The Campaign Fundraising Plan

Because the candidate who spends the most money often wins the election, it is not surprising that candidates invest so much of their time fundraising. They must spend time in their campaign rallying support in their quest to ultimately secure votes. For this reason, they must put together a detailed plan for fundraising prior to announcing their candidacy for office.

A campaign fundraising plan, not unlike other fundraising plans, should include the amount of money that must be raised, the time frame in which the money is needed, and how the funds will be used. The plan should also include the manner(s) in which the funds will be raised.

One common means of campaign fundraising is a kickoff dinner or party to launch the campaign. This should be prepared prior to the campaign announcement and included in the initial plan of action. It is a way of gathering initial support for the candidate. The launch party should include:

  • All of the people who endorsed the candidate

  • The candidate's family and friends

  • People from the local business community

  • Local politicians

  • In addition to kicking off the campaign, the launch party will help raise some initial funding.

    Various Approaches

    It is nowhere more evident than in political fundraising that there is a need for different kinds of fundraising activities. A politician is seeking a cross section of voters and will need to reach this diverse audience with a fundraising plan that covers a broad range of interests and reaches supporters at various financial levels.

    Big-ticket-only dinner parties at $500 a plate are not likely to attract the nine-to-five working crowd. Therefore, small-ticket fundraisers, such as a picnic for $25 per family, will bring in another realm of constituents. Online donations can make small contributions add up very quickly. While the majority of funding may still come from a minority of people, a campaign needs a majority of people to get out and vote in favor of the candidate. Therefore, fundraising and campaigning go hand in hand. Events will bring in money while selling the politician's platform.

    In addition, a politician will need to plan fundraisers that draw a multicultural audience, which creates a wider diversity of supporters and garners votes from various ethnic groups.

    Stay in close contact with the media — they can make or break an election. The public relations team will be in charge of handling inevitable media snafus, but you can utilize positive media stories to your advantage. Play up all positive stories by posting them on a website, and use them to help generate funds.

    Political fundraising includes e-mails, phone solicitation, special events, and direct mail. However, because the goal is to raise money and generate votes, the approach is slightly different than fundraising for other causes. Unlike ongoing nonprofit groups that may be wooing major donors over the course of years or waiting for months for a grant proposal to be accepted, supporters need to get onboard in a short time frame, and donations need to come in quickly. Among the many tools commonly used in political fundraising are:

  • The fundraising letter

  • The house party

  • Personal appearances

  • E-mail campaigns

  • Big-name support

  • You'll read more about these tools later in this chapter.

    Establishing a Finance Committee

    The fundraising plan for a campaign is usually the work of the campaign manager, the candidate, and the staff they have assembled. A finance committee, however, is made up of a group of supporters who work hard to find donors. Each member of the committee is expected to support the candidate with his own contribution and then turn to his contacts and connections to get other donors. Such committees often include people who are prominent in the community. This committee helps build the donor base and works in conjunction with the campaign staffers to build a donor list.

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