Budget Guidelines


Your campaign and fundraising plans are not complete until your budget is done.

General Guidelines

It should be charted out month-by-month and be a realistic assessment of the resources you can raise.

  • Seek advice. Talk with elected officials, local party leadership, past candidates, consultants etc. to get advice on your budget.
  • Be realistic. Develop a low, medium and high budget to detail your essential expenditures and allow for additional media, mailings and programs if the funds are available.
  • Reflect the goals of your plan. If your highest planning priority is persuasion mail, be sure it is the largest part of your budget as well.
  • Maximize direct voter contact and media.No less than 70-75% of your budget should be spent on direct voter contact and paid media.
  • Detail your projected expenses month by month. Establish discipline and get a handle on cash flow at the outset. Project how much money will need to be spent when (dictating how much will need to be raised).
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.Tchotchkes do not deliver votes and no more than 3-5% of your total budget should be spent on these items.
  • Outline projections for both expenses and income.Ensure positive cash flow when mapping out your budget.

Expense Categories

  • Voter Contact—direct mail; paid phone calls; palm cards; door hangers; campaign lit; paid canvassers; travel costs
  • Earned media—events and press conferences; media kits
  • Paid media—TV, radio, newspaper and internet advertising; ad production and design; media consultant fee/retainer
  • Technology—software; web design; internet and email access fees
  • Visibility—yard signs; bumper stickers; buttons
  • Fundraising—fundraising mail; telemarketing costs; space rental, invitations, decorations and food and beverage at events
  • Research—polling and focus groups; Lexis-Nexis searches
  • Staff—paid staff salaries; volunteer night costs
  • Overhead—rent; office equipment; copy and fax costs; utilities