If you need to raise more money than your immediate network of supporters can provide via campaign contributions, you should consider organizing a campaign finance committee. This committee can range in size depending on your fundraising goals and needs. It should be a group of well-connected, high-energy supporters who are willing to pledge to raise a specific portion of your overall campaign fundraising goal.

In this 4-part blog series, we’re going to show candidates how to effectively execute their campaign fundraising efforts.

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Who to Approach

campaign finance committeeIdeally, you want folks who will bring together diverse networking opportunities and direct access to new, potential supporters and donors. A committee of friends who are in the same industry, live in the same neighborhood and play golf together regularly is not going to expand your campaign’s network.

The shy need-not-apply! You will be best served by a committee made up of individuals who are outgoing and comfortable picking up the phone and asking for money.

Some of the people we suggest you recruit for your finance committee include:

  • The Business Leader: A member of the local Chamber of Commerce or someone with relationships within the business community.
  • The Parent: A member of the local PTA or someone who is connected with parents in your district.
  • The Networker: Someone who serves on a large non-profit board.
  • The Politician: Someone who has served as a well-respected elected official, or someone with relationships with elected officials and VIPs in the community.
  • The Retiree: Someone who is retired and has a lot of time to devote to fundraising, assisting with thank you notes, assist you with making phone calls etc.
  • The Facebook Guru: Someone who is savvy when it comes to social media and, preferably, brings an audience with them.
  • The Fundraiser: Someone with fundraising experience!

Getting Started

Start with one of your closest, most enthusiastic supporters.

“Will you help me establish and manage a campaign finance committee?”

Explain, specifically, what this entails:

“In order to reach my fundraising goal of $25,000 I would like a team of 5 finance committee members. I am asking you to help me brainstorm who to recruit and then help me keep this group connected, motivated and informed throughout the campaign. If we can recruit 4 other finance committee members by June 7th, each member will have a personal goal of $5,000 to raise over the 5 months leading up to the election. That breaks down to $1,000 per month or about $34.00 per day.”

Managing Your Campaign Finance Committee

Once you have recruited your committee, it is important to manage it properly. There are two critical aspects to managing a successful campaign Finance Committee.

First, the committee members need to feel like they are part of a team. If only one or two members are doing all of the work, they are going to get frustrated and eventually might walk away from the campaign. Worse, they may share their frustrations with their networks which will tarnish your campaign brand.

"Do not undersell the role of Finance Committee Member. Be very honest about your goals. It is too easy to say “Oh, don’t worry about it…this will be so easy. Just say you will be on the committee.” Your fundraising success will rely on the outcomes of this small group of people so be straight with them from the very beginning!"

Second, communication is key. Be sure to have occasional in-person committee meetings and a regularly scheduled conference call. At the beginning of each meeting/call provide a campaign update. Let this team in on some of the behind-the-scenes campaign activity so that they feel connected and informed.

"Sharing examples of how your campaign is growing gives your finance committee members the reassurance they need when making a pitch to potential donors."

“Before we dive into our finance reports I am excited to tell you that I am scheduled to speak at the Springfield Rotary meeting on June 4th. If any of you are members or know members of the rotary, let’s discuss in more detail.  Also, our campaign volunteers have been making phone calls this week to registered voters in Ward 6. They have signed up 12 new supporters and identified two folks who are willing to place a sign in their yard.”

Conclusion

Fundraising is one of those things that very few people enjoy doing. But it’s part of the reality of running for political office. Just as businesses need revenue to pay for expenses, campaigns need revenue as well. As the candidate, you’ll certainly need to participate in fundraising activities. However, if you can recruit some volunteers into a Finance Committee, you’re well on your way to a well-resourced campaign.

Image credits: Featured image courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr.

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