Of course these range widely day-to-day, but over time data emerges that provides you a numerical basis sufficient for mathematically backing into your quarterly goal. It’s not perfect, but it beats guessing. An action plan to meet your fundraising goal might look like this:
- 60 phone calls per day, Monday through Friday
- 8 small group visits per week
- 4 full-blown events per month
- 20 new prospects added to the database per week
While these actionable suggestions are far too elementary to adequately reflect the complexity of campaign fundraising in a large campaign, the point of this exercise is to get you comfortable with the idea of focusing on inputs instead of outputs. Once your candidate meets the action goals, leave them alone to relax or move on to more enjoyable aspects of campaigning. If these are not sufficient to produce the results necessary, then reevaluate and renegotiate them with the candidate.
No Safe Harbor
When it comes to avoiding the hard work of fundraising, candidates often look for safe harbors of escape in the persons of other members of the campaign team outside of the finance silo. This could mean an endless strategy meeting with the campaign manager, a 30-minute chit-chat session with your pollster or an hour-long gossip gathering with your field staff about lauded county politicos who will never lift a finger in your campaign anyway. It’s your job to make sure the candidate doesn’t get off track.
Everyone on the campaign team must consider fundraising time holy and sacrosanct unless they would like to contribute their salary to the campaign and work on a volunteer basis. Candidates recovering from la’-zi-ness must not be afforded a quick fix in idleness or dilly-dallying. Stop enabling. You wouldn’t bring liquor to an AA meeting, so don’t tempt a candidate with cathartic distractions. They may soon fall off the wagon.
In summary on this point: fundraising isn’t just the responsibility of the fundraiser. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
The Truth, It Hurts So Good
It is unhealthy for a candidate to stay submerged in a sea of ass-kissers for too long−they begin to look pruny and their suits wrinkle. If you are responsible for fundraising, you must from time to tome insist the candidate disembark from U.S.S. B.S. and look at the cold, hard numbers. Alas, quarterly filings wait for no man. In the professional field of politics, it is tough to call a spade a spade, but it is your solemn duty.
Most candidates have never thoughtfully considered, with personal introspection, why they hate fundraising deep down and what sizable internal obstacles they must overcome with their own willpower to succeed. Help them understand now that you know. Convince them of fundraising’s monumental importance for success in winning elections.
Even though it’s the fundraising team’s job to motivate the candidate, never beat up on your candidate because of failing to reach a fundraising goal when their abilities or circumstances would not permit it. On the other hand, never fail to admonish them wholeheartedly for laying down on the job and not following through with discrete action plans.
Be an encouragement to your candidate. Praise their actions, courage and persistence in bracing against the avalanche of “NO!” Highlight the successes and celebrate them. Downplay the setbacks, when outside of their control, and focus on the next opportunity.
In the end, your candidate can’t control how much money comes in the door, but the candidate does have absolute control over their own actions. So educate and equip them in the realm of campaign finance so we can erase the hate of fundraising.
Brandon Lewis is the author of “How to Raise Money for Political Office.” He is founder and president of MyCampaignTreasurer.com, a digital campaign fundraising boot camp and software solution for candidates and staffers.