28 Jun 2016
June 28, 2016

Basic Tips for Political Fundraising Calls

What’s the best way to raise money in politics these days? It isn’t an app from Silicon Valley or a new product from a startup. It’s one of the oldest means of communication. What is this tried and true fundraising method? The telephone.

Dialing for dollars is the most widespread and trusted way to raise money in politics. It is one of the few great equalizers in the political process because everyone does it. Whether you are a national chairman, incumbent senator, chief of staff, or an intern, fundraising phone calls are an absolute necessity at every level.

While cold calling donors may sound outdated, a well-worded political fundraising call is incredibly effective. Below are tips to help campaigns build a proven call script for fundraising.

Be Personable

phoneThis is more basic psychology than a tip, but when you are engaged in a direct conversation with someone on the phone, talk to them like a person. Few things are worse than reading a four or five line introduction before asking a question or saying hello.

Use simple, short questions that are broken up in a script:

  • Thank them for a previous donation.
  • Why did they donate last time?
  • Would they match their donation?
  • Talk about the good things their donation went toward.

The goal here is not to be a robot. Having a detailed script isn’t a problem, but reading a long script won’t help you engage in a meaningful conversation with a potential donor.

Keep It Short, Unless They Want to Talk

Campaign managers and consultants want to cram as much information as possible into a fundraising script. Like all things these days, less is definitely more. The little time available to keep a donor on the phone should be used with short, concise information or questions.

Treat the first line of a fundraising script like a news story or press release: get all of the important information up front. If a donor stays on the phone after the first sentence or question, then start going down the script. Hammering out two or three sentences of information at the beginning of the phone call won’t usually get the best response.

Give Donations a Symbol

Peer pressure isn’t a bad thing when it comes to fundraising. A good fundraising script should mention something about how “other people are giving x amount,” or “how x amount of money will help the campaign do this.” Try to give donations a positive image.

Use issues important to the region or bring some insight from the candidate. Instead of saying that the campaign needs money, talk about it in real world terms. It’s not just a donation to keep the phones running or the campaign doors open, it is a donation for an important issue or something valuable to the donor.

Rejection Is Normal

Political fundraising is not easy, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Many, many people will say no. Some folks will be polite while others will shout or worse. These types of calls are all part of the process. Everyone would be a fundraiser if getting money from strangers was easy.

It’s not. A political fundraising script might be the best in the world. Statistically, a majority of people just won’t listen. But the donors that do listen and contribute almost always make up for the large number who say no.

A great political fundraising script should be concise and to the point. But even a great script can be hurt by someone who doesn’t know the script, campaign, or candidate. Background information is vital, but more importantly, educating the people calling donors is vital to a good phone banking operation.

Contact Campaign Now if you’d like to build a proven fundraising call script.

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Evan Harris

Written by Evan Harris

Evan Harris is a political consultant and former communications consultant for the California State Legislature. In his free time, Evan loves catching up on political and military history, trail running, and cooking.