Fundraising 101

The Fundraising Plan

As with your entire campaign, you must begin your fundraising efforts by creating a plan and timeline. Your fundraising plan should be a clear and concise part of your larger plan that establishes how much money you need to raise and identifies how, when and from whom you will raise it. It should include:

Goals

How much money must you raise to fund your entire campaign?

Identify your overall fundraising goal

Set individual goals for each of your fundraising tools

Targets

Who are your targeted donors?

  • Identify the number of targeted donors
  • Utilize the lists you already have
  • Identify what lists will you acquire from the state party, other elected officials and like-minded organizations
  • Identify and outline the universes you will approach (for both high and low-dollar contributions)

Tools

By what means will you meet your fundraising goals?

  • Primary tools include:
  • -Candidate meetings/calls     
  • -House parties
  • -Events                                               
  • -Direct mail
  • -Telemarketing
  • Be sure to choose the tools that work best for you (they vary in cost, response rate, labor intensiveness and collection time)

Timeline

On what schedule will your fundraising tools be implemented?

  • Your fundraising goals need to be top of mind for everyone involved in the campaign
  • Items to include:
  • If money is needed for rent and salaries
  • When you will print your first persuasion mail piece
  • When you must file financial disclosure reports

Organization

Who will staff your fundraising effort?

Delineate the fundraising responsibilities within your campaign so expectations and lines of accountability are clear

Questions to ask:

  • Who will write the direct mail, maintain your donor database, produce your call sheets and send thank you notes?
  • How will you utilize volunteers to raise money?
  • Who will serve on your fundraising committee and what will be expected of them?

Systems

What systems will you put in place to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks?

  • Outline the internal process for managing, tracking, depositing and acknowledging contributions
  • This will allow you to routinely execute:
  • Reporting donations
  • Thanking campaign supporters
  • Sending re-solicitations

 

Campaign Finance Laws

What are the rules governing contributions in your race?

  • Understanding the law is critical
  • Mistakes will cause legal problems for you, your staff and your donors
  • Familiarize yourself with the law and follow it to the letter when soliciting and reporting funds