Fundraising: 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:
First, when writing your fundraising plan you must identify how much money will you need to win your race. It is impossible to write a plan without knowing this amount.
From whom will you raise your money? First, identify the number of targeted donors you will ask. Utilize lists that you already have, whether personal connections, lists from a previous campaign, or lists from organizations you belong to. Identify what lists you will 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).
There are several tools available to you for fundraising. Your primary tools include: candidate meetings/calls, events, house parties, direct mail, and telemarketing. Be sure to choose the tools that work best for you. Make sure to consider differences in cost, response rate, labor intensiveness, and collection time.
You must create a schedule for when you will use your fundraising tools. Your fundraising goals need to be top of the mind for everyone in the campaign. Some items to include are: when money is needed for rent and salaries, when you will print your first persuasion mail piece and when financial disclosure reports are due.
Who will staff your fundraising effort? Make sure to define responsibilities so expectations and lines of accountability are clear. Some questions to ask are:
- Who will write your 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?
It is vital that you have a process for managing and tracking your deposits and acknowledging contributions. This will allow you to report donations, thank campaign supporters, and send re-solicitations.
Campaign Finance Laws
Understanding the campaign finance laws in your race is critical. Any 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.