Asking for Money in a Political Campaign with Tina Keats CW 35- transcript

Asking for Money in a Political CampaignJohn Tsarpalas: One of the things we are trying to do here at Commonwealthy is trying to line up these podcasts in chronological order as you need to know things as it syncs with what’s going on in the real world. This podcast is going to air in early December of 2015.

People that I am coaching are in the early stages of their primary. Here are in Illinois, those candidates that I am working with are just finishing up their petitions and about to get on the ballot. So I am here to reinforce for them and for you, important points as I think they need to happen based on the calendar. Asking for money is a huge, huge part of the campaign and a sticking point for so many candidates.

Back in Commonwealthy #33, which was only two weeks ago, I had Brandon Lewis on, who is a professional fundraiser. We talked about how to talked about how to raise money for political office. Brandon has a system and his system is based around an event. Everything peaks at the event.

Today Tina and I are going to talk about something much simpler. It’s just calling up people or meeting with people and asking for a check. If you can’t ask, you are in big trouble. I work with people all the time on this. I coach people. Tina and I are going to talk about it.

So Commonwealthy #35, asking for money in a political campaign.

Tina, there’s a topic that you and I have not talked about enough and that is fundraising, asking for money, asking donors. Every campaign’s got to raise money. In my mind, a campaign’s about money, manpower, and message. We’ve touched on manpower and we’ve talked on message, but we need to talk about money.

Where would you start if you are running for a local office?

Kristina Keats: Well, the first thing I want to say is that it is really important for people to understand why they have to start with their friends and family and ask for money from people you know already. Most candidates say, “Oh, I don’t want to ask my friends to give me money.”

I always turn it around and say to them, “If you had a good friend, a person you respected and admired, and he or she was running for office and did not ask for your help, wouldn’t your feelings be hurt?” This is something people don’t think about.

They think that they are offending people by asking for money. I turn it around and just say the opposite, “You are offending them if you don’t ask. Everyone knows that when you run for office, you need help. So why didn’t you ask? Did you not consider them a friend? That’s what they think.”

So get it out of your head that you can’t ask your friends and family for money. They are not all going to give it to you, but you won’t get anything if you don’t ask. In every campaign (I don’t care if you are running for Congress or school board), the first group of people you ask to support you are your friends and family and everybody you know.

You should make a list of everybody you know. If your kid plays baseball, the baseball team should go on the list. If you are active in the PTA, the PTA people should go on the list. All of your Christmas card list. Everybody that you know or who knows you as a person of integrity should go on that list.

You should send a mailing announcing that you are running for office and asking for their help. If you are going to say right up front that you can’t do that, then my recommendation is don’t run for office. If you can’t ask the people that know you best to help you, how are you going to ask total strangers to vote for you?

John Tsarpalas: Right, you’ve got to raise some money.

Kristina Keats: And you’ve got to get help! You’ve got to get out there and connect with thousands of people and you can’t do it alone. Too many people have these images of Barrack Obama in the stadium with hundreds of thousands of people pouring into see him. They think that they can go stand somewhere and people will come see them, that running for office is people coming to you.

That is not what it is. People do not come to you, period, until you are high up. And by high up, I mean president, U.S. Senate maybe. You could get a crowd for U.S. Senate, but remember, most of the people who would come to see you if you are running for U.S. Senate want something. They want a contract or a tax reform for their industry or something.

When you are running for a low level office, people don’t come to you; you go to them.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, so you make a list. You’ve got this list and you start calling them. What do you do?

Kristina Keats: Well, I think it is easier for the first contact to send out a letter, a nice, personal letter to them, that, “I am running for office. This is why I am running…” Keep it short. Then say, “Nobody runs for office alone. Everyone needs help and I am asking for your help.”

Don’t just ask for money. “We need volunteers. We need people to put up a yard sign, enter data, stuff envelopes, and of course we need financial donations.” And then you enclose a card in the letter with a return envelope that allows them to volunteer, put up a yard sign, work on the website, and all the different things that you have openings for, and of course a donation. Then people send it back.

John Tsarpalas: But here’s the downside to that: You’ve got a donor that could give you a thousand dollars and they send you twenty-five because you are not asking for a specific amount. Are you going to call them later?

Kristina Keats: Right, you give them options on your little card. But you then identify (you should do this up front) of your friends and family, how much do you think each of them could give if anything? Or what could they do? If you know someone is a really database person, maybe you get them to volunteer to manage their database.

So you make your goals of the people that you know what they could give. Now, the first mailing goes out to your friends and family. You will get money back and you will be surprised who sends you money and who doesn’t send you money.

You will be very surprised, I am telling you. You will have someone who is always talking politics and seems really motivated never give anything. And then someone who isn’t even necessarily agreeing with you in politics sends you a big check because they know you. So that’s why you have to ask everyone.

Now then you have the people who are the super donors, the people who can write a ten thousand dollar check. And they exist. Depending on the level of office, if you are running for school board, you don’t need that.

John Tsarpalas: Right, and depending on campaign finance law in your state. What’s the most you can ask for? You need to remember that always.

Kristina Keats: Right. The bottom line is you need to have a budget, which you should have done in your campaign plan, to have some idea of how much money you need based on how many yard signs, mailings, etc., so that you have a goals.

If it is a small race, a local race, you should be able to raise enough money with your friends and family. That should be sufficient. If you are a very wealthy candidate, and I have worked for them, I always recommend that you have as a point of your campaign is that you will match the funds that you receive. If everybody knows you are really wealthy and you can pay for it yourself, nobody is going to give you anything.

Getting donations from people is important not only for the money, but for the commitment to you. Someone who is a donor is going to talk about you. They are going to put up a yard sign. They are going to be helpful. Even somebody who could give you money and they don’t because you are wealthy you don’t need it and you’ve let everybody know you don’t need it isn’t going to make the commitment to you. So money is a commitment also.

John Tsarpalas: Well, you also want it so your opponent doesn’t beat up on you. “He is so wealthy. He doesn’t have any real support.” If you’ve got a lot of checks given to you by a lot of people, they can’t make that claim. If a hundred people have given you checks and you are running for county board, that’s good support.

Kristina Keats: Right. So say that you will personally match any funds that you raise. That’s what you are going to do. You don’t have to say how many times you will match it. You may match it three to one or four to one or five to one. You can match it at whatever level you want.

Let people know that you understand that getting support from others is important. Therefore, you are only going to match what you raise.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, let me throw in a couple of quick thoughts. You might have some kind of a party or cocktail or whatever that you are going to invite people to and sell tickets to. However, the most effective way to raise money is to just ask. It takes a lot of work to put together an event.

Kristina Keats: Exactly. If you are in a low level race, you can’t afford to put that kind of energy into an event. You are just better off making phone calls and asking people for money, which gets us down to the next point of how do you ask and how much do you ask for.

You need to evaluate this ahead of time. One of the things that people need to understand about very wealthy people is they expect you to come and ask them for the money. They are not going to just send you a check without you asking. They want you to come ask.

When you go ask, you have to ask for enough that you are showing your respect for how much money they have. I know that sounds kind of crazy. If you know someone is a multi-millionaire, you don’t ask for a hundred dollar check because it’s an indication that you have no knowledge of who they are.

You want to be prepared when you are going in to see someone. That’s easy to do. All political donations are online. So if you know you are going to see someone who is a large donor, you can go see how much that person donates on a regular basis. So if he regularly writes five and ten thousand dollar checks and you are in a race that needs that (state rep, state senate, county board, or something else that would justify that kind of a donation), be prepared to ask for that sort of donation.

John Tsarpalas: Right. Let’s give a little background here on how to pull people’s D-2’s and things like that. Something you want to do in your research is research past races for the office you are running for and pull the campaign finance filings for that race. You want to see who has given money to the people previous to you on both sides.

One reason you want both sides is you don’t want to go the opponent’s side. If it is Republican/Democrat and you are Republican, you don’t necessarily want to be calling on Democrat donors that might not give to you. But you want to go to Republican donors. You might pull some other races that are in your area to find names of donors that live in the same region.

Kristina Keats: Right. And if you have a high need for money (you are running for higher level offices that needs funds), then you’ve got a list of people who can give funds. And then it’s up to you to figure out how you are going to get to them. Who do you know who knows X?

John Tsarpalas: I need to throw a caveat in. Isn’t it illegal to do that, though? I think everyone is doing it anyway.

Kristina Keats: It is illegal to send mailings or something like that.

John Tsarpalas: So you need to ask your election law attorney what’s legal and not legal in this area of research. But everybody’s doing it so I don’t know.

Kristina Keats: Everybody looks at who is donating. But just because you know someone is donating doesn’t mean they are going to donate to you. You have to find somebody who knows that person. You have to connect.

Your chances of getting a donation if you just call up cold and ask for a donation are probably zero, so don’t waste your time. But if you have been out there networking through organizations, then you should know somebody who knows those people. Use those connections to get in to see the bigger donors.

John Tsarpalas: Right. And you are going to have trouble calling a bigger donor and getting passed the gatekeepers. So you are always looking to network connections that will introduce you. When you are talking to somebody, one of the things after they have donated to you is to ask them, “Who else might you know that might support my campaign?” And ask if they will help you make that connection. Will they send an email and CC: you on it to make that connection or make a call? How can that happen?

Kristina Keats: Right, exactly. If you are getting into a higher-level campaign, then you probably want to look into hiring a professional fundraiser. They get a percentage. I would never hire somebody who says, “Oh, you have to pay me ten thousand a month.” No. If they are good, they’ll work on a percentage because they can make a lot of money.

But they generally are astute political analysts. They are not going to work for someone who they think can’t win.

John Tsarpalas: Well, let’s put a qualifier on here. You are going to have a really hard time doing that at even a state rep level. They are not going to touch you. There’s not enough money involved. Maybe if you are established. But if you are running for school board, county board, township board, probably not. They probably won’t touch you.

Kristina Keats: Right. One of the things we haven’t talked about (This is sort of an aside. Maybe it doesn’t belong here.) is if you want to remain independent once you are elected, then you do not want to be dependent on the state campaign committee.

John Tsarpalas: In other words, the state party. That’s another way to say it.

Kristina Keats: The state party. You want to raise your own money or be able to raise enough on your own that you could run a campaign. I think the state parties always think you need to spend a lot more money than you do.

Especially in this day and age of networking and no one reading mail or watching TV, it’s really hard to get your message out with just dollars and advertising. You really have to be creative and get your message out through networking and social media and Twitter and all of that stuff.

It doesn’t take that much money, but you need a certain amount of money. You have to buy yard signs and you have to have some mailings. You have to have some literature. You have to have a website. You do need money.

If you can raise your own money, it gives you independence and power that you will have after you are elected. That’s why it is so important for you to be able to do it.

John Tsarpalas: Right. Here in Illinois, to win a state rep district costs $500,000. A million dollars is spent on some of these races.

Kristina Keats: Well, that’s what they spent. My personal view is (from 2008) for a state senate race with the plan we put together you needed $150,000. Well, the Republican party for the state said, “No, you had to have a million.” That’s because they would run ads on TV and such and just inundate the media with ads.

Yeah, that’s helpful, but you don’t want to give up control to have that happen. You need to have enough money that you can get your name out there and that you can have a good position.

But for those races where you only have a hundred and fifty thousand voters, you should, if you work really hard, be able to connect with half of them at football games, parades, standing on the corner, going door-to-door, and making phone calls. You should be able to have a personal connection with those voters. The advertising reinforces the personal connection, is the way I look at it.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, so back to raising that money. So you are making a phone call. You should have an amount in mind that you are going to ask for. You are trying to get a meeting for those people that are going to be a thousand dollars and up. If it is smaller amounts like a hundred dollars, you can do the ask on the phone call I would think.

You started to say don’t be afraid to ask for too much. I agree with that totally. In fact, you can never ask for too much because they can always say-

Kristina Keats: They can say no.

John Tsarpalas: “No, I can’t do that” or something like that.

Kristina Keats: People who are wealthy are going to respect you. I remember I was at a meeting and made the presentation. Then the wealthy donor said, “So what do you want from me?” He asked. I answered, “Ten thousand dollars.”

He went, “Whoa, you don’t mess around.” I said, “Well, you are a busy man. I only want to have to come see you once.” And guess what?

John Tsarpalas: He gave the ten thousand.

Kristina Keats: He gave me ten thousand dollars.

John Tsarpalas: Wow, that’s fantastic.

Kristina Keats: If I had asked for five, I would have gotten five. The point was I knew what he was capable of giving because I done my research. You ask what he’s capable of. He always has the option to say, “Well, I can’t do that.”

My personal view is the reason he gave the ten thousand dollars is because he was impressed that I asked for it. That said something about the campaign and how aggressive I was going to be. Wouldn’t you agree?

John Tsarpalas: Yes. It showed that you were serious and he respected that.

Kristina Keats: I was serious and I understood who I was talking to. That’s important. That’s why you do your homework. Don’t be afraid because all they can do is say no.

John Tsarpalas: Now I was in on an ask. This wasn’t for a candidate, but this was for a state not Illinois so people know that. I don’t want people to come up to me and go, “Who was it?” There were three of us approaching this rich donor. Three of us went into the meeting.

We asked for one million dollars in that meeting and we got it. We almost died that we got it. We were going to be happy if he’d fall back to a couple hundred thousand. We got the million. And then he was smart enough to mess with us. On the way out the door, he said, “You should have asked for two million.” That just messed with our minds for months!

Kristina Keats: That’s the whole thing about the wealthy donors. If you are running for state rep, you can’t ask for a million dollars when it is a $150,000 race. You have to be reasonable. And again, going back to whatever your state law limits are. I don’t think that now in Illinois that you can do ten thousand because they changed it so that only the leadership of the parties can get the money.

John Tsarpalas: Right, it’s down to $5,800.

Kristina Keats: Per person?

John Tsarpalas: Per person, right.

Kristina Keats: So a couple would still be $11,600.

John Tsarpalas: Right. But every state’s got different rules and different laws. You need to know those. And it makes it harder. I really don’t like campaign finance laws. People say, “Oh, you have to take the money out.” But what’s it doing? It’s helping the incumbents because they’ve already got a donor base and they are just growing it bigger and bigger. The new guy comes along and he doesn’t know enough.

Kristina Keats: Right. It helps the leadership PACs because they always exempt themselves.

John Tsarpalas: Right, it gives them control and they are exempt.

Kristina Keats: That’s the other thing. You have PACs. I think you can even have state level PACs. So you can have your campaign and then you can have a PAC. That’s the problem with all of these laws because the people who write the laws leave loopholes so the people who write them know how to get around it. But some poor schlub who is entering politics for the first time can’t navigate through the labyrinth of laws.

They do it that way on purpose. They wan to make it difficult so you have to hire their experts or go to the party and let them decide whether or not you can run for office. I am with you. I liked it much better in Illinois when you basically didn’t have limits.

John Tsarpalas: Right. I am all for people disclosing where the money came from, but limits to me have only made more incumbency protection and leadership power grab.

Kristina Keats: Right. Any campaign finance reform should be relabeled ‘the incumbent reelection act’ because they write the laws for themselves.

John Tsarpalas: Correct. Let’s not forget McCain’s name is on Feingold. One of the reasons I really don’t like John McCain is what he did to campaign finance law.

Kristina Keats: Right. To say, “You’ve got to get the money out of politics, but unions are exempt and PACs…” All it did is it just made the money go underground because now it is in these 501(c)3’s where you don’t have to disclose who gives the money to them. They can spend gazillions of dollars and it doesn’t have to be disclosed.

John Tsarpalas: Well, those would be 501(c)4’s and super PACs. The other thing is bundling. It created bundling. Groups would go out and get groups of checks from lots of people and then turn them in. That group would have power because they brought you a bundle.

Kristina Keats: Right, exactly. It’s actually just increased the corruption and increased the flow of money.

John Tsarpalas: The power of groups.

Kristina Keats: The centralization of the power is what has happened. They’ve made it more complex. When you make it more complex, it is harder for democracy to function. They’ve made the actual running for office more complex. You look at the states who have all of these petition requirements. It’s because they want to keep people off the ballot.

John Tsarpalas: But we have digressed because most of the people we are talking to are new to it. They are out there in a smaller race. So they need to pick up that phone, make that call, and ask. Asking is hard. There are soft ways to ask and there’s brasher ways to ask. Let’s go through some of those.

Kristina Keats: I think personally you are just better off being direct. “I am going to need $7,000 for my race. Would you be willing to give me a couple hundred bucks?” Again, you put how much you need based on what you know. If the person is a high income person, then ask for five hundred dollars. They can say, “Oh, I can’t do that but I can send a couple hundred.” I don’t know of any other way to do it than to just come up and ask.

John Tsarpalas: I have a way. Here’s a way that I have helped people who have trouble asking for money. You go in and ask for money for a purpose. “I need $7,000 to mail to all the Republicans in the district for the primary. Could you fund that mailing?”

Kristina Keats: “Could you help me out? Could you fund?”

John Tsarpalas: Yes. Or, “Could you do a portion of that?” “I want to have ten interns this summer and they cost $1,300 per intern. I need $13,000 for interns. The campaign finance limit is $5,800. Could you do the $5,800? I have another donor that would match it.” You can ask that.

Kristina Keats: Or, “Could you fund two interns?”

John Tsarpalas: Correct. Something like that.

Kristina Keats: That’s a good way to do it. You could do a letter mailing doing the same thing. “Could you fund an intern?” So then instead of, “I’ll give $500,” it is “I’ll fund one intern for $1,300” or “I’ll fund half of an intern” or “I’ll fund a quarter of an intern.”

John Tsarpalas: Well, I would send the mailing, but I would follow up.

Kristina Keats: The main thing that I have found is that candidates are just totally reluctant to even ask. They don’t want to ask at all. “I don’t want to ask my friends.” That’s why I go back to if you are going to say upfront that you can’t ask your friends and family to donate to your campaign or help you with your campaign, then don’t run because you can’t do it by yourself.

This is not something you can do alone. Period. You can do a lot of things alone. You can’t do this.

John Tsarpalas: Right, you’ve got to ask.

Kristina Keats: So if you are uncomfortable asking for help, then you are not going to succeed.

John Tsarpalas: Well, here’s a couple of strategies. Let me give you a couple more strategies.

The first one is start with some people you know well that you are not going to ask a lot for and get comfortable with that. Fifty dollar ask, hundred dollar ask, working your way up to the thousand dollar asks. Get a few yes’s under your belt. Know that you are going to get a lot of no’s. Get that going.

The other thing is you can get someone to go with you. Is there a friend who can help your hand? When we went to ask for the million dollars, there was three of us. One guy didn’t have enough guts to do it, but together the three of us could keep kicking each other under the table until someone asked the million-dollar question.

I have gone with candidates. Part of my coaching is going out with candidates early on in fundraising. We rehearsed. We practiced. In fact, practice the ask with a friend. Then we would go out. They would go through it.

When I see they are choking on the ask, I nudge them. Or I will then do the ask because they didn’t do it to model it. Then when we get outside, I say, “You should have done the ask, but I did it. We got the check. Do you see how it is done? Let’s try next time.” And then the next time we do it again and I bite my tongue for a while hoping they ask, but I don’t let the opportunity slip away. So you can do things like that to practice and get into the groove.

Kristina Keats: Right. Those are good ideas. That’s why I say do the mailing first. That gives you confidence because you will just be surprised at how many people give you the money. They just put it an envelope and send it back.

John Tsarpalas: I don’t want people to think a mailing is going to work that well. It doesn’t. You are going to get one or two percent, maybe ten percent.

Kristina Keats: No, not a blind mailing.

John Tsarpalas: I understand that. But mailings are still rough.

Kristina Keats: Mailing to friends and family.

John Tsarpalas: It is still rough.

Kristina Keats: It used to work for the campaigns I ran. That was where you got the first big money.

John Tsarpalas: I haven’t had as much luck.

Kristina Keats: You’ve been out there already networking in your different political groups and they are going to be on that list. Those are people who are used to giving money, too. They can work. It gets you started. At least it gets something going. Those were always pretty successful.

John Tsarpalas: Okay.

Kristina Keats: But in selective groups. It’s not a blind one. That’s where you get the two percent. I did do blind solicitations, send it to all the Republican primary voters in one area or something. You get back just a little over what the mailing costs you. But keep in mind that you are getting your name out there. You are finding supporters. Once they have given, they will give again.

This is really, really important. Obviously when people give you money, you record that. You’ve got your list of donors. You need to solicit them every month because there are people who will give you a hundred dollars a month for twelve months. There are people who will give you $1,200 once. You don’t know who is who.

So somebody gives you a hundred bucks and somebody gives you ten bucks. You’ve got your list. You send that mail-out again in a month saying, “Thank you so much for your past support. Here’s what we have done. Here’s how many contacts we’ve made, how many yard signs we have.” Give them the progress report and say, “We still need your help. Would you be willing to help with funding an internship program?” or whatever.

Your letter has to be different every time and it has to give them an update on where your campaign is. But you will get money back again from the people who gave to you already. The most likely people to give you money are people who have already given you money.

John Tsarpalas: And don’t forget the thank you letter.

Kristina Keats: Oh, yeah. If you don’t send a thank you letter, don’t ever bother to ask again because you won’t get anything.

John Tsarpalas: Right. That’s a function your treasurer can do. Hopefully you’ve recruited a volunteer to be your treasurer who will process the checks.

Kristina Keats: Here’s the other thing. The thank you letters have to be timely. If you get the check on Monday, the thank you letter goes out on Tuesday. People have to know that you are noticing and you are really grateful.

John Tsarpalas: Right. You are hand signing that thank you, by the way.

Kristina Keats: Absolutely with a little note.

John Tsarpalas: “I really appreciate it, Joe” or “Thanks. We’ll put this to good use” or whatever.

Kristina Keats: Right. Make sure if they’ve got a nickname that maybe the formal letter goes out with the name that was on the check, you cross it off. Instead of Richard, it says Dick so that you know that you personalized that thank you note letter going back out. And do it on nice stationary in a nice envelope.

John Tsarpalas: Right. And don’t think an event is going to raise you money. Events can, but it is a lot of work and not worth it. You’ve got to make calls. You’ve got to ask. If you have trouble making the ask, practice! Find people to help you with it. Go to therapy, but get over it.

Kristina Keats: Right, exactly. Events are only useful for Congress and up in my opinion. You should have a couple of events, depending on the level of your race.

John Tsarpalas: Well, that’s for the volunteers and to rally the troops.

Kristina Keats: Yeah, you need to have events more for your supporters to come, socialize, and have a good time. But they are bad for raising money.

John Tsarpalas: Right, it’s team building.

Kristina Keats: It can be embarrassing. You get somebody to throw an event for you and nobody comes. That is embarrassing. You don’t want to do that. So that’s why you limit the events.

Most of the events in the campaigns that I worked on that were low level had fun events. It was to thank you supporters. You have a pizza party and they meet each other. They get a chance to just get out and socialize. You might get some donations. You can always ask. But for low level campaigns, the events should be more social.

John Tsarpalas: Right. Alright, I think we gave them a basic idea of what they need to do. Maybe we scared a few who are not assertive enough. You know, I don’t know what it is about age, but when I was twenty, I couldn’t ask for money. But as I got older, I just kept thinking I am running out of time here. The quickest way to my goals is ask for the money.

Kristina Keats: Right. I think you get more confident. I don’t know. But it’s something that, you said, if you can’t do it, go to therapy. If therapy doesn’t help, then you really should reconsider.

You cannot run for office without asking for everything. “Will you put up a yard sign? Will you vote for me? Will you do this? Will you do that?” You are out there begging for help a hundred percent of the time. In a way, we have a contradiction in terms. In order to run for office, you have to be a beggar. Once you are elected, you are supposed to be a leader.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah.

Kristina Keats: It’s the hardest job in the world. How many people are good at both?

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, I’ve always thought it was crazy. It’s one set of skills to get elected and it is a whole other set of skills to govern. A person who is good at the one set doesn’t mean they are good at the other. I’ve never run for office because I don’t think I could govern. But I like campaigns.

Kristina Keats: Right. A lot of the people who can govern really well are just terrible candidates. They are very quiet. They are wonderful managers. You’d love working for them, but they are not dynamic out on the campaign trail.

John Tsarpalas: Well, this is back to why I don’t like campaign finance limits. What if you’ve got somebody who would be a great governor and you’ve got one donor who gives them a million dollars? They can buy everything they need for their campaign. They get elected. But our system doesn’t allow that.

Kristina Keats: That’s exactly what happened to Ronald Reagan. There were like ten people who supported him. He didn’t have to spend his life raising money because he had some deep pockets behind him who were willing to write huge checks to get him elected. They did. And then after that came the campaign finance reform.

John Tsarpalas: Right, you can’t do that anymore.

Kristina Keats: Right, you can’t do it. Well, you can because you can do it with all of these super PACs.

John Tsarpalas: Well, as super PAC, but you don’t coordinate. You still have to raise money.

Kristina Keats: Right, theoretically you don’t coordinate. But you think the super PAC doesn’t know what you want?

John Tsarpalas: No, I understand. But in most cases, these super PACs are run by some ex-employee who knows your mindset.

Kristina Keats: Right, exactly. So money is like water; it will figure out the way to get where it wants to go. The only thing that all these laws do is they prevent beginners from being able to jump in and succeed. Ok, well I think that is it.

John Tsarpalas: Good, I think it was very good. As usual, Tina and I went down a couple of rabbit holes. Number one, campaign finance reform. Don’t get me started on that again. But you can see how it is an incumbent protection system.

Just like all the rules and overregulation in America, campaign finance reform has the same outcome; it protects the big and powerful and wealthy. We need to improve and do something about campaign finance reform. I think that’s freedom.

As far as fundraising goes, don’t be misled by some of the things Tina said. Yes, you mail, but then you follow up with phone calls. A mailing isn’t going to bring in a lot of money. People are going ignore it. People are going to send less than you are asking for. If you talk to them, it’s different.

In politics, you have to ask for a check. You have to ask for a vote. You have to ask for volunteers. If you can’t ask, you are in trouble. It’s a real problem.

This is one of the big things I do as a candidate coach. If I can help you, feel free to get a hold of me. I am located at You’ll find my contact info. You’ll find a tab that says “Coaching.” Click on it. It’ll tell you how I work.

I bill for the quarter hour, so I a not expensive. I work with people all over the country using Skype, telephone, or whatever. We can rehearse and practice. I can talk you through some of the pitfalls. You go out and try it and come back. I talk you through what you can improve on and how to get better. We build on it.

It isn’t easy to ask for money. It does take practice. It takes guts. But I can help you. Feel free to get a hold of me if you need my help. Thanks for listening.

Kristina Keats: That gets us down to the next point of how do you ask and how much do you ask for.

You need to evaluate this ahead of time. One of the things that people need to understand about very wealthy people is they expect you to come and ask them for the money. They are not going to just send you a check without you asking. They want you to come ask.

When you go ask, you have to ask for enough that you are showing your respect for how much money they have. I know that sounds kind of crazy. If you know someone is a multi-millionaire, you don’t ask for a hundred dollar check because it’s an indication that you have no knowledge of who they are.

You want to be prepared when you are going in to see someone. That’s easy to do. All political donations are online. So if you know you are going to see someone who is a large donor, you can go see how much that person donates on a regular basis. So if he regularly writes five and ten thousand dollar checks and you are in a race that needs that (state rep, state senate, county board, or something else that would justify that kind of a donation), be prepared to ask for that sort of donation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *