Identifying and Targeting Donors


Fundraising doesn’t have to be your least favorite task!

  • Start with a clear set of goals
  • Effectively target potential givers
  • Systematically solicit contributors’ help


Circles of Benefit

The Circles of Benefit identifies the four categories of individuals and organizations most likely to give to your campaign.

  • All donors give to political candidates out of their own self-interest
  • Identify why your campaign is relevant to them and use that information to make an effective pitch

Personal: Your inner circle

  • This is the first group of people you approach to jump-start your campaign
  • These individuals donate because they want to support you personally
  • This list should include everyone who has been a part of your life in the past and present, such as:

—Family & friends                                          — Members of your church

—Friends of family & friends                          — Fellow volunteers & club members

—Personal & business rolodex                      — Individuals/establishments with

—Neighbors                                                         whom you do business

—Current & former:                  

-Bosses                        -Co-workers                -Teachers

-Employees                   -Classmates

Ideological: They share your values

  • They will donate because they agree with you on a particular issue or set of issues
  • They include:
  • Party donors and activists
  • Progressive elected officials
  • Local and regional organizations and PACs fighting for:

—Economic justice                 —Access to affordable health care

—Reproductive rights            —Environmental protection

—Civil rights                           —Access to education

  • Members/board members of above organizations

Anti-Opponent: They want to beat your opponent

  • They will donate because they have a compelling interest in defeating the incumbent or your opponent
  • They include:
  • Those negatively affected by legislation supported by your opponent
  • Candidates your opponent has defeated in past races
  • Elected officials your opponent has taken on publicly

Power: Businesses and organizations who give big

  • They want their legislative interests met
  • Power givers tend to favor incumbents and are generally most interested in statewide and federal rather than local and state legislative races
  • They include:
  • Labor unions
  • Law and lobbying firms
  • Major corporations


What’s Next

Once you have identified the individuals that fall into the categories above, you will need to build a donor database in which to capture their information so you can contact and track them with ease.

  • Compile lists
  • Identify groups and individuals that will mail their lists to you
  • Capture and enter the name of every individual who comes in contact with your campaign
  • Ask all of the groups for assistance in identifying potential donors
  • Identify potential contribution levels for each individual
  • State and local campaigns have three donor levels (low, mid and high)
  • Low: $10-99
  • Mid: $100-249
  • High: $250+