In our workshops, VoteRunLead trainers ask participants to take out a blank piece of paper and, for 5 short minutes, write down as many names and donations ask amounts they can possibly think up. For most of us, we are pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of our networks and the total amount of potential donations.
(If you are up for it, try it. Take out your cell phone and use the “timer” function to track yourself for 5 minutes!)
The purpose of the below Call List Worksheet is to turn your Circles of Support into names and ask amounts. You will be surprised how things begin to add up.
A few tips about BUILDING good Fundraising lists:
THE LAW MATTERS
Keep meticulous records. Political campaigns require regular campaign finance reporting, so meticulous records are essential when filing deadlines roll around. But you also want these records to clearly track who has been asked to donate, whether the campaign has received the donation and when the donor has been thanked, how many times the target has been asked, and whether they’ve reached their contribution limits.
Depending on the size and scope of your race, you may want to enlist formal fundraising support. Make sure these fundraising consultants are willing to bring their lists and networks to bear for you. Set clear deliverables (and put them in writing), and understand what you are getting if you choose to hire them. Check references by asking for previous candidates similar to your race.
ELECTRONIC RECORDS ARE A MUST
Get some electronic data management to track your fundraising efforts. Yes, you can keep your list in excel, but in the age of data, you will want to invest in software to manage your donor database. Here are the “Top Political Campaign Software Products” as ranked by Capterra: http://www.capterra.com/political-campaign-software.
GOOD LISTS ARE EVERYWHERE
Secure prospecting lists and names from allied groups, previous candidates, and current elected officials that reflect an affinity with the values of your campaign.
Know your prospective donors’ interests, background, giving history, donation capability, and any links to you as the candidate or your priority policy issues. This research helps you identify the golden top 20% of your targets, how to appeal to them, and how much to ask them to donate. This is something a good consultant should be able to do with ease. Quick tip: Check out these sites: www.opensecrets.org, www.campaignmoney.com, www.followthemoney.org, and find lots of links at http://www.corporations.org/campaign$$/ to find the giving history of political donors.