Political Fundraising: 4 Tips for First Time Candidates

This is a guest post from Jerry Ashbrook, a political consultant based in Tampa, Florida.

I’ve worked on dozens of different local political races, and I’ve met very few candidates who enjoy asking supporters for money. Raising money isn’t fun. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time candidate or a seasoned pro . . . most candidates hate political fundraising.

political fundraisingIncumbents and long-time politicians have a much easier time fundraising than first time candidates. Political pros have name recognition, fundraising lists, and the confidence that comes with asking for money year after year. First time candidates, on the other hand, are at a significant political fundraising disadvantage. Here are four tips to help first time political candidates raise the money they need to win:

1. Work Your Contacts First!

The best way for first time candidates to raise money is to work their own contacts. Call your family, friends, colleagues, and Christmas card list… tell them you’re running for office, need to raise money to get your campaign off the ground, and ask them to make a donation. Call these people first, as they’re the people most likely to give to your campaign.

2. Always Ask for More than You Think You’ll Get

Remember, when you’re asking for money, always ask for more than you think you’ll get… people can always talk you down, but they will rarely talk you up. If you think someone could afford to give you $500, ask for $750. They’ll be flattered that you think they have more money than they do, and if they support you, they can always offer to contribute $500… and you never know, they may just be able to do the whole $750.

3. Put Together a Finance Committee

Political fundraising is tough. No matter how good you are at it, it’s almost impossible for most candidates to single-handedly raise enough to win. Put together a great finance committee whose sole job is to help you fundraise. Get them into the fight, and ask them to help you raise what you need to win.

4. Don’t be Shy!

Remember, you’re running for office for a reason. Too many candidates are afraid of political fundraising because they don’t fully believe in their cause. If you’re running because you believe in something, then realize this: the only way you are going to win is by raising enough money to get you message out. Don’t be shy! Your issues are important, your fundraising is important.

Go out there, raise the money you need to run a great campaign… and win!