.  Like it says in the sales pitch, it really only takes a few days max to put together a winning campaign plan, even with a late start.  Don’t get discouraged now – the real campaign hasn’t even started yet!

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