Fundraising is often cited as one of the biggest barriers to women running for office. WCF was founded to help women overcome these challenges in 1974!
Here’s what you’ll hear:
- For most people, fundraising is hard.
- Asking for money from family and friends, even those who support you tirelessly, can be challenging, and asking strangers for money can be even harder.
- Fundraising can be especially difficult as a local candidate without the support of many of the biggest PACs and fundraising organizations.
We understand. Here’s what successful fundraisers know:
It’s not about money.
Well, of course, it is, but not in the way we think. It’s about getting two people on the same side of the fence working toward something they both want to see happen. Not asker and giver, but partners working toward the same goal. Ask open-ended questions if you can. Then listen carefully to the answers.
It’s about giving people a vision of a future they want to see.
People invest most in a vision of the future. Your qualifications are important, but less so right up front. Before you get to money, be sure you’ve aligned with the things you have in common with the people you talk to, giving them something first: Hope. Ideas. Confidence.
Raising funds is also about giving people a chance to know, like, and trust you.
Your potential supporters will respond best now and down the road if they can say to a friend, with pride, that they know you. They won’t say that unless they like and trust you. So, first, make friends. Then talk investment in shared goals.
If you’re in the conversation, make it worthwhile, for both parties.
Some people will give a little to get out of an awkward situation. It’s wryly termed “Shut up and go away money.” If someone approached you for the last $50 of a $2500 scholarship for a worthy kid, you might fish for more than the $25 you were planning to offer. So let them know what the gift will mean in the scheme of things – something specific it will buy or accomplish – something for which they can feel personal involvement and pride.
After laying the groundwork each time you reach out – which can be done in a few minutes with a little practice and an authentic approach – it becomes more intuitive to ask for their help getting to where they – and you – want to go.
And please remember one last piece of political fundraising wisdom…
If you’re talking to people, once you’ve asked, be quiet. Let the person you’re talking to answer. People will reach deeper into their hearts and minds if you let them speak for themselves. That’s where generosity begins.
The bottom line: you absolutely can do this!
Check out these helpful resources…
- IGNITE is an organization committed to fostering political ambition and power in young women to build a pipeline for the women leaders of our future! While much of their work focuses on college-aged women, their webinar program has something for everyone (check out their webinars on self-care for political leaders and developing a strong “inner game” to support your run for office!). For some stellar advice on digital fundraising and cultivating a small donor network, check out their two-part webinar, “Harness the power of digital fundraising & small-dollar donors.” For Part I, click here. For Part II, click here.
- Technology provider, NGP VAN, produced this awesome guide on the basics of fundraising for a political campaign, which covers topics including: developing a finance plan (with tangible fundraising goals and strategies), building a fundraising network, and raising money through fundraising events, call time, personal meetings, and online & direct mail solicitations.