By Kathy Groob
There are several well-tested theories and strategies for political campaign fundraising, and books and articles to guide the way. But every successful campaign begins with a finance plan and that plan begins with donor targets. An early candidate exercise is to indentify potential donor “circles” or target groups such as:
· Friends and family members – immediate and extended, personal friends, holiday card lists, school and college friends and sorority sisters, social clubs, PTA, church or synagogue friends, and neighbors.
· Professional and political associations – past political givers, contributors to other candidates, chambers and business lists, political action committees, organized labor or other special interest groups.
· Ideological & issue based organizations – women’s groups, pro-choice or pro-life groups, environmental groups, progressive or conservative groups, online networking groups, and traditional party donors.
· Enemies of your opponent – based upon a voting history or political stances, it is possible to find donors who oppose your opponent.
· New contacts – each day of your campaign, you are coming across new contacts – collect name and e-mail addresses, cultivate them, invite them to events.
Good fundraising efforts require extreme organization – a good solid database program where donors can be categorized with complete contact information – address, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. Good databases are like gold – but they require maintenance and continual care to keep information accurate. For campaigns with sufficient budgets, political donor databases are available for purchase or lease from national political vendors and consultants.
Many donors will contribute several times to a candidate throughout the course of the campaign if they are contacted frequently and invited to events. It is much easier for average donors to contribute $50-100 at a time rather than write a check for $500 all at once.
Finally, personal thank you notes from the candidate are not only good etiquette, but are essential for cultivating repeat donors. An organized database and record-keeping system will aid in this endeavor, but nothing takes the place of a personal note from the candidate.