Sample Political Campaign Budget

Download our comprehensive budgeting spreadsheet template.

Plan and track your campaign expenses and revenue!
Get the template professional consultants use for their candidates.

We’ve made our political campaign budget Excel spreadsheet available for download. It will allow you to plan and track operations, voter contact, and fundraising expenses and revenue.

  • 27 distinct expense line items you need to track.
  • Monthly columns with budget and actual totals.
  • Revenue-tracking worksheet.

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Political Campaign Budget Spreadsheet

How much do you need to budget for your run for office? That’s hard to know, especially if you’re running for the first time. One good way to get a ballpark estimate is to look up campaign disclosures for previous campaigns. How much have other candidates raised and spent in the past? If this is your first run, you might have first-time expenses you wouldn’t necessarily need in subsequent elections, like your website or yard signs (if you have enough left over).

So, what should you spend it on? The short answer is, “Stuff that will help you earn more votes.” Hats and t-shirts, for example, may seem like a fun way to gain some exposure but they’re not nearly as effective as other methods. Likewise, expensive events can drain a lot of time and money from your campaign for relatively little benefit. Conversely, investing in traditional lawn signs and targeted direct mail are very cost effective, traditional ways to earn name recognition and exposure. Think about it this way: A $1 lawn sign on a busy street can easily be seen by thousands of people every day. How many people will see a $20 t-shirt?

What to Include In Your Campaign Budget

Here’s an outline of items that would be contained in a complete campaign budget. Keep in mind that your campaign probably won’t include or require everything on this list.

  • Operations
    • Salaries
    • Voter files and databases
    • Website
    • Gas
    • Office space (include internet, rent, heating, etc.)
    • Fees (bank, payment processing)
    • Office supplies
  • Voter Contact
    • Direct mail
    • Radio ads
    • Radio production
    • Digital advertising
    • Live & automated calls
    • Palm cards
    • Business cards
    • Yard signs
    • U-posts, poles, and zip ties for road signs
    • Banner
    • Newspaper ads
    • Volunteer expenses
    • Canvasing (door to door)
    • Community meetings
    • Get out the vote (GOTV) operation
  • Fundraising
    • Fundraising events
    • Printing
    • Postage
    • Letterhead and envelopes
    • Donation cards
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