8 Steps in Political Fundraising with Donors

FundraisingBy John Tsarpalas

Here are eight steps to political fundraising with donors. Yes there are lots of ways to raise money like events, bake sales, ad books, raffles, and so on. However, asking is the most cost-efficient, fastest way to raise substantial amounts of funds quickly.

1.    Make a list of potential donors and people you know who are interested in your campaign or cause. Go through any lists you already have and highlight potential donors.  These contacts can include club or church lists, your lists of contacts from work or home, Christmas card list, or even voter lists from the area you are working.

2.    Write out a script with key points on why it is important for them to give. Brainstorm a list of reasons why these people should give, and would want to give. What can the group or cause do for them, and how can they see a return on their investment? Prepare to ask the potential donor what he or she wants to see out of the donation, and speak to them in terms of their goals. Write a dollar amount you are going to ask for, next to each name on the list. Highlight those people that you would be most comfortable in talking to first.

a.    For many people it is hard to ask for money.  The more often you do it the easier it gets, so start with people you are most comfortable with and work up.

b.    Most people can, and will, give more than you think. Set your asking amount high; higher than your initial instinct. If they can’t give that much they will let you know what they can give.

c.    Be sure your script includes asking for the donation (the closing as it is called in sales). If you do not ask they may never offer.

3.    If there are people on the list that you do not know or you are not comfortable enough to ask, send a letter explaining why they should give and asking for the amount you think they should donate and why they should give. Be sure to include a self addressed return envelope (do not waste money putting a stamp on it) and a donation form.

4.    If they do not respond within two weeks, you should follow up with a call.
Prepare for this call in two ways.

a.    Write out a script for this type of call.

b.    Use the letter as the reason you are calling: i.e., you are checking in to follow up on the letter. Be sure to remember to ask for the donation.

5.    For bigger amounts (usually $1000 or more) I prefer to make an appointment. Meet them at work or for coffee, breakfast or lunch and do the final ask there.

6.    Ask for referrals, whether they give you a donation or not. Who do they know that is interested in helping your cause?  Ask if you can use their name as an introduction.

7.    Set a daily and weekly goal of how many people you are going to call. Decrease your hesitation and start calling. If you are still too nervous try practicing or role playing with a friend. Another option is to have a call night were you and others in the organization make calls from the same spot.  Being with others forces you (or perhaps supports you) into action.

8.    When the check arrives be sure to promptly send a thank you note.

9.    Send all your donors a quarterly update on your activities. Try to collect as many e-mail addresses as possible to keep costs low. If you are hard pressed for something to say send some news articles that relate to your field. You are trying to let the donor know you have not forgotten them. This will make it easier the next time you call them for money.

Raising money is a matter of asking. If you do not ask you will never be able to fund your campaign or organization. You should always be asking.  Set a goal for every week.

Remind yourself of just how important the work you are doing is. It will be much easier to accomplish with financial support. Asking for donations is vital to your cause. DO IT!