When you have to raise a lot of money to run for office, it can be easy to focus solely on major donors… those donors who can “max out” by giving thousands of dollars (or more) to your campaign. Thus, most campaigns have a strong major donor program, offering recognition and campaign-related perks to large donors on a regular basis.
Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of candidates for public office. The one thing these candidates all have in common is that without fail, they wish their campaigns had more money to spend on ads, grassroots activity, and get out the vote efforts. No matter how much the campaign has raised, the candidate and his or her advisors dream about what they could do with just a little more money.
Most non-profits know that great donor cultivation is the key to long-term donor relationships. When donors feel like part of your team, they want to donate, and they tend to give more, for a longer period of time.
Great donor cultivation requires a good communication strategy, and lots of conversations with your donors. Thoseconversations need to be two-way discussions, not one-way lectures… meaning that as fundraisers, we need to get into the habit of asking questions and listening (really listening) to the answers our donors give us. Donors want to know that they are important to your organization, and feel like they have a real relationship with your team.
There are lots of different conversations you can have with your donors, and lots of different questions you should be asking them. However, in my experience, there is one question that non-profits should be asking their donors that they almost never do…
“What could we be doing better?”
The importance of fundraising for your political campaign cannot be overstated. Every campaign, no matter how small, needs to raise enough money to get its message out, build a grassroots organization, and turn out the vote on Election Day.
While every campaign is different and will use diverse strategies to reach its fundraising goals, there are four things every campaign can and should be doing to supercharge its fundraising efforts: