Campaign short on cash for your fall stretch?

Fundraising
September 20, 2017

It’s that time of the year.

Leaves are changing, weather is cooler, and the reality that your election is just weeks away is sinking in.

It is super common for candidates and campaigns to feel pressure this time of year. To-do lists are too long to complete and bills are stacking up without you knowing if you’ll have the resources to pay them.

Don’t worry, we’ve all felt this way, and it does get better.

To help get you through the September bottleneck, here are our tips for raising that last little bit of money you need to win your campaign. And if you’re not a political campaign and reading this as a non-profit, many of these same tips apply for year-end pushes.

 

Focus on your previous donors and those already engaged in your campaign.

The reality is, the people most likely to give to you are the people who have already donated to your cause. In fact, soliciting previous donors are three to fives times more effective than trying to develop a new donor. With time short, keep focused on the lowest hanging fruit.

 

Go back to your major donors.

These individuals stepped up and supported you in a big way, and they have already made a major investment in your success. They want you to succeed as bad as you do, so ask them for one last investment, and if you followed FundHero’s five-post primary to-do’s, you’ve already primed them for a final ask.

Some of your major donors may be willing to match what they previously gave, while others should be asked for half of their initial donation. You will need to use your best judgment when determining the ask, but don’t be shy and always frame the request that you just need a little more to cross the finish line.

 

Send a “final push” letter to your previous donors.

The principles that apply to your major donors, also apply to all your donors. They want to see you win. If they gave several months ago, they are likely in a different financial place and are very likely to give one last time. While you may not have the time to call or meet with all of them, sending a physical letter with a remittance envelope will remind them to give one last time.

 

Ask your volunteers, event attendees, and organizers, and lawn sign hosts.

While not as fruitful as your previous donors, people who have spent time helping your campaign or attending an event have already invested in your effort. They know who you are, believe in what you are doing, and want to see you elected. Include all these individuals in your final push letter. It is likely worth emailing and calling any prospects you believe have the capacity, and ask for a campaign donation.

 

Arrange a “friends and family” call night.

You have been working your network, so to expand, you need your closest friends and family to engage theirs. Small campaigns and non-profits often have mixed success with formal finance committees, but if your campaign makes a round of fundraising calls a fun and exciting group activity, volunteers are more likely to call their own networks.

When arranging a friends and family fundraising night, personally invite those that are closest to you and your campaign. Hold the event at a fun location and include food and drinks for those able to attend. It is important to ask those attending to bring their own cell phones and call their own contacts so you are reaching out to new people. Finally, make sure you set a tangible goal, either in the number of donors or an amount, so you can track your progress and the group can see the direct impact they are having on your campaign.

 

Review donors to other political campaigns and causes that live in your district.

Although you may have already done this, it is time to go back through any lists you have of potential donors that live in your district. While you may not know these people personally, donors that live in your district have likely seen your signs and heard something about your campaign by now. You can also slim these lists down by prioritizing people you’ve met or whose name you recognize.Reach out to them, ask if they are planning to support you on Election Day, and if their answer is yes, ask them for a donation.

Matt Lyon
Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

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