Last week we talked about how to have a successful cocktail party campaign fundraiser. This week we’ll talk about dinner parties.

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This is how it should work. A host, usually a major contributor or close friend of the candidate, agrees to get 10 of their wealthy friends to dinner at their house. Their friends pay in advance for the privilege of spending 2-3 hours with the candidate.

The guests and the candidate have time for real conversation. And the candidate has a chance to build a relationship during the dinner. People who have money know others who have money.

During or after the dinner, the candidate calls each attendee and asks if they might be willing to host a dinner of their own. Or solicit money on the candidate’s behalf. Or write letters to their friends asking them to contribute, or to provide an introduction to wealthy friends who might.


I once saw a candidate raise $50,000 as a result of one dinner party. Each guest paid $1,000 to attend the dinner. As desert was served, two of the guests agreed to do dinner parties of their own and raised $5,000 each. Another agreed to write 10 friends who gave a total of $4,000.

One of the guests contributed another $5,000 to the candidate. Four others called their wealthy friends and raised a total of $16,000. One provided an introduction to a business colleague who gave $5,000 when the candidate went to see him.

The candidate raised $50,000 as a result of one dinner party hosted by one enthusiastic supporter. If you think this method of raising money doesn’t work, think again. If you think those numbers are too large for a race like yours, do it on a smaller scale.

Here is the larger point. Fundraising is like growing corn. Start with a few seeds, your own close friends. Get your friends to introduce you to their friends. From there you fertilize, water and grow your new seeds into an ever larger crop of stout supporters and contributors.

Next week I’ll be back with more on how to raise money for your campaign.

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running for office

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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